Much-vaunted Arrogate suffers shock defeat

World's top horse finishes fourth of five runners at Del Mar

The horse racing world was turned upside-down when Arrogate, rated the top horse in the world and the all-time leading money winner among North American thoroughbreds, suffered one of the biggest upsets in thoroughbred history yesterday (Singapore time) at Del Mar, California.

Arrogate, the 1-20 favourite in the US$300,000 (S$408,000) San Diego Handicap, finished fourth.


After his sub-par performance, many wondered if Arrogate had been injured, but jockey Mike Smith and trainer Bob Baffert said nothing was wrong with the four-year-old colt.

"Physically, he looks fine coming back," Baffert told reporters. "I think he just laid an egg... was just flat."

Accelerate set the pace from the get-go and blew the field away, winning by eight-and-a-half lengths.

Arrogate, who trailed the five-horse field early, came in fourth, 15½ lengths behind the winner.

"I'm at a loss for words," said Smith. "He was just flat - so flat. We were going around there okay and then I took him outside like I did in the (Dubai World Cup), but he just didn't pick it up."

Arrogate earned the honour of being the best in the world, having won seven straight races, including the Travers, Breeders' Cup Classic, Pegasus World Cup and Dubai World Cup.

His earnings topped US$17 million.

"He gallops and works faster than that," said Smith. "I'm dumbfounded."

Of the US$2,671,938 bet in the win, place and show pools, an astounding US$2,457,472 was wagered on Arrogate, the Los Angeles Times reported.

With the loss, the door is open for Winx, the unbeaten Australian mare, to climb to the top of the Longines World's Best Horse Racehorse rankings.

Winx has won 17 straight races and almost US$13 million in prize money. - REUTERS