Arrogate (KY)

It took less than two minutes — 1:59.36 to be precise — for a gray freight train of a colt named Arrogate to go from being an unknown commodity to earning his way into the history books with a performance for the ages.  






Unbridled's Song




Distorted Humor


Clearsky Farms




Bob Baffert





Racing Record



Year Starts First Second Third Earnings
Year Sts 1 2 3 $
2016 6 5 0 1 $4084600 $4,084,600
2017 5 2 1 0 $13338000 $13,338,000


It took less than two minutes — 1:59.36 to be precise — for a gray freight train of a colt named Arrogate to go from being an unknown commodity to earning his way into the history books with a performance for the ages.  

On Aug. 27, 2016, the Juddmonte-owned son of Unbridled’s Song delivered an exhibition of brilliance and dominance in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course. In overwhelming an accomplished field of sophomores in the Midsummer Derby, Arrogate, with Mike Smith up, romped to a 13½-lengh victory and shattered a 37-year-old track record. His time of 1:59.36 for 1¼ miles is the lone instance of a horse traveling 10 furlongs on dirt in less than two minutes in the history of the fabled Spa track.   

“I watched the race again a couple of times and I still can’t believe the way he kept on rolling. It was just incredible,” Arrogate’s trainer Bob Baffert said the day after the Travers. “You’re always hoping that they’re that good. I knew he was good, but I didn’t know he was really, really that kind of good.”

Arrogate absolutely was that kind of good. In breaking General Assembly’s 1979 track record of 2:00 for 1¼ miles, Arrogate dispatched opponents such as future Horse of the Year Gun Runner, Preakness Stakes winner Exaggerator, and Belmont Stakes winner Creator, among others.

Following the Travers, Arrogate went on to defeat California Chrome in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita, set a track record at Gulfstream in the Pegasus World Cup, and rallied for an improbable victory in the Dubai World Cup after missing the break. That remarkable stretch of excellence — part of a seven-race win streak — helped produce an Eclipse Award for Arrogate and led to him being retired with record earnings of $17,422,600. Overall, he posted a ledger of 7-1-1 from 11 starts.

Bred in Kentucky by Clearsky Farms, Arrogate was out of the Distorted Humor multiple stakes-winning mare Bubbler. Purchased by Juddmonte for $560,000 at the 2014 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, Arrogate was sent to Southern California begin his training with Hall of Famer Baffert. Unraced as a 2-year-old, Arrogate finished third in his career debut in April 2016 at Los Alamitos. He broke his maiden by 4½ lengths next out at Santa Anita then won allowance optional claimers at Santa Anita and Del Mar before making his stakes debut in the Travers.

After his record-breaking trip around the Saratoga oval, Arrogate trained up to the Breeders’ Cup Classic. After breaking a bit slow and settling off the pace under Smith, Arrogate moved toward the rail around the far turn. He took aim at 2014 and 2016 Horse of the Year California Chrome in the stretch and pulled ahead in the final yards for a half-length victory, which was somewhat of a surprise to Baffert.

“Deep down, I really wasn’t sure if we could beat California Chrome, because I have total respect for the horse. He’s a great horse,” Baffert said. “Turning for home, I thought I was going to run second, but there’s nothing wrong with that, because Chrome is a really good horse, and running second to him is no bad thing. I never thought he would be able to catch Chrome.”

“You just don’t see things like this from a young 3-year-old. He literally was prancing after the race was over,” Smith said after the Classic. “He’s so talented. He’s got amazing stamina. He doesn’t quit. He could have gone around again. He’s incredible.”

As he did in the Travers, Arrogate demonstrated his tremendous talent before a Breeders’ Cup crowd of 72,811 at Santa Anita. With the Classic win — his fifth consecutive victory — Arrogate secured the Eclipse Award for Champion 3-Year-Old Male.

Arrogate began his 4-year-old season in 2017 with another impressive outing in the Pegasus World Cup. In what was billed as a rematch between Arrogate and California Chrome, the latter was never a factor, finishing ninth in his final career start. Arrogate, however, was in top form, rolling to a 4¾-length victory over Shaman Ghost. His time of 1:46.83 for 1⅛ miles on dirt set a new Gulfstream track record.

Even though he had two track records and a Breeders’ Cup Classic victory to his credit, Arrogate’s signature moment was still to come. Following the Pegasus, Arrogate journeyed overseas to contest the Dubai World Cup at Meydan Racecourse. A seventh consecutive victory appeared to be unlikely when Arrogate did not break with the field when the gate opened.

