Thank you for the memories, Arrogate
The American horse, who staged one of the greatest ever comebacks to win the 2017 World Cup, was euthanized on Tuesday after becoming ill
Trainer Bob Baffert, who had suffered a heart attack here in Dubai in 2012, his heart must have skipped a beat and he might have died a thousand deaths after the odds-on favourite Arrogate missed the break from Gate 9. Arrogate was dead last as the rest of the field was disappearing into the distance. But over those two minutes, two seconds and 15 milliseconds, the Dubai World Cup in 2017 was witness to a fairytale, perhaps a miracle.
Arrogate, under celebrated jockey Mike Smith, did the unthinkable and staged one of the most remarkable comebacks ever seen in racing history. He blew the field away at the Meydan Racecourse on that heady night and went on to sensationally win the Dubai World Cup and inscribe his name in racing folklore.
Nicknamed the 'Blue Locomotive,' Arrogate, winner of the Breeders' Cup Classic and the Pegasus World Cup and North America's all-time leading money earner, is no more.
Juddmonte Farms said that Arrogate, who was seven, was euthanized on Tuesday after becoming ill. He had been retired to stud and had been having a successful breeding season.
And those who were witness to that remarkable run by Arrogate, remembered that special night.
"For me personally, it is two outstanding races in the World Cup. One was Dubai Millennium (2000) and second was Arrogate," sixt-time UAE Champion Trainer Satish Seemar told the Khaleej Times.
"It was breathtaking the way he missed the break and the way he came back and the way he finished. It was a memorable night. Of course, he was a special horse around the world but that race will always sit in my head for a long time to come," he added.
The Dubai-based conditioner, who was one of the key figures in Dubai becoming a prime destination in the world for horse racing following the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, recalled the race in detail.
"When I saw the horses jump out of the gates, my first thought was 'Oh my God, the favourite lost the break and there's just no way.' But as the race progressed, and this is something which stays in your head, how special was that horse, to cover that much ground and the zeal to win in a different country, different surface. That time a lot of things were going on in everybody's head but when he won, even if you had your own horse in the race, you would have jumped with joy and said what an amazing thing you have experienced. He was an extraordinary horse who had a big impact in racing," said Seemar, who trains at Zabeel Stables.
Meanwhile, record eight-time UAE Champion Jockey Tadhg O'Shea was saddened by the news and said Arrogate ranks among the very best.
"Very, very sad news when I learnt that Arrogate had to be sadly euthanized," Tadhg O'Shea told the Khaleej Times.
"He will I'm sure be a big, big loss to the breeding industry and Juddmonte Farms. He was a truly remarkable winner of the race. It was very, very freakish. No horse really should have done what he had done in the Dubai World Cup after missing the start so bad. Then passed virtually every horse throughout the race. As I said, it was a remarkable performance in a very, very strong field for the 2017 Dubai World Cup. He ranks among one of the very best of the race in my estimations, probably behind the greatest of them all which is Dubai Millennium," added the 38-year-old Irishman, who holds the record as the all-time leading jockey in the UAE with 553 winners, surpassing Richard Hills' previous mark of 504 last season.
Arrogate was special 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.
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