Whether Arrogate could beat American Pharoah at 10 furlongs on their best days is like asking how Secretariat would have fared against Man ‘o War in their primes. While the former matchup is possible, it is not going to happen because 5-year-old American Pharoah is not going back into training.
Another debatable issue is this: If Arrogate wins the Dubai World Cup in March 2017 will he have achieved a feat more difficult than American Pharoah completing the American Triple Crown? The view here is that the answer is “yes.”
Arrogate won the Breeders’ Cup Classic on November 4, 2016 in California at 1 ¼ miles and subsequently traveled across country and two time zones to Florida to win the Pegasus World Cup Invitational on January 28, 2017 at 9 furlongs. If he contests and wins the Dubai World Cup at 10 furlongs on March 25, 2017, he will have traveled another eight thousand miles plus and run in a time zone 12 hours different than in his home base in California.
In addition, the winner of the unofficial World Cup triumvirate must compete against the best dirt specialists in training anywhere in the world, whereas the winner of the American Triple Crown has to take on mostly U. S.-based 3-year-olds. Winning the American Triple Crown is certainly an arduous task over five weeks, but it requires limited travel and the three races all take place in the Eastern time zone.
A final provocative question that is likely to be answered in time: Will American Pharoah or Arrogate prove to be a better sire? The guess here is that Arrogate will be because he is manifestly in the same class as American Pharoah as a racehorse and has a much stronger female side to his pedigree. Whereas American Pharoah’s dam was unplaced in two starts, Arrogate’s dam won six races in nine starts and over $200,000 and his champion 2-year-old and Grade I stakes-winning granddam (Meadow Star) won close to $1.5 million in the early 1990s in 11 wins from 20 starts. Moreover, Arrogate’s 4 X 4 inbreeding to Mr. Prospector is compelling.
If the Pegasus World Cup Invitational becomes an annual success, the combination of the Breeders’ Cup, the Pegasus World Cup Invitational, and the Dubai World Cup could be coordinated to form an official World Cup Triple Crown or Grand Slam that would entice owners of outstanding 3-year-old dirt horses to keep them in training as older horses. Winning the three races would net the owner about $16 million and owners of well-placed but non-winning horses would also have the opportunity to substantially cash in.
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