Arrogate Upsets California Chrome in 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic
California Chrome topped the Breeders’ Cup Futures market since the lines were first released in early October. When the post positions were drawn on October 31, the five-year-old thoroughbred’s odds improved further.
Despite his modest pedigree, California Chrome has enjoyed massive success and garnered a big following. In 2014, he won the Eclipse Horse of the Year award on top of Champion Three-Year-Old Colt, and after taking most of 2015 off for health reasons, he returned to the tracks in 2016 with a bang, winning all six starts by as much as five lengths. With over $14 million in earnings, he’s won more money than any other horse in North America.
But in the wise words of California Chrome’s trainer Art Sherman, “you can’t win every race.”
The second-favorite, Arrogate, was shrouded in mystery. The Baffert-trained colt had very little experience, but piqued the interest of value-conscious bettors. After putting off starting his career because of health complications, the grey colt began his first year of racing in 2016, breaking his maiden on his second attempt in June at Santa Anita. He went on to win two allowance optional races, and then dominated the Grade 1 Travers Stakes in August, winning by 13 1/2 lengths and breaking the previous speed record, which had been in place for 37 years. Bob Baffert, Arrogate’s trainer and also the trainer of the 2015 and 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic winners, knew that Arrogate was good, but didn’t know how good.
Arrogate and California Chrome met at the 2016 Breeders’ Cup for the first time; Chrome with 25 starts under his belt, and the younger Arrogate with six. Arrogate started from Post No. 10 in the 10-horse field, and Chrome started from Post No. 4. When the gates swung open, Chrome shot to the front of the pack, and led the way, with Melatonin shadowing him. Arrogate stalked a few lengths back from Melatonin, until the horses reached the far turn. At that point, Mike Smith, Arrogate’s jockey, asked the grey colt to give, and the two passed Melatonin and gained on Chrome, shooting past him by a half length right at the wire. You could feel the heartbreak of California Chrome’s massive fan base as he settled for second. The rest of the pack was over 10 lengths back.
Arrogate backers were paid $5.40 for $2-bets for the win, $2.80 for placing and $2.60 for showing at 8-5 odds. California Chrome’s legions of fans got $2.60 for the Place bet and $2.40 for the Show bet. Keen Ice rolled in 10 ¾ lengths behind Chrome, paying out $5.80 for showing.
In a post-race interview, Baffert said that Arrogate will continue his training into the next year, so it looks like this is just the beginning of Arrogate’s breakout career. We hope to see him back on the tracks, breaking more records and (hopefully) breaking fewer hearts.
Breeders' Cup Classic 2016: Final Results:
|2||California Chrome||A. Sherman|
|3||Keen Ice||T. Pletcher|
|8||War Story||M. Serey Jr.|
|9||Win the Space||G. Papaprodromou|