September 28, 2023

Champion and leading money winner Arrogate dies

Arrogate (Adam Mooshian/Coglianese Photography)

Arrogate, whose string of four superlative victories in late 2016 and early 2017 helped propel him to the top of the all-time earners list among North American-based Thoroughbreds, was euthanized Tuesday at the age seven.

Juddmonte Farms, which owned and stood the gray stallion at its Central Kentucky farm, said in a statement that a post-mortem is being conducted to determine an exact cause of death.

“Arrogate had a very successful breeding season this year until last week when his breeding was suspended due to an initial suspected sore neck,” Juddmonte reported in a statement. “Later in the week he fell to the ground in his stall and efforts to get him back up proved unsuccessful. He was transported to the Hagyard Clinic under the care of Dr. Bob Hunt and Dr. Nathan Slovis with Dr. Steve Reed representing the insurance company.

“They worked tirelessly with the staff from the Hagyard Clinic eliminating all the obvious causes and performing all available tests, including spinal tap evaluation, x-ray, ultrasound, CT Scan and many blood tests.

“Unfortunately, Arrogate was still unable to stand after four exhausting days for him. His will to fight, so valuable to him on the racetrack, became a challenge in his care. When serious secondary health issues set in, the decision was made to put him to sleep.”

Trained by Bob Baffert and ridden to his major wins by Mike Smith, Arrogate earned an Eclipse Award in 2016 as champion 3-year-old colt in unprecedented fashion, winning a mere two stakes from as many appearances. However, both were spectacular performances.

Entering the Travers (G1) starting gate as an 11-1 chance off three overnight victories in four starts, Arrogate demolished a field that included classic winners Exaggerator and Creator by 13 1/2 lengths in a new Saratoga track record of 1:59.36 for 1 1/4 miles.

Arrogate was the 17-10 second choice in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Santa Anita, where he wore down loose-on-the-lead favorite California Chrome to win by a half-length in a time of 2:00.11. Despite owning the head-to-head advantage, Arrogate finished second to champion older male California Chrome in Horse of the Year balloting.

Arrogate was no less stunning in his first two starts at four, winning the inaugural Pegasus World Cup (G1) at Gulfstream Park over California Chrome and others, and then making a remarkable comeback from a slow start to win the Dubai World Cup (G1) at Meydan by 2 1/4 lengths over Gun Runner, who had also run third to Arrogate in the Travers.

The Arrogate seen in those four appearances would never be seen again. A distant fourth in the San Diego H. (G2) at Del Mar at odds of 1-20 in his return to action, he next finished a half-length second in the Pacific Classic (G1). Although a better try, the fire displayed earlier was obviously missing.

Arrogate made his final start in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Del Mar, but finished in a dead heat for fifth behind Gun Runner as the 2-1 favorite. Gun Runner was voted champion older male and Horse of the Year.

Victories in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Pegasus World Cup, and Dubai World Cup accounted for more than $16 million of Arrogate’s record earnings of $17,422,600 from a line of 11-7-1-1. He had been standing at Juddmonte for an advertised fee of $50,000

Bred by Clearsky Farm in Kentucky and sold for $560,000 as a Keeneland September yearling, Arrogate was by Unbridled’s Song and out of the multiple stakes-winning Bubbler, by Distorted Humor. His third dam was 1990 juvenile filly champion Meadow Star.

Arrogate’s first crop are yearlings this year, including a filly produced by dual champion Songbird.