Arrogate promising new lease of life for US branch of Juddmonte
Fresh start for Kentucky division with shift to dirt genes
Keen anticipation is hovering around the Kentucky branch of Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farms - currently home only to the admirable but ageing Mizzen Mast - as the staff acknowledges the strong possibility they will welcome world champion Arrogate for stud duty in 2018.
“Everything is pointing toward him coming to the farm,” said Juddmonte’s American manager, Garrett O’Rourke. “But we’re not going to make any official announcement because there are so many things happening with racing and prize-money that there are a lot of things we can present to Prince Khalid to see what he wants to do. We obviously have a big breeding operation - but Arrogate would fit in beautifully.”
Since his runaway success in the Travers last summer, Arrogate has become a bona fide superstar. The latest Longines World Rankings, released on Thursday, accorded him a 134 rating for his stunning last-to-first performance in the Dubai World Cup - so matching his globally superior rating for 2016. O’Rourke says that American breeders are already excited about Arrogate’s next career.
“We’re all looking forward to it,” he said. “I think the only person not looking forward to it is [trainer] Bob Baffert: I think he’s enjoying the here and now!”
Juddmonte has begun assembling mates for the four-year-old son of Unbridled’s Song with a view toward introducing more dirt genes to the pool, most members of the farm’s broodmare band, numbering “in the high 70s,” being oriented to turf.
The five-year-old Ghostzapper mare Paulassilverlining was purchased privately in March and immediately boosted her value by winning the Grade 1 Madison Stakes at Keeneland last weekend. “She’s precocious, she’s fast, she’s really consistent and she’s a great filly who will suit being bred to Arrogate,” O’Rourke said.
O’Rourke declined to discuss plans for additional mare acquisitions, but did confirm that Arrogate will stand at the Juddmonte property in Lexington, where the splendid grey Mizzen Mast stands alone at 19.
“It was important to get American breeders involved and invested in these two in order for them to be successful,” O’Rourke explained. Lane’s End purchased a majority interest in Noble Mission, while Flintshire stands for Hill ‘n’ Dale, China Horse Club and SF Bloodstock; Juddmonte retains an interest in both horses.
Arrogate will bring unique credentials to stud, having farmed three monster prizes in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, the inaugural Pegasus World Cup and then Dubai for a bankroll of $17,084,600 from seven wins in eight starts. With the $1 million Pacific Classic and the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic tentatively on his agenda, and, as O’Rourke noted, the possibility of the enhanced $16 million Pegasus next January, he has set connections a rather different financial equation from most other stallion prospects.
Even in a case like this, however, it is never just about the money. The first foal produced by Clearsky Farm’s Distorted Humor mare Bubbler, Arrogate has champion Meadow Star as his third dam. O’Rourke identifies his “long stride and purely fluid mechanics” as physical attributes that qualify him as a “super athlete.”
“This is a real-deal horse from the point of view of his stallion value,” he said. “Everyone should want to try to replicate his best qualities in the future.”