When Arrogate was announced as the Longines World's Best Racehorse on Tuesday, trainer Bob Baffert told The National that he had no plans to take the 4-year-old superstar son of Unbridled's Song overseas for the $10 million Dubai World Cup in March.
“We'll give him a little break after the Pegasus as usually we would not run him in the winter,” Baffert said then. “I wouldn't take him to Dubai. We bought him for American racing, and with his pedigree we want him to stay in America.”
Following Arrogate's stunning 4 3/4-length romp in the inaugural Pegasus World Cup on Saturday afternoon, worth a world-record $12 million, Baffert expressed a different opinion.
“Right now, I wouldn't have any objections about running in Dubai,” Baffert told thoroughbredracing.com, “but at the end of the day, Prince Khalid is the boss.”
Baffert has won the Dubai World Cup twice before: with Silver Charm in 1998 and with Captain Steve in 2001. Of course, the purses were a bit smaller then, at about $3 million in 1998 and approximately $5 million in 2001. The purse was not raised to $10 million until 2010, a number which gave the Dubai World Cup the status as the richest race in the world until the creation of the Pegasus.
In recent years, Baffert has sent top runners Hoppertunity (3rd, 2016) and Game On Dude (12th, 2012 on Tapeta) to contest the Dubai World Cup, but has not managed to find the winner's circle.
While assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes confirmed Sunday morning that Juddmonte's main goal is to reach the Breeders' Cup Classic once again in 2017, the possibility of a start in Dubai has not been taken entirely off the table.
Should Arrogate win the Dubai World Cup, the winner's $6 million share of the purse would boost his career earnings to approximately $17 million, besting the current North American record of $14.7 million, held by the recently retired California Chrome.
“We totally trust Bob's judgment of the horse,” said Garrett O'Rourke, Juddmonte's U.S. racing manager. “We want, of course, the horse to have a championship season. So the end of the season is very important. But at the moment we won't think about anything until we get out a few weeks (from the Dubai World Cup) and we will leave it to Bob to come back and tell us what it is and his judgment of the horse at that time.”
No matter where the big gray colt makes his next start, all eyes will be watching the newly-crowned leader of the dirt handicap division.
“Arrogate is definitely the No. 1 horse in the world,” Baffert emphasized.
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