In a microcosm of the expected race for Horse of the Year honors, Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) winner Arrogate and champion California Chrome shared accolades as the leading Thoroughbreds by earnings for 2016 depending on criteria.
According to final statistics released Jan. 2 by Equibase Company, Juddmonte Farms' Arrogate led all Thoroughbreds in North American earnings with a bankroll of $4,084,600 bolstered by his victories in the $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic and $1.25 million Travers Stakes (G1). When including the results of the Dubai World Cup (G1) card at Meydan Racecourse last March, California Chrome is the leading earner with earnings of $8,090,000.
California Chrome, whose other races this year included victories in the TVG Pacific Classic (G1), Awesome Again Stakes (G1) and San Diego Handicap (G2) and a runner-up finish to Arrogate in the Breeders' Cup Classic, is also the all-time leading North American-based earner with total earnings of $14,502,650, including Dubai World Cup earnings, and currently sixth all-time in worldwide earnings.
California Chrome and Arrogate are scheduled to face each other again Jan. 28 in the $12 million Pegasus World Cup (G1) at Gulfstream Park.
Completing the list of top 10 horses by North American earnings were Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) winner Nyquist with $3,575,600 in earnings, multiple grade 1 winner Exaggerator with $2,598,000, champion Songbird with $2,210,000, Longines Breeders' Cup Turf (G1T) winner Highland Reel at $2,200,000, California Chrome (North American earnings) with $2,090,000, Flintshire at $2,000,000, Gun Runner at $1,970,880, Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) heroine Beholder with $1,720,000, and Breeders' Cup Mile (G1T) winner Tourist with $1,633,750.
Puerto Rican-bred and based Betty Starlite was the top North American Thoroughbred based on victories with 12 wins in 2016. The 5-year-old daughter of Nite Light, who has won 20 of 43 career starts, earned her dozen victories from 23 starts last year in the claiming ranks at Camarero and has career earnings of $76,601.
Songbird is the only horse to rank in the top 20 for both earnings and wins, as she tied for 17th overall in North America by victories with seven triumphs from eight starts.