- HORSE OF THE WORLD ARROGATE BREEZES AT SANTA ANITA
- FRENCH NO FOREIGNER WHEN IT COMES TO WINNING RACES
- APPRENTICE ROMAN DOESN’T ‘BUG’ BAFFERT WITH EASY WIN
- PRAT HAS FOUR-VICTORY EDGE IN RACE FOR LEADING RIDER
ARROGATE LIGHT YEARS AHEAD WITH 46.80 BULLET WORK
In the world of contemporary race horses, there is Arrogate and there is everybody else.
The North American record holder in purse earnings with more than $17 million caught the attention of aficionados at his home base of Santa Anita 6:45 Sunday morning, working four furlongs with Martin Garcia aboard in a bullet 46.80 under the watchful eye of trainer Bob Baffert and an entourage that included wife Jill, son Bode, and Brad Pegram, agent for the colt’s regular rider, Mike Smith.
Arrogate worked with Faithfully, who was given 47.80. Arrogate’s clocking was the fastest of 105 drills at the distance, the average time of which was 49.04.
“He went nice,” Baffert said of Arrogate, the King Midas of Thoroughbreds who in his last three starts captured the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational and the $10 million Dubai World Cup.
“I gave him a little target . . . He’s doing really well.”
Asked if the 1 1/16-mile San Diego Handicap at Del Mar July 22 would be Arrogate’s next race, Baffert said, “It depends. I think he needs it.”
If all goes well for the four-year-old gray son of Unbridled’s Song owned by Juddmonte Farms, Inc., the $1 million Pacific Classic at 1 ¼ miles on Aug. 19 would be a major goal prior to the Breeders’ Cup Classic at the seaside oval on Nov. 4.
FRENCH CONNECTION WORKS FOR TRAINER, STEVENS
Aflewency surprised most racegoers at Santa Anita Saturday with her three-quarter length win at 21-1 in the second race, but it was no shock to her trainer, Neil French, and her jockey, Hall of Fame member Gary Stevens.
Aflewency, a three-year-old Dixie Chatter filly owned and bred in California by Bob Frear, was beaten 9 ¼ lengths in her debut race at 5 ½ furlongs on dirt May 28, but had clear sailing over the downhill turf course at about 6 ½ furlongs Saturday.
“She might have needed her first race,” allowed French, who turns 65 on July 25. He has been training for 41 years and is down to just five horses these days. “Like some other first-time starters,” he said, “the filly didn’t appreciate the big kick back in her face first time out, and if a horse doesn’t have speed, that can happen.”
Stevens, who also won Saturday’s 10th and final race aboard 3-2 favorite Oregon for John Shirreffs, couldn’t have been more pleased winning for French.
“I love riding for Neil,” Stevens said. “We’ve won a lot of races together over the years, and it’s been a lot of years. He’s a great horseman and fun to ride for.
“He gives me zero instructions, just tells me to ride ’em, and I know he’s got them prepared when he brings them over there, and I know he doesn’t call me unless he means business.
“It was a lot of fun winning for him. I wish he had more horses than what he has, but with what he’s got, he does a helluva job.”
BAFFERT NOT BUGGED BY ROMAN’S PERFORMANCE
When Bob Baffert gave seven-pound apprentice Evin Roman a leg up on first time starter Microrithms in Saturday’s third race, the three-year-old Kentucky-bred gelding owned by former CHRB Chairman David Israel and Michael and Nadia Sigband, won by 4 ¼ lengths as the odds-on favorite, but the win was the exception rather than the rule for the Hall of Fame trainer.
Roman, a 19-year-old native of Puerto Rico who is represented by veteran agent Tony Matos, is the meet’s leading apprentice rider with 26 wins, only eight behind leader Flavien Prat and four behind runners-up Joe Talamo and Rafael Bejarano.
Microrithms is a two-year-old son of Algorithms who broke from the two post position in the five furlong dash, getting the distance in 1:03.14 under 114 pounds.
“I rarely use bug riders,” Baffert said Sunday morning, “but Evin’s worked a couple horses for me, and Tony’s a good friend of mine so I try to help him out, and Evin is a good little rider.
“He zipped out there on the horse and after that it was more of a helicopter ride.”
FINISH LINES: With two wins Saturday, Flavien Prat opened a 34-30 lead over runners-up Joe Talamo and Rafael Bejarano in the race for leading rider at the Spring portion of the current Santa Anita meet that ends on Tuesday, July 4. Among trainers, Peter Miller leads Richard Baltas, 28-23 . . . Gold Cup at Santa Anita winner Cupid, bound for the Grade II, $750,000 Suburban at Belmont Park July 8, worked five furlongs under Bejarano in a bullet 59.20 for Bob Baffert, who also breezed Cat Burglar and Collected the same distance. Each is nominated to next Saturday’s Grade III Precisionist Stakes for three-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles. Cat Burglar equaled Cupid’s bullet clocking of 59.20, while Collected went in 59.60. The 59.20 time was the fastest of 67 at the distance. The average was 1:01.04 . . . Champion Stellar Wind, who ended Vale Dori‘s six-race winning streak by a neck in the Beholder Mile, worked four furlongs in 48.40 for John Sadler who is readying the daughter of Curlin for the Grade I Clement L. Hirsch at Del Mar July 30 . . . Santa Anita Oaks winner Paradise Woods worked four furlongs for Richard Mandella in 48.20. There were 238 recorded works at Santa Anita Sunday, 23 on the training track . . . Jerry Hollendorfer, who sent out unbeaten Sircat Sally to her seventh straight victory in Saturday’s Honeymoon Stakes, said the next race for Ogden Phipps winner Songbird is “undecided.”
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Saturday, June 17)|
|Norberto Arroyo, Jr.||67||10||11||11||15%||48%||$637,299|
|Hector O. Palma||42||7||8||5||17%||48%||$286,861|