Arrogate – the fastest North American thoroughbred since…

January 29th 2017

Arrogate won his 6th consecutive race yesterday in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational in dominating fashion. Mike Smith admitted that he coasted him home in the final 100 yards. Now the next question is, who is going to be able to beat him in 2017? Nobody in my opinion.

In his last three starts, Arrogate has produced Beyer Speed Figures of 122 in the Travers Stakes, 120 in the Breeders’ Cup Classic and 119 in the Pegasus World Cup. He just turned 4 years-old and thoroughbreds typically peak around 4 1/2 years-old.

Arrogate is undeniably fast, the #1 ranked horse in the world by Longines and he confirmed that yesterday. Out of curiosity, this led me to research the fastest thoroughbreds of the last 20 years to see how Arrogates rates with some of the best from this time frame.

Well, Arrogate is arguably faster than American Pharoah. He proved that in the Travers Stakes by setting an event and track record of 1:59.36. American Pharoah got upset by Keen Ice in the 2015 Travers. Both horses received Beyer Speed Figures of 120 in their Breeders’ Cup Classic races. American Pharoah’s previous best Beyer Speed Figure before the Classic was 109 in the Haskell Invitational. And then 105 in the Belmont Stakes before the Haskell.

You could argue that American Pharoah was never pressed in his Breeders’ Cup Classic run like Arrogate was with California Chrome and thus could have produced a faster time and higher Beyer Speed Figure (BSF).  And that he was on an upward plain and would have accomplished much more as a 4 year-old. I agree. However, he never produced two 120+ Beyer Speed Figures or matched Arrogates times at the 9 and 10 furlong distances.

So what North American Thoroughbred is Arrogate the fastest since? Answer: Ghostzapper and it isn’t real close. But note that Ghostzapper accomplished most of his eye-popping Beyer Speed Figures and times as a 4 year-old. Here is what Ghostzapper produced in 2004 as a 4-year-old:

Tom Fool Handicap – 7 Furlongs – 7/04/2004 – Time of 1:20.42 and BSF of 120
Philip H. Iselin Handicap – 9 Furlongs – 8/21/2004 – Time of 1:47.66 and BSF of 128
Woodward Stakes – 9 Furlongs – 9/11/2004 – Time of 1:46.38 and BSF of 114
Breeders’ Cup Classic – 10 Furlongs – 10/30/2004 – Time of 1:59.02 and BSF of 124

So it will be interesting to see what Arrogate accomplishes as a 4 year-old in 2017. It is unbelievable to think, that this horse who seemingly came out of nowhere, already ranks 3rd all-time in career earnings. He is just $3.66 million in race winnings behind California Chrome and should surpass him this year if he stays healthy. 


On the docket…

My next blog will be updated 2017 Kentucky Derby Contender Rankings. And I have a new rising 3 year-old star that I feel you need to keep a close eye on. I hope to have this blog out by next Friday evening at the latest and if time permits, race previews of the Holy Bull Stakes and the San Antonio Handicap. The Holy Bull Stakes is expected to include three of my top 10 Derby contenders in Classic Empire, Three Rules, Gunnevera. Expected entries in the San Antonio Handicap are Melatonin, Hoppertunity, Dalmore, Mor Spirit and Accelerate.

–Michael

The Greatest American Thoroughbreds of the 21st Century

Below is my list of the greatest American Thoroughbreds of the 21st Century. I ranked the top two and the rest are listed in alphabetical order.

1. American Pharoah – The very first Grand Slam winner and only the 12th Triple Crown winner. American Pharoah would rank 3rd all-time on my greatest thoroughbred list behind Secretariat and Man O’War.

Career: 11 Starts 9-1-0-0, Win Pct: 81.8%, Top 3 Pct: 90.9%
Biggest Wins: 2015 Arkansas Derby, 2015 Kentucky Derby, 2015 Preakness Stakes, 2015 Belmont Stakes, 2015 Haskell Invitational, 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 120
Awards: American Champion 2 Year Old Male, 12th Triple Crown Champion, 1st Grand Slam Champion
Career Earnings: $8,650,300

2. Zenyatta  The Queen of Thoroughbreds, she won 19 out of 20 races and won the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic against the boys. Her only loss was by a head to Blame in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic. Zenyatta is definitely one of the Top 25 horses of all-time.

