Breeders’ Cup draw puts defending champion Arrogate on the rail
By Art Wilson
SOLANA BEACH — They don’t call him “Big Money” Mike for nothing. He’s cool, calm and collected.
Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, who’ll ride Arrogate for the seventh consecutive race Saturday when Del Mar hosts its first Breeders’ Cup, wasn’t fazed one iota by the fact North America’s all-time leading money earner drew the dreaded rail Monday when post positions were drawn for the $6 million Classic.
What, Smith, the all-time winningest Breeders’ Cup jockey with 25 victories, worry?
“When you go back and look at it, (Arrogate’s) best two races – the Travers and the Pegasus – were from the rail,” said Smith, who rode Arrogate to victory in last year’s Classic and was also aboard the 4-year-old son of Unbridled’s Song when he won the Travers by 13½ lengths in Saratoga record time and the inaugural Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park.
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But he hasn’t been the same Arrogate since returning from Dubai, where he put on a spectacular show while winning the World Cup. He finished fourth in the San Diego Handicap at Del Mar in his comeback race and then was beaten a half-length by stablemate Collected in the Pacific Classic.
One theory being thrown around is that he doesn’t like Del Mar, but Smith said his effort in the Pacific Classic showed him that might not be the case.
“He showed me he can run on it,” Smith said. “He didn’t bring his A game, but he ran well. If he brings his A game (in the Classic), I wouldn’t trade places with anybody.”
Eleven were entered in Saturday’s Classic, including 9-5 morning-line favorite Gun Runner, who drew the No. 5 post. Arrogate was installed as […]