Arrogate to bring new life to Juddmonte's stateside operation
Champion will stand in Kentucky after his Breeders' Cup swansong
Formal confirmation on Tuesday night that Arrogate will be retired to his owner's Kentucky farm after his defence of the Breeders' Cup Classic hardly came as a surprise – but that will not alter the excitement, both within the Juddmonte Farms team and among other breeders, over the champion's second career.
In recent times, after all, the action at Prince Khalid Abdullah's operation has become skewed towards its European base at Banstead Manor, home not only to the mighty Frankel but also to Kingman and Bated Breath. These three thriving young sires are together looking eligible, in time, to assume the baton from their ageing studmates Oasis Dream and Dansili, who have set such high standards. On the Lexington farm, in contrast, the under-rated veteran Mizzen Mast for now stands alone.
As such, Arrogate represents spectacular vindication of the strategy undertaken in 2012 to revive Juddmonte's presence in American dirt racing in the post-Bobby Frankel era. A $560,000 Keeneland September graduate, the son of Unbridled's Song was one of eight yearlings bought at auction in the US in 2014, the third year of the new policy.
He has since suffered two shock defeats, worryingly over the same Del Mar circuit that stages his swansong on November 4. But Juddmonte's US manager Garrett O'Rourke, in announcing Arrogate's retirement schedule, indicated that trainer Bob Baffert is optimistic of a revival, saying: "Arrogate is training forwardly towards the Classic, as witnessed by his bullet workout today."
No fee has yet been determined, naturally, though even an anti-climactic end to his career would not efface the memory of its pinnacles among Kentucky mare owners. For Arrogate, as a stallion prospect, has the genetic background to underpin his racetrack credentials.
Both his sire and dam are by grandsons of Mr Prospector while his first two dams are by noted broodmare sires in Distorted Humor and Deputy Minister. The third is the outstanding runner Meadow Star, who crowned her flawless seven-race campaign at two by sealing Eclipse Champion status at the Breeders' Cup, and added the Grade 1 Acorn and Grade 1 Mother Goose at three.Bubbler (including four at stakes level, also Grade 3-placed from nine starts overall), who was acquired at the end of her racing career by Clearsky Farms for $170,000 at Fasig-Tipton November. Her dam Grechelle's first foal, by Unbridled's Song, had been a stakes winner so it was decided to send the half-sister to the same sire.
Grechelle, Grade 3-placed at two, was the only foal out of Meadow Star to earn black type; but her sister Field Of Vision is the second dam of Belle Gallantey, a dual Grade 1 winner in 2014, notably the Beldame Stakes by eight lengths.
Bubbler, incidentally, failed to reach her reserve at $4.7 million when offered in foal to Into Mischief at Fasig-Tipton last November. In June it was announced that Hill 'n' Dale Farm had acquired a 50 per cent stake in the mare.
Arrogate is from the penultimate crop of Unbridled's Song, who had completed his 17th season at Taylor Made Stallions on his death in July 2013 – just three months after the birth of what would prove his greatest foal.
Those already entrusted with his legacy include a couple of young stallions sired towards the end of his career in Will Take Charge, whose first yearlings at Three Chimneys have been warmly received at the sales this year; and Liam's Map, the Lane's End rookie whose first weanlings will shortly go under the hammer. Interestingly Liam's Map is (like Arrogate) out of a mare by a Forty Niner line sire, in Trippi.
But Arrogate is their sire's towering achievement on the track, and Juddmonte has already been investing in the right kind of mares – such as dual Grade 1 winner Paulassilverlining – to give him every chance of proving premier among his heirs at stud as well.