Despite thoughts that Arrogate might stay home and run in the Santa Anita Handicap, trainer Bob Baffert said that he is sending his champion 4-year-old to Dubai.
The total purse of the Santa Anita Handicap is $750,000, while the Dubai World Cup is $10 million. The World Cup is March 25.
Arrogate worked Monday morning over the Santa Anita surface with furlong splits of 12.21, 24.30, 36.32, 48.29, 59.96, 1:12, 1:24.40 and 1:38.40 for the mile. Martin Garcia was the jockey as Baffert and regular rider Mike Smith watched from the box-seat area.
“He went very well, it looks like he hasn’t regressed at all,” Baffert told Mike Willman of Santa Anita.
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Arrogate’s last race was Jan. 28, when he won the inaugural $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream. It was supposed to be a spirited rematch of the Breeders’ Cup Classic between Arrogate and California Chrome. But Chrome never fired and Arrogate won the race easily.
Ever since the advent of the Dubai World Cup and its switch from a synthetic surface to dirt, the Santa Anita Handicap has struggled to keep the very best horses in the states. This is the first year in recent times that the purse has dipped below $1 million for the 1 1/4-mile race.
“The Santa Anita Handicap is having a much harder time attracting the size of field we’ve had before,” Keith Brackpool, chairman of the Stronach Group’s West Coast operations, told the Los Angeles Times during the Breeders’ Cup.
“So rather than keep it at a million dollars, we took it down to $750,000 so we can put on five other stakes. That’s just what you do in a normal year, moving things around.”
The Santa Anita Handicap is March 11, the same day as the San Felipe, the next major Kentucky Derby prep race at Santa Anita.