We have officially entered the realm where we question how good Arrogate might be historically versus how good he is against his own generation.
Indeed, his victory in the $12-million Pegasus World Cup vaulted him past California Chrome and behind only American Pharoah as the most accomplished this decade, but from a numbers standpoint he’s faster than both and it’s not close.
With a four-year-old campaign still to come, it’s difficult to think that anyone in training is likely to give him any trouble, so his races this year will be as much about defining his place among American Pharoah and Ghostzapper among top horses this century and generational greats like Cigar, Skip Away, and Spectacular Bid.
The numbers, of course, are spectacular. Not only did Arrogate run the fastest race ever in the history of Brisnet.com Speed Ratings when posting a 124 for winning the Travers Stakes but also has strung together three consecutive 112 (or better) performances (Brisnet.com Speed Ratings go back to 1990).
Only 591 stakes from 53,526 such races since 1990 have registered a 112 or better rating. That’s just 1.1% of stakes races in that air, and he is now one of 20 horses to have reached that plateau at least three times. Housebuster and Skip Away are tied for the most stakes-winning performances of 112 or better with 7 such races.
Here is the list of horses who have won at least three stakes with a Brisnet.com Speed Rating of 112 or better: Beau Genius, Bernardini, Black Tie Affair (4), Cigar (5), Congaree (4), Criminal Type (4), Curlin (4) Fabulous Strike (4), Ghostzapper (5), Housebuster (7), In Excess (3), Invasor (4), Kela (3), Left Bank, Medaglia d’Oro, Mineshaft, Orientate, Skip Away (7), Summer Squall.
This is extremely lofty company, of course, and he is just another winning 112 away from being in a list that is almost exclusively made up of Racing Hall of Fame members.
And as electrifying as Arrogate’s career has been to date, he’s probably at least another major win away (and probably two) from entering Hall of Fame discussion. After all, he hasn’t even raced a full year yet, and while he is a Grade 1 winner at 3 and 4 following the Pegasus victory, his lack of longevity would likely hurt him historically.
Even Ghostzapper, the current benchmark for greatest short career, was a Grade 1 winner at 3, 4, and 5. I would still slot Ghostzapper as the greatest I’ve ever seen, but can’t fault those—like my Thursday night tag team partner on the Brisnet.com Horse Racing Radio Network call-in show, Anthony Stabile—who feel Arrogate has ascended that throne (high praise from someone who has grown up in New York).
I’m 39 years old and #Arrogate is the best I’ve seen. We’ve been waiting a very long time for a horse like this to come along.
— Anthony J Stabile (@TheBigAStabile) January 29, 2017
Obviously Arrogate needs to keep winning to continue to assert himself in these types of conversations, but he is special.