Arrogate overhauls Chrome to win Breeders’ Cup Classic
Arrogate (nearside) surges to the lead close home in the Classic
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos) Arrogate overhauls Chrome to win Classic By Tony McFadden 12:50AM 6 NOV 2016
Report: Santa Anita, Saturday
Breeders' Cup Classic (Grade 1) 1m2f, dirt, 3yo+
BILLED as a clash between two of the best horses in the world, the Breeders' Cup Classic did not disappoint as Arrogate overhauled odds-on favourite California Chrome close home with the pair pulling nearly 11 lengths clear of the field.
The five-year-old California Chrome had carried all before him this year, winning all six starts prior to the Classic, but he could not resist the late surge of three-year-old Arrogate, who backed up the excellent impression that he had created when destroying his rivals in the Travers Stakes.
Things looked to be going perfectly for California Chrome, who was sent straight into the lead and was allowed to set easy fractions under Victor Espinoza, but Arrogate powered down the straight under Mike Smith to win by half a length.
'Baby Le Bron'
Smith said: "This horse has such stamina, he is relentless. He never stops coming at you. What a talent!
"Baby Le Bron I call him! He has got so much talent, like Le Bron James. He is big and strong and can go all day, he could have gone round again."
The win completed a double on the night for Smith – and a record 25th Breeders' Cup victory – following Finest City's win in the Filly & Mare Turf.
Arrogate is trained by Bob Baffert, who was completing a hat-trick of Breeders' Cup Classic wins having sent out Bayern and American Pharoah to win the race for the past two years.
Baffert said: "That's why we call him big-money Mike! I thought there was no chance turning for home we could catch California Chrome, he is such a great horse.
"It takes a lot to get me excited, that was some race."
California Chrome looked to have matters under control when turning into the straight a couple of lengths to the good and still firmly on the bridle.
Jockey Victor Espinoza praised his mount's performance but was left wondering what might have been had he attempted to seize the initiative.
"I am so proud of him, he ran a big race," Espinoza said. "Maybe I should have just let him run a little bit earlier but I am really proud of the way he ran."
Trainer Art Sherman offered no excuses for California Chrome's gallant defeat. He said: "We saw two champions run. I have no excuses, he ran his eyeballs out, all horses get beat. He is still the best horse I have had.
"We are on the trail for the Pegasus race and that's probably going to be his last race before the breeding shed."
The Pegasus World Cup, which takes place for the first time at Gulfstream Park in January 2017, will be the world's richest race with a prize fund of $12 million.