‘This Is Our Super Bowl’: Baffert Feeling Good About Arrogate, Pegasus World Cup

by | 01.27.2017 | 2:34pm
Arrogate takes a morning spin at Gulfstream Jan. 26

After sending Arrogate out for a routine gallop around Gulfstream Park Friday morning, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert handled a variety of requests from national and international media concerning Saturday's $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1).

Baffert said that everything is going smoothly with Juddmonte Farms' champion colt, who will again meet two-time Horse of the Year California Chrome, along with 10 other contenders, in the first running of the world's richest horse race.

“He's doing fine. He shipped well. He's gotten over the track really well,” Baffert said. “We're anticipating another big race out of him. The break is going to be crucial. He has to break. If he doesn't break, well, it's going to be tough. We're looking forward to it. It's a tough race; we're running against California Chrome. Hopefully, when they turn for home he's right there running. We're looking forward to it. It's exciting. We've never run for this kind of purse before.”

Stronach Group founder Frank Stronach has brought the Pegasus World Cup from concept to reality and its first running will feature the two top-ranked horses from 2016, Arrogate and California Chrome. The pair tangled in the Breeders' Cup Classic on Nov. 5, with Arrogate prevailing by a half-length.

Baffert said it is clear that the unique race has gotten everyone's attention.

“I think everybody is watching it,” he said. “It's not only the $12 million, but it's the matchup, you've got Chrome and Arrogate running again. It would be like Songbird and Beholder matching up again.”

Baffert said the timing is perfect for the race.

“In racing, there always is a little lull,” he said. “We have to wait for the spring for something big to happen. It's something that Frank had an idea and I don't think they will get a tougher Pegasus than they have today.

“When I heard about the idea last year, I thought, ‘wow!' I'm sure American Pharoah would have been in there for one more try at it. That would have been a lot of fun. I just feel lucky that I had a horse like Arrogate that I could run in this race. we heard about it we thought, ‘well, maybe we'll take a look at it, he's doing well.'”

With the race in late January, California Chrome is able to compete one final time for a huge purse before retiring to stud at Taylor Made Farm.

“The concept is good,” Baffert said. “A lot our horses, especially the top colts, go to the breeding shed because there is so much value. Just like American Pharoah, he was worth so much more in the breeding shed. Some horses are, some horses aren't. When you get to run for that kind of money, then you will wait a month before you go to the breeding shed to take a crack at it.

“Plus, it's good for our own racing in general to watch something like this. What else would we be doing right now? Getting ready for the Super Bowl? C'mon. This is our Super Bowl.”

  • redo

    Could Arrogate be better than AP? If he wins this race…….yes!

    • Whynotwest

      Yes. He could be.

    • Ida Lee

      Who is AP? I know, I mean, I just know you are not talking about Pharoah. Because if you are, you need to think again. No earthly racehorse is better than Pharoah….Like Secretariat, you do not compare Pharoah to anyone. There is only one Big Red and there is only one Pharoah. The End of Discussion….

      • redo

        AP would get beat by every Triple Crown winner. Yes he was great….but
        Remember Seattle Slew, Affirmed….
        If you saw them run you would reconsider..
        No disrespect for a rightful champion AP

        • Meydan Rocks

          They got to run as 4 year olds didn’t they? It’s horse racing. You NEVER know. ;-)

        • Ida Lee

          redo, you need to rethink…it’s ridiculous to compare TC winners from different decades…by doing so, you insult all of them. Give them their due….Slew and Affirmed were 2 of the best athletes ever as far as I’m concerned. Pharoah took us on a ride few have ever seen. I’m taking nothing away from him especially since you, at best, are just giving an opinion. Others, like me, think differently. We all are entitled but let’s get real in the process…

      • Tim Lambro Sr.

        It would be interesting to ask Bob Baffert who he thinks is the better horse. Arrogate has upside, but if he’s beaten Saturday then………I don’t like the race at GP, it’s a funky track, and you either like it or not……….very speed favoring the great majority of the time. One thing I would mention, Mr. Redo, American Pharaoh dispatched California Chrome much, much easier than Arrogate did.

        • Lost In The Fog – Robert Lee

          “American Pharaoh dispatched California Chrome much, much easier than Arrogate did.”

          No, American Pharaoh never faced California Chrome.

        • Meydan Rocks

          You mean Bayern.

      • Meydan Rocks

        Remind me never to tangle with you Queen Ida! Love that photo btw. It’s very old school elegant.

      • WonderAgain

        Sorry Ida Lee but even as a 4 yr. old, AP would have been hard pressed to run a better race than Arrogate’s Travers. No horse in the history of Saratoga had broken 2:00 for 1 1/4 until Arrogate did it in 1:59 1/5 winning by 13 lengths. That single performance was better than any race ever run by AP and would have even defeated the great Secretariat in my opinion. As Michael Castellano commented, Arrogate’s Travers was so far out of this world, I only hope it was on the level.

        • McGov

          It’s interesting the different ways that people interpret which horse is better than another horse. For me….AP won a triple crown and topped it off with BC. Unprecedented in horse racing. Arrogate has done very well and he is very impressive so far…..but really….he hasn’t quite done enough to be compared to AP just yet. However, he definitely has confirmed he is not a one time freak. He is the real deal.
          I don’t give final times in races as much weight as many other considerations…..not that it isn’t a big deal what Arrogate did in Saratoga….just not really THAT big of a deal to me when you’re putting it up against AP’s accomplishments. Beating CC was a bigger deal from this seat.

