With a full house at Santa Anita and millions watching across the country, Arrogate stormed down the homestretch to beat California Chrome in a scintillating 2016 Classic to punctuate the world championships.
California Chrome took the 2016 Classic field out in decisive fashion, asserting himself as the horse to beat. With 4/5 odds, many in the grandstands were comforted by the fact that the five-year-old was showing such early dominance. Art Sherman’s marquee trainee led the pack with fractions of 23.28, :47.15, and 1:10.96 at the three-quarter pole.
Rounding the corner, California Chrome seemingly had the race in hand but Victor Espinoza knew otherwise. The jockey frantically looked back twice as they hit the homestretch and caught view of Arrogate surging from behind. The three-year-old worked his way up from fourth to draft right behind California Chrome in the final furlong of the 2016 Classic, and slammed his hoof on the proverbial gas pedal to show a remarkable burst of closing speed.
Arrogate devoured the track, the homestretch and California Chrome in a commanding performance to win the 2016 Classic and stun the crowd as a 5/2 second choice. The winner paid out $5.40, $2.80, and $2.60 across the board, while California Chrome came in second and Keen ice showed well for third.
Winning jockey Mike Smith racked up his 25th Breeders’ Cup victory in historic fashion aboard Arrogate. “This was incredible today,” said Smith. “You just don’t see things like this from a young 3-year-old. He literally was prancing after the race was over. … He’s so talented. He’s got amazing stamina. He doesn’t quit. He could have gone around again. He’s incredible.”
Trainer Bob Baffert was respectful with the upset, crediting Art Sherman’s team with creating the draw that filled the Santa Anita grand stands with a capacity crowd for the 2016 BC Classic. “All I can say is, Art Sherman has done an incredible job with California Chrome,” Baffert chimed. “That’s why this place was packed today.”
Sherman was equally gracious in defeat. “That winner is the real McCoy,” Sherman said of 2016 Classic winner Arrogate. “I knew he was the one we had to beat, but I didn’t know how good he was.”
As the dust settled from a wildly entertaining Breeders’ Cup, folks across the country quickly realized that they wouldn’t have long to wait for a 2016 Classic rematch. Arrogate and California Chrome – the top two horses in the world rankings – are poised for a showdown at the newly minted 2017 Pegasus World Cup on January 28th from Gulfstream Park. As if a $12 million purse wasn’t enough to draw fans to the blockbuster…