Champion Arrogate dies at age 7

Written By Kimberly French on June 2, 2020

Juddmonte Farms’ champion racehorse and potentially talented stallion Arrogate was euthanized June 2 after a weeklong war with an unknown neurological condition that appeared to impact his neck.

Towards the end of his third season in the breeding shed, Juddmonte Farms stated Arrogate would no longer be breeding mares roughly a week ago due to a neck problem. Now 7, the son of Unbridled’s Song collapsed in his stall and he was unable to reach his feet even with help. Juddmonte then transported the Arrogate to the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington, Ky. where Dr. Bob Hunt and Nr. Nation Slovis in conjunction with Dr. Steve Reed, who represented the insurance company, cared for him.

The staff at Hagyard Equine Medical Insitute worked meticulously to not only discover what was ailing the horse, but to rule out other options. Arrogate had a spinal tap, was X-rayed, ultasounded, had a CT scan and numerous blood tests. Unable to reach his feet for the four days he was under veterinary care, secondary health conditions revealed themselves and the decision was made to euthanize him.
With a stud fee of $50,000 this breeding season, Arrogate possesses the most earnings of any North American racehorse in the history of the sport as he banked $17,422,600 in his brief career. Bred in Kentucky by Clearsky Farms, the rangy roan stallion was produced by the multiple-stakes victress Bubbler, who is by Distored Humor. Arrogate was purchased by bloodstock agent Donato Lanni for Juddmonte’s owner Prince Khalid Abdullah for $560,000 at the 2014 Keenland September Yearling Sale.

Brief but Brilliant Career

Slow to develop due to his imposing size, Arrogate did not compete until his sophomore season but swiftly and convincingly burst onto the scene. He collected an Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old colt after collecting five consecutive triumphs including the Grade I Travers Stakes, in which he dominated by 13-1/2 lengths and became the only horse to win that 1-1/4 mile contest in under two minutes. He ended his brief but brilliant 3-year-old campaign with an epic score over 2016 Horse of the Year California Chrome in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Arrogate returned the races in 2017 by captured the first edition of the $12 million Grade I Pegasus World Cup Invitational in track record time. His next engagement was an improbable score in the $10 million Grade I Dubai World Cup Sponsored by Emirates Airlines. Arrogate was last and passed the entire field to hit the wire in front leaving 2017 Horse of the Year Gun Runner in his wake. The stallion retired with a record of 7-1-1 from 11 trips to the gate.

“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.”


His conditioner, Bob Baffert and his wife, Jill, were understandably shaken by the news.

“That horse was one of the greatest horses I ever trained,” he said. “His race in the Dubai World Cup will go down as the greatest performance of any horse I’ve trained. What he did in the Travers and what he did in the Breeders’ Cup, running down the great California Chrome, and then he destroyed the field in the Pegasus and ran past Gun Runner in Dubai from last like it was nothing. I’ll never have another horse put together four magical races like that.

“He would come back (from a race) and never take a deep breath. He came back at Dubai and wasn’t tired or blowing, nothing. He must have a heart like Secretariat. No other horse could have won that race (in Dubai). You read stories about Spectacular Bid—he was like that, pure greatness.”

Arrogates first crop of weanlings went through the sales ring last fall at the Fasiq-Tipton November Sale and the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale. They averaged $311,250 with the highest bid for his offspring at $425,000.
His first yearlings are scheduled for the sales this spring and will undoubtedly be in high demand.

Kimberly French Avatar
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Kimberly French

Kimberly French is an award winning freelance journalist specializing in horse racing and horse health living in Louisville, KY. Her work has appeared in more than 25 national and international publications. She is currently the editor of Hoof Beats magazine, the official publication of the U.S. Trotting Association and the special assistant to the president for the Association of Racing Commissioners International.

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