Baffert hoping Arrogate gives him 3rd Dubai World Cup win
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) Arrogate has been winning one big race after another. The 4-year-old now goes after a big pile of money in the desert.
On Saturday, he runs in the $10 million Dubai World Cup.
Arrogate, trained by Bob Baffert, lost in his debut 11 months ago but hasn't lost since. He won the Breeders' Cup Classic and the inaugural $12 million Pegasus World Cup this year to stretch his unbeaten streak to six.
In both those races, Arrogate defeated California Chrome, who won last year's Dubai World Cup at Meydan Racecourse by five lengths despite jockey Victor Espinoza hanging on to a loose saddle most of the way.
Under jockey Mike Smith, Arrogate has forged a winning combination in his last three Group 1 races: Travers Stakes, Breeders' Cup Classic and Pegasus World Cup.
In Dubai, they have drawn the No. 9 post in the field of 14.
''Nine is fine,'' said Baffert, who trained 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and won this race twice. ''He's settled in pretty well. As long as he shows up, that's the key. If he runs his race, we know what he can do.''
Smith was all praise for his mount, ranked the No. 1 racehorse in the world.
''I have been blessed with some really, really good horses,'' he said. ''But I am not sure I have ever sit on one like this.
''Everything about him, his disposition, his mechanics, the way he gets over the ground. ... At times you feel as if you are running downhill instead of a level ground. What amazes me most is when the race is over it looks as if he did not put much effort into it. His recovery time is so quick.''
Arrogate's Breeders' Cup Classic and Pegasus World Cup wins came over 1 \\ miles on dirt, the same distance and conditions as the Dubai World Cup.
Baffert has won the Dubai World Cup with Silver Charm in 1998 and Captain Steve in 2001. He had a heart attack during his last visit to Dubai in 2012 and watched the World Cup five nights later with stents in two of his blocked arteries.
Last year, his other horse, Hoppertunity, finished third behind Chrome and Mike de Kock's Mubtaahij. He's giving Hoppertunity another chance.
''Both my horses are happy and healthy,'' Baffert said. ''He (Hoppertunity) should be collecting a check again. That is what he does, picks up the pieces in these big races. He reminds me of Pac-Man, he just keeps going. A Dubai World Cup 1-2, that would be something.''
Mubtaahij is also back, although he will start under Christophe Soumillon from way outside.
''I will have to ... hope for some luck,'' the Belgian jockey said.
The nine-race Dubai World Cup card offers $30 million in purses across six Group 1 and three Group 2 races on turf and dirt.