Ar­ro­gate plays a World Cup wait­ing game

Prince Khalid to make de­ci­sion on po­ten­tial Dubai trip

The National - News - Sport - - FOOTBALL - Geoffrey Rid­dle sports@then­ational.ae

Prince Khalid Ab­dul­lah will make a fi­nal call in the next few weeks as to whether Ar­ro­gate will race in the Dubai World Cup af­ter his stun­ning suc­cess Satur­day in the Pe­ga­sus World Cup at Gulf­stream Park.

The four-year-old grey pow­ered to vic­tory in the world’s first US$12 mil­lion (Dh44 m) race by al­most five lengths un­der jockey Mike Smith. He was so good he was eased down in the fi­nal 100 yards to beat Shaman Ghost and on that form the Dubai World Cup on March 25 looks like rich pick­ings.

Last week Bob Baf­fert said in Lon­don that Ar­ro­gate was set for a break and had been pur­chased by Prince Khalid’s Jud­dmonte Farm’s op­er­a­tion to race in Amer­ica. A run in the Dubai World Cup was not on the ta­ble.

But it ap­pears the door may well be ajar to Baf­fert try­ing to add to his two pre­vi­ous wins in the World Cup. His Breeders’ Cup Sprint win­ner Dre­fong is set to con­test the Dubai Golden Sha­heen and Hop­per­tu­nity, who was third in the World Cup last March, is also in line to come over in a bid to go two places bet­ter. “We have to get him home and see how he is,” the Amer­i­can trainer told the Dubai Rac­ing Chan­nel. “The Prince wants to make sure what­ever we do with him we want to make sure he is ready for the Breeders’ Cup Clas­sic [at Del Mar in Novem­ber]. We are pre­pared to go at all times, but we will let him and [man­ager] Gar­rett O’Rourke make that call.”

The son of Un­bri­dled’s Song was bought at the Keeneland Sale in Septem­ber 2014 for $560,000. Thanks to vic­to­ries in the Breeders’ Cup Clas­sic and the $7m he picked up in Florida on Satur­day his ca­reer earn­ings al­ready stand at $11m.

Baf­fert ob­vi­ously has the tar­get of try­ing to mould Ar­ro­gate in to the first horse to win suc­ces­sive Breeders’ Cup Clas­sics since Tiznow in 2001 and se­cure a record fourth straight win for his trainer.

It is dif­fi­cult to see why Ar­ro­gate would not come to Dubai. The Pe­ga­sus World Cup re­placed the Grade 1 Donn Hand­i­cap that was used as a prep by Dubai World Cup win­ners Cigar, Cap­tain Steve, trained by Baf­fert, and Sheikh Ham­dan bin Rashid’s In­va­sor.

By con­test­ing the World Cup, Ar­ro­gate would have to prove that he can race against a solid in­ter­na­tional field with­out the use of Lasix, the anti-bleed­ing drug, some­thing few Amer­i­can horses have on their CV.

The ben­e­fit of a trip to Dubai would also mean that, were he to pre­vail, he would eclipse Cal­i­for­nia Chrome as the high­est-earn­ing North Amer­i­can race­horse.

There is $3.66m be­tween the two. The first prize at Mey­dan is worth $6m.

Horses owned by the Saudi Ara­bian prince have not been reg­u­lar vis­i­tors to Dubai, with Flintshire’s sec­ond place in the Dubai Sheema Clas­sic in 2015 the last time his dis­tinc­tive green, white and pink colours ap­peared.

Prior to that it was Ci­tyscape’s run­away 2012 Dubai Turf suc­cess and his last run­ner in the Dubai World Cup was when Twice Over was ninth on the Tapeta sur­face in 2011.

As for Cal­i­for­nia Chrome, the 2016 Dubai World Cup win­ner, a pos­si­ble rea­son has emerged as to why he fin­ished a lack­lus­tre ninth hav­ing pushed Ar­ro­gate so close at Santa Anita in Novem­ber. Cal­i­for­nia Chrome had to break from the widest draw in Gate 12, and un­der Vic­tor Espinoza he raced four to five wide dur­ing the early stages.

The giant chest­nut fin­ished al­most 30 lengths be­hind Ar­ro­gate, but trainer Art Sher­man re­vealed that his charge showed some dis­com­fort in his right leg, which tran­spired to be fluid on the knee.

Cal­i­for­nia Chrome is sched­uled to fly to Ken­tucky where he will be X-rayed be­fore tak­ing up stal­lion du­ties at Tay­lor Made Farm.

AFP

Ar­ro­gate’s win on Satur­day in the Pe­ga­sus World Cup In­vi­ta­tional at Gulf­stream Park is no guar­an­tee of a Dubai World Cup run.

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