All This Talk About Arrogate
This last weekend, we got lucky in two senses. I genuinely believe that during my lifetime we have been incredibly fortunate to witness probably the greatest generation of Thoroughbreds to have graced the racetracks of the world. From Black Caviar to Rock of Gibraltar, to the unbeaten three-year-old filly Zarkava who won the Arc in 2008, and 2009 winner Sea The Stars, all the way to Excelebration, California Chrome, American Pharoah and Frankel. Arrogate has to be put in that bracket; the top bracket; the Frankel bracket. He was absolutely extraordinary in a race that people will pick to pieces as time goes on. At the end of the day, the horses that were second, third and fourth ran that way all the way around and Arrogate managed to beat them and the entire field after a bad start. He set a record in the Travers, won the Breeders’ Cup Classic, stomped the Pegasus World Cup and has now won the Dubai World Cup. No doubt, Arrogate is a very special horse and his performance made my blood chill.
Closer to home, we also had a pretty special performance on Saturday from Bluegrass Flag, who won the Cicada Stakes at Aqueduct by five-lengths, running an eye-catching 87 Beyer figure. This is the third time this filly has run sub-112 on the inner track and every time I take her over there, she pleases me a little bit more. In the paddock she looked tremendously well, but far from the finished article. She is still a raw, leggy individual and was good enough to put away her competitors in easy fashion. She was much more professional this time, a lot calmer before the race and jockey Kendrick Carmouche said she relaxed beautifully for him. Next up for her will be the 6 ½ furlong New York-bred Stallion Series at Aqueduct at the end of April. If we’re lucky enough that she goes onto win that then we can start dreaming of bigger and better things from there. Amazingly talented filly with an enormous amount of potential, and one I believe will be a very strong four and five-year-old.
The action at the Fair Grounds is beginning to wind down. Three of our horses will run this weekend – Louisiana Derby weekend. Delve, Tiyo and Active Runner will take part in allowances races there before we pack up and head to Keeneland for the Spring meet.
It was very pleasing to round-off this last weekend with a maiden win for owner Gary Barber. My Ekati Cat broke her maiden by 2 ½ lengths at Aqueduct on Sunday. The Kentucky-bred is a solid filly who tries hard and has done everything right since coming to us in February. Just three weeks ago she ran in an equivalent race and finished second on a day when the track was really favouring the rail, and she just got nailed. Not the case this time as she was very authoritative in her win.
Beyond that, I’m looking forward to going back down to Louisiana for the weekend, then opening up Keeneland and getting our teeth into the New York season. The inner track has now closed and the main track is open, so we can expect some of the bigger operations to start sending up more competition.
Our two-year-olds are looking good this year; we already have four in. Our initial aim is for a horse called Walk and Talk to target the first Maiden Special Weight of the year at Aqueduct going 4 ½ furlongs on April 20. Look for him, he is a colt by Stroll and is out of the Johannesburg mare Mythical Yarn.
The New York Racing Association has a wonderful program for two-year-old maidens and is really trying to promote them through the calendar by putting up three $100,000 maiden races called The Tremont Trials (for colts) and Astoria Trials (for fillies) – and you can add $25,000 onto the purse of that if you win with a New York-bred.
That’s all for now!
Photos: NYRA Photo/Joe Labozzetta