The horse racing world was excited for the action at Del Mar this weekend for a variety of reasons, but witnessing Arrogate in the 2017 San Diego Handicap was chief amongst them. Unfortunately, the superstar champion seemed disinterested in competing and gave way to Accelerate who won by a country mile. Arrogate finished fourth.
Bettors had laid at least $1.3 million to at least show. An additional $1.1 millionw as bet on Arroagte to place or win, meaning that the gambling community took a collective hit of over $2.4 million in the loss. Arroage finished fourth overall, well behind the winner and never truly got in the mix.
“I think he was just flat, I knew coming down here can be tough,” said Bob Baffert. “Mike said he was just flat and never in the race did he feel he had any horse.” The hit is part of the sport, and betting on it and it happens any time someone lays a wager. “I think he just laid an egg,” Baffert said finally.
Accelerate was the big winner as the 7/1 second favorite. Jockey Victor Espinoza rode him to the win. “I was surprised by how far I won,” said Espinoza. “I wasn’t surprised that he won. I was here to win. I thought I’d sit second or third, but when that speed horse stumbled at the start, I made an easy lead. He got into a nice rhythm. He was going easy.” El Huarfano never got his feet under him and finished last, allowing Accelerate to lead wire to wire.
The 2017 San Diego Handicap defeat is a huge dent in Arrogate’s record, but it may cause a market correction in the upcoming Pacific Classic, which Baffert intends to compete in. How scorned the betting public is remians to be seen. It usually takes two bad performances for a horse to lose its faithful following. It’s shocking to think that Arrogate is one bad run from going from the best in the world, to a question mark.
Accelerate, on the other hand will see his stock boosted. Even as the second choice, Accelerate has flown largely under the radar. His last win was in the 2016 Los Alamitos Derby but with a 2017 San Diego Handicap victory under his saddle, people won’t be so quick to ignore his potential