Trainer Bob Baffert had been watching the weather channel with anticipation throughout the week, as his stable star Arrogate was in need of a serious workout in order to stay on schedule for the Pegasus World Cup on Jan. 28 at Gulfstream Park. At Santa Anita, however, rain had drenched the area for nearly a week, and the track stayed wet and heavy, and Arrogate hadn't had a breeze since Dec. 27.
“I'd rather work on a nice, dry track,” Baffert said. “Every time you work on a wet track, you're taking that chance.”
On Sunday, Santa Anita officials granted Baffert the opportunity to work the 4-year-old son of Unbridled's Song at 11:45 a.m., about 45 minutes before the start of the first race. While the track remained a bit heavy, maintenance men had harrowed it open just before Arrogate's work.
“I want to thank Santa Anita for letting me do this,” said Baffert.
Arrogate, ridden by Martin Garcia, stepped onto the track with a pony and stablemate Uninvited. The pair were scheduled to break off at the 6 1/2 marker. Uninvited began the work two to three lengths in front of Arrogate, but Arrogate passed him entering the stretch to hit the wire about two lengths in front. Arrogate was officially given fractions of :24.51, :47.96, :59.89 and a six-furlong time of 1:11.94. He galloped out seven furlongs in 1:24.56.
ICYMI! Arrogate just took the the track at SA for a much anticipated work! We'll get the official times in just a bit: pic.twitter.com/Heqy1syVb9
— TVG (@TVG) January 8, 2017
“I was happy with the work,” Baffert said. “It was nice to get the work in. It wasn't really the ideal situation I'd want, but we knew he liked the off-track. Great horses always like the mud. I was happy with the way he finished. I probably could have had the other horse a little further in front, but the way it worked out, it's good, I was happy with it. We got that work in, it was very important.”
Arrogate's Southern California rival, California Chrome, has already shipped to the site of the Pegasus at Gulfstream Park, and is scheduled for his first work over that surface next Saturday. Baffert declined to comment on whether he was considering sending Arrogate to Florida early, due to the rainy weather at Santa Anita.
“I'll just watch the weather channel from here on out. It's like training in Kentucky, you just watch the weather channel,” the Hall of Fame trainer joked. “You have to do what you think is the right thing to do. I'm going to do it the way I like to do it. The only way I can prepare him is my way.”
CORRECTION: A quote from trainer Bob Baffert has been corrected to read: “Great horses always like the mud.”
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