One of the intangibles in getting the Arrogate of old to show up on race days is for the son of Unbridled's Song to regain the effortless form he so often flaunted in the mornings. With trainer Bob Baffert looking on in the Santa Anita Park stands Sept. 26, Juddmonte Farms' champion colt threw down a throw-back type move that had been his norm for much of his meteoric career.
In his second work since finishing second to stablemate Collected in the Aug. 19 $1 million TVG Pacific Classic Stakes (G1), Arrogate posted a bullet five-furlong move in :59 2/5 Tuesday while working in company with Uninvited. Uninvited was credited with four furlongs in :48 2/5.
With jockey Rafael Bejarano in the irons, Arrogate started a handful of lengths behind his workout and finished up with a level of enthusiasm that left his Hall of Fame trainer equal parts pleased and relieved.
"He broke off and I gave him a little target," Baffert said. "He was real focused and he went around there really nice, easy. Then he just continued out to the seven-eighths pole and ... he just did it like the Arrogate we know. I was happy with it. He went all the way around and when he stopped he didn't take a deep breath and was happy. That's a really good sign."
Since his remarkable last-to-first victory in the March 25 Dubai World Cup Sponsored by Emirates Airline (G1)— what was his fourth consecutive grade/group 1 win— Arrogate has struggled to find his world-beater stride. His runner-up effort in the Pacific Classic at Del Mar was an improvement over his disinterested fourth-place run in the TVG San Diego Handicap (G2) July 22. After getting light on Baffert following his latest run, the 4-year-old gray colt has picked up his weight and appeared in better condition overall, according to his Hall of Fame conditioner.
"I can tell there is more power there," Baffert said. "He is getting his weight back. He's happy and he looks happy."
Arrogate is slated to train up to the Nov. 4 Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) at Del Mar where he could be among multiple contenders representing the Baffert barn in the 1 1/4-mile test. Collected also continues to progress well toward that spot and West Coast signaled his readiness to take on elders with his handy victory in the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) this past weekend.
"He (Arrogate) is pointed to (the Classic) as long as I 100% feel great about it," Baffert said. "The way he looks today, he looks really good. He looks good for it. Collected is doing really well also and West Coast came out of his race really good. It's still a long ways to go though, so we don't get too ahead of ourselves."
Baffert added he would bypass the Sept. 30 Zenyatta Stakes (G1) with grade 1 winner Vale Dori, choosing instead to train the daughter of Asiatic Boy up to the Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1). Vale Dori won her first four starts this season, all in graded stakes, but is coming off a pair of narrow runner-up finishes to champion Stellar Wind in both the June 3 Beholder Mile Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita and July 30 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (G1) at Del Mar.
"We're going to pass (on the Zenyatta). She was just pretty tired after Del Mar, those races were hard on her," Baffert said. "That energy is just not there."