ARROGATE ‘HORSE OF MEET’ IN MEDIA POLL
Miller, Bejarano Earn Honors as Top Trainer, Jockey
ARCADIA, Calif. (Nov. 6, 2016) – Up and coming three-year-old star Arrogate, winner of five straight races including the Grade I Travers Stakes by 13 ½ lengths and the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita Saturday, was named Horse of the Meet in the annual Autumn Meet media poll.
The gray son of Unbridled’s Song trained by Bob Baffert for owner Juddmonte Farms, Inc. outfinished favored California Chrome in deep stretch in the mile and a quarter Classic to win by a half-length under Mike Smith.
“When Chrome was out there cruising (on the lead) I thought no way he’s going to catch him,” said Baffert, who was winning his third straight Breeders’ Cup Classic. “. . . Then all of a sudden, Mike’s riding and he’s catching up little by little with that big stride kicking in . . . I never thought he would be able to catch Chrome.”
Arrogate also was named Outstanding Three-Year-Old male, while Baffert’s third straight Breeders’ Cup Classic victory was named Achievement of the Meet. Five-year-old California Chrome, who captured the Grade I Awesome Again Stakes on Oct. 1, was named Outstanding Older Horse.
Breeders’ Cup winners understandably dominated the categories.
Distaff winner Beholder was named Outstanding Older Filly or Mare, thanks to her pulsating nose victory in the race over previously undefeated 2015 Two-Year-Old filly champion Songbird, who incurred her first loss after 11 straight easy victories.
Songbird was named the Meet’s Outstanding Three-Year-Old filly and the Distaff was named Race of the Meet.
Peter Miller led the trainers’ race from start to finish throughout the 23-day meet and outlasted runners-up Baffert and Doug O’Neill to capture the training title, 18-16, while perennial Southern California riding kingpin Rafael Bejarano withstood several challenges to take yet another crown, 23-20, over runner-up Kent Desormeaux. This was Bejarano’s 32nd title overall, his 27th in the Golden State and his 15th at Santa Anita.
Honored in other categories were Champagne Room, $69.20 upset winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies for trainer Peter Eurton, Outstanding Two-Year-Old filly; Queen’s Trust, nose winner of the $2 million Filly & Mare Turf for trainer Sir Michael Stoute, Outstanding Grass Filly or Mare; Sprint winner Drefong for Baffert, Outstanding Sprinter; and Highland Reel, victor in the $4 million Turf for trainer Aidan O’Brien, Outstanding Grass Horse.
Also, Classic Empire, winner of the Juvenile for trainer Mark Casse, Outstanding Two-Year-Old male; Austin Solis, 24-year-old son of Hall of Fame jockey Alex Solis, Outstanding Apprentice; B. Wayne Hughes of Spendthrift Farm, owner of Beholder, Owner of the Meet by virtue of $1,431,890 in purse earnings.
Nextdoorneighbor, who posted a 2 ¼-length victory against $8,000 claiming horses on Oct. 30, was named Claiming Horse of the Meet. Despite winning his second straight race at the bottom level, the popular nine-year-old Florida-bred gelding that was trained by Peter Miller is a virtual win machine, having registered his 13th career victory from 51 starts. The bay son of Lido Palace also has 11 seconds and seven thirds for earnings of $333,869.
2016 Santa Anita Autumn Media Poll
Horse of Meet: Arrogate
Older Horse: California Chrome
Older Filly/Mare: Beholder
Grass Horse: Highland Reel
Grass Filly/Mare: Queen’s Trust
3-Year-Old Filly: Songbird
Trainer: Peter Miller
Jockey: Rafael Bejarano
Apprentice: Austin Solis
Race: Breeders’ Cup Distaff
Owner: Spendthrift Farm, LLC
Achievement: Baffert 3rd Classic Win