          • WonderAgain

            I agree beating a great horse like CC in Classic was a bigger deal for Arrogate, especially the way he ran down a loose on the lead CC that was finishing like a champ. However, I’ve been watching racing at Spa for 30 yrs. That performance and track record time in 1 1/4 mile Travers off nothing but allowance races v. small fields in CA would have left AP and Secretariat in Arrogate’s wake. It was otherworldly and DEFINITELY a really big deal from a historic perspective at a track like Saratoga. Hopefully, today’s showdown at GP ends up a really big deal, too. Enjoy!

      • dan gable

        Talk about needing to take meds! Slew, Affirmed, Forego and half dozen others from ’70’s would have crushed Pharoah and California Tin. Get a grip.

        • Ida Lee

          You are lucky I am on my meds or I’d tell you what I really think about your asinine statement. So I will just say farewell, enjoy today’s races and eat your heart out when the great California Chrome shows the Pretenders who dare to challenge him what it takes to be King of all things equine …. watch him and weep, you delusional non-believer.

        • Lehane

          How do you know that the horses you mentioned would’ve crushed AP and CC…?

      • Curt Muth

        Only time AP ran close to Arrogates Travers he got beat by Keen Ice as he (AP) ran out of stamina.

    • Lost In The Fog – Robert Lee

      It’s been a very long time since any horse has put together back-to-back races of the caliber that Arrogate delivered in the Travers and BCC, both at 1 1/4 miles with 122 and 120 Beyers respectively. If he were to win again Saturday against Chrome while posting another speed figure in that range then there is little doubt that he is breathing rare air and performing at a level we haven’t seen in perhaps decades.

      • redo

        Agree…….BB may have another one for the ages…….we will see…..
        Imagine beating CC twice?
        The Travers race he ran was one of the 3 greatest races of all time ?..

        • Michael Castellano

          I agree. One only hopes it was on the level. I have not seen any horse, including many of the all time greats, run early fractions like that in a 1 1/4 race, and still close out as fast as he did in 50 years, and win by almost 3 seconds.

  • Lost In The Fog – Robert Lee

    That’s a great photo of Arrogate.

    • Mr J

      Monster sitting on another big performance

  • McGov

    Thing about Arrogate is we don’t know how good he is yet. There are lots of reason to think he will get even better. He could improve substantially from his last race….whereas CC is unlikely to improve. However, CC will be ridden much differently as this is certainly his last race and you can bet Victor is not interested in being embarrassed twice by Mr Smith ;).
    Arrogate has the 1 hole. I hate the 1 hole more than anything. Very important to break clean.
    It’s going to be an exciting race :) I’d guess that Chrome wins by a narrow margin.

    • redo

      We do know how good he is.
      Saratoga Travers track record(where a few decent horses have run in the last 100 years)….,
      He beat a champion CC..B.C
      Rest my case…

      • McGov

        We have no idea how good he is……we know he is AT LEAST that good.

  • Meydan Rocks

    Great picture. It’s actually bigger than what you see here. Simply Awesome.

  • vinceNYC

    Arrogate is a superstar…..Chrome isn’t…….IMO

    • talkingman17

      Really? Go take your meds fella.

      • dan gable

        California Tin going down again.

    • SaratogaJ

      Both are superstars. Chrome’s record is spectacular. He’s a HOF lock. Arrogate has been been beyond brilliant in his last two starts. No knock on either.
      I lived through the era of Ali, Fraser, Foreman, Norton. One of them would win, one would lose but all legit champs and super superstars. Same era of Secretariat, Riva, Affirmed, Bid, etc. All superstars although all didn’t always win.
      Give credit where due.

  • Michael Castellano

    Looks like if CC is to have any chance, there must not be a cavalry charge into the first turn. In particular, mattress man’s horse, Eragon, starting right next to CC, could potentially really make things hard if he leaves.

    • Curt Muth

      In South America Eragon always came from behind. I’m sure Prado has done his homework on his mount.

  • Cuffdaddy

    Post postiion is way too much of a factor for a race of this magnitude. Great idea but bad planning. Why invest a million dollars with a chance you can end up severly hindered by posts 9 thru 12 due to track configuration. This is like the outcome of The Superbowl being influenced by which sideline your are on, one has all the amenities the other has no benches, water, or electronic communication capabilites.

  • brucefdb

    Love him or not Baffert does not miss an opportunity to sell the sport of horse racing. I admire him for that. But I think Chrome will win by two. Of course, being a Cal bred myself, I do admit to some bias.

  • harpharper

    “The most dangerous place in America is in between a TV camera and Bob Baffert”. Victor Espinoza

  • Leonard

    It’s time to let the horses do the talking on the track….. ARROGATE in his 7th start of his career should continue to improve more & the sky is the limit. Only horse to run 122 & 120 Beyer in 2 races in 2016, best C.C. could do was a 119 when running 2nd to ARROGATE. Hmm…..

  • vinceNYC

    Looking forward to all the blame Espinosa posts when super horse Arrogate wins…He was too wide, he looked around too much , he didnt look around enough , he went too slow early he went too fast early , he fill in the blank…..The best horse will win again..Arrogate

Twitter Twitter
Paulick Report on Instagram