Champion Arrogate Dies at 7

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Champion and $17 million earner Arrogate, shown winning the 2016 Pegasus World Cup Invitational, has died at age 7. (Eclipse Sportswire)

Juddmonte Farms confirmed June 2 that its champion and four-time Grade 1 winner Arrogate was euthanized that morning, following a battle to save him after an illness that began last week. It is still unclear what the illness was and a post-mortem is currently being carried out. 

The 7-year-old son of Unbridled’s Song, who was purchased as a yearling at the Keeneland September sale by Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farms for $560,000 from breeder Clearsky Farms, had one of the most spectacular racing careers of this century. He emerged after three wins in California with a track record-setting score in the Travers Stakes in August 2016 and then followed that with a rousing win over 2014 and eventual 2016 Horse of the Year California Chrome in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Under trainer Bob Baffert’s guidance, Arrogate tallied two more stakes wins in 2017, besting California Chrome again in the inaugural Pegasus World Cup Invitational – setting another track record – and pulling off an incredible victory in the Dubai World Cup Sponsored by Emirates Airline where he overcame a poor start to win by 2 ¼ lengths. He was retired that fall with 7 wins from 11 starts and over $17.4 million in earnings, and was honored as champion 3-year-old colt of 2016 at the Eclipse Awards.

"We will never forget the ride Arrogate took us on," said Juddmonte general manager Garrett O'Rourke. "Those four amazing races established him as one of the great racehorses of our time, breaking two track records, taking down champion California Chrome in a battle for the ages, and then running by Gun Runner  in another worldly performance in Dubai. We hope that the heartbreak of losing him so young can be soothed by proudly watching the achievement of his runners."

Arrogate had a very successful breeding season this year until last week when his breeding was suspended due to an initial suspected sore neck, according to the farm. Later in the week, he fell to the ground in his stall and efforts to get him back up proved unsuccessful. He was transported to the Hagyard Clinic under the care of Dr. Bob Hunt and Dr. Nathan Slovis with Dr. Steve Reed representing the insurance company.

The staff at Hagyard Clinic worked to eliminate all the obvious causes and performing all available tests, including spinal tap evaluation, X-ray, ultrasound, CT scan, and many blood tests.

Unfortunately, Arrogate was still unable to stand after four exhausting days for him. His will to fight, so valuable to him on the racetrack, became a challenge in his care. When serious secondary health issues set in, the decision was made to put him to sleep.

"This is very hard on everyone at Juddmonte, most especially on Steve Dotsey, stallion manager, and Jorge Chavarria, who cared for Arrogate daily and who had such a great rapport with him," said Douglas Erskine Crum, CEO for Juddmonte Group. "It was a bold decision to ask Bob Baffert to purchase and train top dirt horses for Prince Khalid and, assisted by Donato Lanni, the selection of Arrogate was one of the success stories of the decade on the racetrack."

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