The names of Nyquist, Exaggerator, and Creator were in the glare of the sports-media spotlight less than a half year ago, but are now mostly yesterday’s forgotten news. These winners of the 2016 Triple Crown races were absent from November’s Breeders’ Cup and won’t be found running in any race. All have been retired and a new sheriff is in town.
Today’s media star, Arrogate, winner of the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic, did not make his first career start until April 17, 2016, two weeks prior to the Kentucky Derby. His second race and first winning effort came at about the same time as the Belmont Stakes in early June.
A cursory review of the entrants in all of the 2016 Breeders’ Cup races turned up approximately eight horses that had competed in the Kentucky Derby during their 3-year-old campaigns. The Breeders’ Cup Classic included four horses that ran in the Kentucky Derby: California Chrome in 2014 and Frosted, Keen Ice, and War Story from the 2015 Kentucky Derby. Not a single colt from this year’s Triple Crown races made it into the Breeders’ Cup Classic. In fact, Arrogate was the only 3-year-old in the field.
While the Triple Crown races unquestionably comprise American horse racing’s annual showcase, the equine participants in these venerable races often call to mind Shakespeare’s immortal passage from MacBeth: “Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and is heard no more.”
Owners and trainers of gifted 3-year-old racehorses face the decision of whether to push their animals physically and seek the glory of a Triple Crown win or to be more patient and look to the longer term. Most opt for the allure of the Triple Crown, never mind the possibility of burn out. That is understandable but by no means the only way to go. Hall of Fame trainers like the late Allen Jerkins and Bobby Frankel never won the Kentucky Derby and Jerkins never seemed to put much effort into doing so.
Today, given the opportunity to own one horse from among Arrogate, Creator, Exaggerator, or Nyquist, the choice would be evident. In June, only five months ago, the puzzled query would have been “Who is Arrogate?”
Copyright© 2016 Horse Racing Business