“I missed the break completely,” Smith said. “I had no choice but to just sit there and let him collect himself.”

Arrogate was well behind the field and Smith wasn’t pushing the horse after the poor start. Baffert said he was internally second-guessing his decision to bring Arrogate to Dubai and was simply hoping Smith would bring the colt back safe and sound. Arrogate had other ideas. He began to surprisingly work his way into contention, gliding by horse after horse with his huge strides. Baffert’s mindset began to change.

“I thought then, ‘If he wins this race, he’s the most incredible horse I've ever seen,’” he said.

Arrogate was moving with such speed and determination that Smith had to gear him down a bit.  

“I didn’t want him to hit the lead at the quarter pole,” Smith said.

With apparent ease, Arrogate gobbled up his foes and was 2¼ lengths in front of Gun Runner at the wire. It was another five lengths back to Neolithic in third. With the victory, Arrogate pushed his bankroll to $17,084,600, making him the highest-earning North American-based thoroughbred of all time. He surpassed California Chrome ($14,752,650) among horses with one start or more in North America.

“Everybody who was here tonight is going to say, ‘I’m glad I was here to see that,’” Baffert said after the Dubai World Cup. “If anybody wasn’t super impressed with that, they just don’t like horse racing. I still can’t believe he won the race.”

Arrogate was never the same horse again after his Dubai exploits. He returned to California and was winless in three starts at Del Mar — fourth in the San Diego Handicap, second in the Pacific Classic, and fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Following the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic, Arrogate was retired to Juddmonte’s farm in Kentucky to begin his stallion career. His time in the stallion barn, however, was brief. Arrogate died of what was suspected to be a neurological illness on June 2, 2020. Although he sired only three crops while at stud, Arrogate has made a mark on the breed with progeny that includes graded stakes winners such as Arcangelo (Belmont Stakes), Secret Oath (Kentucky Oaks), Cave Rock (De Mar Futurity), And Tell Me Nolies (Del Mar Debutante), and Fun to Dream (La Brea Stakes), among others.

“We will never forget the ride Arrogate took us on,” said Juddmonte general manager Garrett O’Rourke. “Those four amazing races established him as one of the great racehorses of our time, breaking two track records, taking down champion California Chrome in a battle for the ages, and then running by Gun Runner in another worldly performance in Dubai. We hope that the heartbreak of losing him so young can be soothed by proudly watching the achievement of his runners.”

Arrogate is the fifth horse trained by Baffert to be elected to the Hall of Fame, joining American Pharaoh, Point Given, Silverbulletday, and Silver Charm.

“That horse was one of the greatest horses I ever trained,” Baffert said of Arrogate. “His race in the Dubai World Cup will go down as the greatest performance of any horse I’ve trained. What he did in the Travers and what he did in the Breeders’ Cup, running down the great California Chrome, and then he destroyed the field in the Pegasus and ran past Gun Runner in Dubai from last like it was nothing. I’ll never have another horse put together four magical races like that.

“He would come back (from a race) and never take a deep breath. He came back in Dubai and wasn’t tired or blowing, nothing. He must have had a heart like Secretariat. You read stories about Spectacular Bid — he was like that, pure greatness.”

Smith, who was aboard for seven of Arrogate’s 11 starts, said piloting the imposing gray was an incredible experience. 

“He felt like a train going downhill — the farther he went, the faster he went, and he just kept going faster and faster,” he said. “It was so much fun to ride him. It was amazing, the stride and the stamina he had. He’s the fastest horse I ever got on going a mile and a quarter. When he won the Travers and set that record, that was phenomenal.

“He died much too young. His career was real fast and he went the same way, but in a short amount of time he made a tremendous impact on horse racing.”


Eclipse Award Champion 3-Year-Old Male — 2016

Breeders' Cup Highlights

Won the Classic — 2016


— Broke General Assembly’s 37-year-old track record in winning the 2016 Travers Stakes at Saratoga in 1:59.36 for 1¼ miles
— Defeated two-time Horse of the Year California Chrome in the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic and 2017 Pegasus World Cup, setting track record in the Pegasus
— Set North American career earnings record 

Horse Profile for Arrogate | Equibase is Your Official Source for Thoroughbred Racing Information



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