Arrogate is 1-3 to become the winner of the 22nd US$10m Dubai World Cup at Meydan on Saturday and, in doing so, become the highest prize-money winning horse in history.
But what makes him so special? Those who know the horse best analyse his particular strengths:
“He’s figured racing out now,” says Bob Baffert.
“He’s settled down, he used to be a bit anxious early on,” points out Jimmy Barnes, Baffert’s assistant. “We used ear plugs on him in the early days. He loves to stand and look so we let him do a lot of that. In his races it is a big advantage that he can switch off and on. In the Pegasus he was drawn 1 so he had to break, sit, relax and get a lot of dirt in his face. As soon as Mike got him out he turned it on. That’s a great asset.”
“A lot of horses, particularly on the dirt, can’t stop and then go,” says jockey Mike Smith. “In that respect he’s more like a turf horse, you can do it with him. It’s an extra weapon. He’s getting smarter; you can be aggressive on him if you want or if you want him to idle for you he will.”
“He has an intelligent head and eye,” says Khaled Abdullah’s British racing manager, Lord Grimthorpe. “They say all good horses are smart but I think honesty and a horse that’ll run for you is a great asset.”
“His long stride is his weapon,” says Baffert.
“He’s a tall individual the way he carries himself,” says Barnes. “It all comes down to his stride – that’s something you don’t get just looking at a horse standing, you have to see it moving. He floats and like all the good horses if you see a photo of them going fast they’re hardly on the ground. Even at the walk his stride and gait, it’s so big, you struggle to keep up. He’s like American Pharoah in that respect. He might have been a little faster but this horse has a lot of stamina.”
“At times he gives you the feel that you’re running downhill,” says Smith.
“He was bought by Garrett O’Rourke [Abdullah’s US racing manager] and Bob for $560,000 which tells you he had well above average looks as a yearling,” says Grimthorpe. “When I saw him soon after he’d returned to the farm the first thing I thought was: ‘They’ve done a good job here.' He’s true to his sire’s line. He has a grand front on him with good angulation and articulation in terms of how he uses himself particularly when he gets into his rhythm in a race.”
5. Lungs and heart
“They said Silver Charm had a small heart,” says Barnes. “He won this and almost won the Triple Crown so I don’t take too much notice of it. We haven’t ever had it measured or anything with Arrogate but it is a given that he has a big heart and great lung capacity. He’s just a good athlete.”
“His lungs must go on forever,” says Smith. “You never feel with him that you’ve hit a wall. I don’t think I’ve come across a horse with such a quick recovery time. He always leaves you feeling like there’s more in there.”
“He’s a long striding horse and he lengthens that stride but his real ability is to keep going,” points out Grimthorpe. “On the grass, on the whole, a horse needs a turn of foot so it can be held up or quicken off a good pace. On dirt it’s a different regimen; you need a horse not only to have speed but to carry it. He has a great long stride which he can sustain and keep going. That was most obvious when he ran down California Chrome up the stretch in the Breeders’ Cup. His stride was relentless and he kept it going at the same high level.”
Fighting weight 1168 lbs (529 kg)
Resting weight 1198 lbs (543kg)
Born April 11 2013
By Unbridled’s Song – out of Bubbler.
Bred by Clearsky Farms
Trained Bob Baffert (Santa Anita, Los Angeles)
Owned Khaled Abdullah
Cost US$560,000 as a yearling from Keeneland Sales
Current rating 134, world ranking 1
Height Over 16.2 hands