No such thing as a sure thing in horse rac­ing

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - THE SECOND PAGE - Com­piled by Jeff Krup­saw

On pa­per, there was no way Arrogate could lose Satur­day in the San Diego Hand­i­cap at Del Mar Race­track.

His ac­com­plish­ments — more than $17 mil­lion in purse money earned, seven vic­to­ries in eight ca­reer starts — so tow­ered over his four ri­vals that no rea­son­able case could be made for any­body but Arrogate to win.

The bet­ting pub­lic was so con­vinced that more than 91.9 per­cent of the $2,671,939 wa­gered in the win-place-show mutuel pools went on No. 3, Arrogate.

The 4-year-old son of Un­bri­dled’s Song, the world’s top-ranked thor­ough­bred, was the surest of sure things, leav­ing the gate un­der jockey Mike Smith at odds of 1 to 20, mean­ing you had to bet $20 for a chance to win $1.

At Del Mar, where the surf meets the turf just north of San Diego, Arrogate was, in horse rac­ing par­lance, good enough to jog around the 1-mile oval and still win.

As it turns out, Arrogate re­ally did jog around the Del Mar track, but he didn’t win.

He barely lifted his hooves. Un­hur­ried early, Arrogate was 5½ lengths be­hind the early lead­ers af­ter the first quar­ter mile, 4½ lengths back af­ter a half mile and was still fourth, 5 lengths back af­ter 6 fur­longs.

Arrogate did fi­nally pass a horse, a dead-tired El Huer­fano, who stum­bled so badly at the start that jockey Evin Ro­man’s feet came out of the stir­rups and lost con­trol over his mount.

Arrogate didn’t fin­ish last, but he was beaten 15¼ lengths by Ac­cel­er­ate, and the si­lence at Del Mar was deaf­en­ing.

Arrogate’s off-the-board fin­ish trig­gered out­landish pay­outs in the place and show pools. More than $1.3 mil­lion was wa­gered on Arrogate to show and $792,216 was wa­gered on him to place.

Ac­cel­er­ate, the wire-to-wire win­ner, paid $17.60, $32.60, and $22 across the board.

Don­worth, a 24-1 shot who fin­ished sec­ond, re­turned $119.80 and $67.40, a track record, bet­ter­ing the old mark of $101.60 and $40.20 set by Cipria on Sept. 1, 1955. Arrogate paid $38.20 to show.

Smith said he was at a loss for words, just as Arrogate’s back­ers were at a loss for money.

“He was just flat — so flat,” Smith said. “He wasn’t try­ing.”

Renowned trainer Bob Baf­fert ex­plained it this way.

“He just laid an egg,” he said. “That’s why my hair is white.”

AP/LYNNE SLADKY

Arrogate was a huge bet­ting fa­vorite to win Satur­day’s San Diego Hand­i­cap at Del Mar Race­track, but in­stead, fin­ished a dis­tant fourth to see his seven-race win­ning streak snapped by Ac­cel­er­ate.

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