Arrogate, who was retired from racing at the end of his four-year-old campaign in November, 2017, has the distinction of being the highest earning racehorse in the world. The son of Unbridled’s Song ended his career on a low note, with three defeats in a row, but, in a period of eighteen months or so, won seven of his 11 starts and amassed $17.4 million, or £13.6 million, in prize money.
Owned by Juddmonte Farms, under the auspices of Saudi Arabian Prince Khalid Abdullah, and trained by Bob Baffert, Arrogate was unraced as a juvenile. He made a low-key debut as a three-year-old, when last of three – albeit just a neck and half a length – in a maiden race, over 6 furlongs, at Los Alamitos at odds of 1/2. However, he quickly made up for lost time, winning his next three starts, all at odds-on, before lining up in the Grade One Travers Stakes at Saratoga. Having just his fifth start, and his first under jockey Mike ‘Big Money’ Smith, Arrogate not only registered an impressive, 13½-length win over American Freedom but, in so doing, recorded the fastest time over a mile and a quarter in the 155-year history of Saratoga Racecourse.
Smith certainly lived up to his popular nickname because, in a period of less than five months, between November, 2016 and March, 2017, he partnered Arrogate to victory in three of the most valuable races in the world. The Grade One Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita, worth £2.24 million to the winner, was dominated – in terms of the betting market and the race itself – by Arrogate and 2016 American Horse of the Year California Chrome; Arrogate produced a sustained run to lead close home and win by half a length, with a yawning 10¾-length gap back to the third horse. The Grade One Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park, worth £5.69 million, resulted in another facile, 4¾-length win and another track record, while the Grade One Dubai World Cup at Meydan, worth £4.88 million, had a similar outcome, with Arrogate comfortably defeating 2017 American Horse of the Year Gunner Runner by 2¼ lengths.