With much of the Southern California horse population already down south or en route to Del Mar for the summer, the workout sessions July 15 at Santa Anita Park were downright subdued in comparison to the cavalry charge during the spring.
Just after 7:45 a.m., however, the track came alive with buzz as a gray streak cut through the already warming morning air.
Juddmonte Farms' Arrogate logged his final timed workout for the July 22 TVG San Diego Handicap (G2) under the watchful eye of Bob Baffert, and met his trainer's expectations with a six-furlong run in 1:11 flat.
"He went well. I was happy with the work and everything went well, so now it's just getting down there and hoping he ships well," Baffert said.
Working in company with stablemate Cat Burglar, who is also scheduled to run in the San Diego, Arrogate ran fractions of :24, :35 3/5, :47 2/5, and :59 1/5, then galloped out to seven furlongs in 1:23 1/5 under jockey Martin Garcia.
"He went really good," Garcia said. "He's ready."
The four-time grade/group 1 winner started about a length behind Cat Burglar, moved alongside on the outside in the far turn, and pulled away from his workmate in the stretch with a couple taps on the shoulder from Garcia.
"(Cat Burglar) went really well too, but he's tough," Baffert said. "He works hard."
Baffert previously said the San Diego would serve as Arrogate's race prep for the Aug. 19 TVG Pacific Classic (G1).
"(The San Diego) is a mile and a sixteenth, which is not really his distance, but he's ready for a race," Baffert said. "He still has to break and there's still racing luck involved. As long as he's healthy and doing well, I just take him there and he always shows us something different."
Arrogate won his last seven starts, but as his Hall of Fame conditioner noted, has shown different dimensions.
In the 2016 Travers Stakes (G1), his first graded try, the gray colt sped to the lead from the inside post and ran the fastest 1 1/4 miles in Saratoga Race Course history. In the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1), he stalked favored California Chrome and put the two-time Horse of the Year away in the stretch. In the Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes (G1), he got another stalking trip and won geared down by 4 3/4 lengths.
But his trip overseas was truly something different. A slow break left Arrogate last early, but even that and a wide trip couldn't stop the Unbridled's Song colt from finishing 2 1/4 lengths on top in the Dubai World Cup Sponsored By Emirates Airline (G1).
"We don't want to break like we did in Dubai," Baffert said with a smile. "He's doing really well, but we still have to ship him down there and go through it. Next week he's gotta do well, but today he's up to my standards. I feel good about running him."
Another Baffert trainee who was up to his standards Saturday was China Horse Club and Clearsky Farms' Abel Tasman.
The three-time grade 1 winner, with Garcia aboard, started two lengths behind last-out Mohegan Sun Metropolitan Handicap (G1) winner Mor Spirit and cruised by her stablemate in the stretch to hit the wire in :59 1/5 for five furlongs, five lengths ahead of her workmate.
Baffert said the Quality Road filly is scheduled to ship out to New York for the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) July 23 at Saratoga, while the Aug. 5 Whitney (G1) is under consideration for Mor Spirit.
"She needed (her work) last week and (Garcia) gave me the OK. He lets me know how they're doing," Baffert said.
Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner Gormley was also out on the Santa Anita main track Saturday and put in his first timed work since his fourth-place run in the Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets (G1). Under jockey Victor Espinoza, the Malibu Moon colt ran a half-mile in an easy :49 3/5.
Trainer John Shirreffs said it was Gormley's first trip to the Santa Anita main track since the Belmont. He's been jogging and the galloping on the training track since he returned from New York.