Filly Forever Unbridled could end male monopoly: Smith

Filly Forever Unbridled could end male monopoly: Smith
Forever Unbridled trains at the Meydan Racecourse.

Dubai - West Coast is one of the favourites but the jockey said Forever Unbridled cannot be written off

By James Jose

Published: Fri 30 Mar 2018, 9:59 PM

Last updated: Sat 31 Mar 2018, 12:01 AM

Those two minutes, two seconds and 15 milliseconds must have felt like an eternity for Mike Smith. But at the end of it, as everyone tried to get a piece of the seasoned jockey, disbelief as well as relief were written all over Smith's face.

It took a while for him to comprehend what his mount Arrogate had just done. The rest of the horse racing world too were left gasping to what had just unfolded before their eyes.

And Arrogate's handler Bob Baffert, perhaps, had died a thousand deaths, in those two minutes. Arrogate had blown the start from Gate 9 and was left dead last, with the Meydan Racecourse dirt on his face, as the field pulled away.

It seemed all over and done and dusted, his connections thought. But not Arrogate. The son of Unbridled's Song gave Smith a glimmer of hope and hope turned into a real chance as the pair picked through the field, one by one.

And as he turned for home, a victory, impossible moments ago, peaked through from a distance. After being blown at the beginning, Arrogate blew the field to go on to sensationally win the Dubai World Cup and inscribe his name in racing folklore.

His connections said that he has huge lungs and while that held him well, Arrogate showed a huge heart and the will.

And taking his name, in the same breath as Seabiscuit and Secretariat, two of the greatest American horses of all-time, would seem just about right.

A year on, Smith relived the experience of that heady night.

"From the start to the finish was quite an experience. We were all expecting so much of Arrogate early on and expected him to be very forwardly placed in the race. And if things went well, we thought he could certainly win. But then, after the start, I got to be honest with you, I thought, all chances were pretty much gone. But, it took a horse like him, an incredible horse, a horse that's way above average to overcome what he came and it made for an unbelievable World Cup. It might even go down as one of the best ones run so far," Smith said on Friday.

Smith is back to challenge for a second Dubai World Cup and will be onboard the mare Forever Unbridled. In a strange coincidence, Smith has ridden the father (Unbridled's Song) in the mid-90s, the son (Arrogate) and will now be riding the daughter.

A mare or filly is yet to win the Dubai World Cup but Smith felt Forever Unbridled could be the one to end the male monopoly.

"If a mare can pull this off, she's certainly the one, from the States anyway, that can do it," said Smith.

West Coast is one of the favourites but Smith said Forever Unbridled cannot be written off.

"You just got to have to run him down. She's just got to have to be better than him on that night or you are not. It is pretty simple. He's a very talented horse and he's a favourite for a reason. He will be tough to beat but I really believe that if there's a horse in there that can beat him, I'm on one of them who can," said the 52-year-old, who has 5,440 wins.

More news from Sports