Career: 20 Starts 19-1-0-0. Win Pct: 95%, Top 3 Pct: 100%
Biggest Wins: 2008 Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic, 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic
Awards: American Champion Older Female Horse (2008, 2009, 2010), American Horse of the Year (2010)
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 112
Career Earnings: $7,304,580

Here are ten more great horses of the 21st Century in alphabetical order:

California Chrome – The 2014 Horse of the Year, he will race in 2016 to see if he can add to his resume and legacy.

Career: 18 Starts 9-3-1-1, Win Pct: 50%, Top 3 Pct: 72.2%
Biggest Wins: 2014, Santa Anita Derby, 2014 Kentucky Derby, 2014 Preakness Stakes
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 113
Awards: American Champion 3 Year Old Male (2014), American Horse of the Year (2014)
Career Earnings: $6,322,650

Curlin – A two-time Horse of the Year winner, he earned $10.5 Million dollars over his career–the most ever for a North American horse.

Career: 16 Starts 11-2-2-1, Win Pct: 68.8%, Top 3 Pct: 93.8%
Biggest Wins: 2007 Arkansas Derby, 2007 Preakness Stakes, 2007 & 2008 Jockey Club Gold Cup, 2007 Breeders’ Cup Classic, 2008 Stephen Foster Handicap, 2008 Dubai World Cup
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 119
Awards: American Champion 3 Year Old Male (2007), American Horse of the Year (2007, 2008), World’s Top Ranked Horse (2008), National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame (2014)
Career Earnings: $10,501,800

Ghostzapper – One of the fastest horses of all-time. He recorded four Beyer Speed Figures that were 120 or greater. His career best Beyer of 128 is the fastest ever recorded in two-turn races. He still holds the track record for the Breeders’ Cup Classic at 1:59.02. He has to be one of the top 50 thoroughbreds of all-time based upon his speed figures.

Career: 11 Starts 9-0-1-1, Win Pct: 81.8%, Top 3 Pct: 90.9%
Biggest Wins: 2004 Breeders’ Cup Classic, 2005 Metropolitan Handicap
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 128
Awards: American Champion Older Male (2004), American Horse of the Year (2004), World’s Top Ranked Horse (2004), National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame (2012)
Career Earnings: $3,446,120

Invasor – The Argentinian-bred horse was a Uruguayan Triple Crown winner before racing in the US. He won all five races in his North American race career.

Career: 12 Starts 11-0-0-1, Win Pct: 91.7%, Top 3 Pct: 91.7%
Biggest Wins: 2006 Whitney Handicap, 2006 Breeders’ Cup Classic, 2007 Dubai World Cup
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 116
Awards: 2006 American Horse of the Year, 2006 American Champion Older Male, World’s Top Ranked Horse (2006), National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame (2013)
Career Earnings: $7,804,070

Point Given  The only horse other than American Pharoah to have won four $1 Million dollar races in a row when he won the Preakness Stakes, the Belmont Stakes, the Haskell Invitational and the Travers Stakes in 2007. And he was the first to accomplish this feat. OK, point taken.

Career: 13 Starts 9-3-0-0, Win Pct: 69.2%, Top 3 Pct: 92.3%
Biggest Wins: 2001 Santa Anita Derby, 2001 Preakness Stakes, 2001 Belmont Stakes, 2001 Haskell Invitational, 2001 Travers Stakes
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 117
Awards: American Champion 3 Year Old Male (2001), American Horse of the Year (2001), National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame (2010)
Career Earnings: $3,968,500

Rachel Alexandra – The 2nd best filly in the 21st Century after Zenyatta. With her 2009 Preakness Stakes win, she became one of only eleven fillies to have ever won a Triple Crown race.

Career: 19 Starts 13-5-0-0, Win Pct: 68.4%,  Top 3 Pct:  94.7%
Biggest Wins: 2009 Kentucky Oaks, 2009 Preakness Stakes, 2009 Haskell Invitational, 2009 Woodward Stakes
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 116
Awards: American Champion 3 Year Old Filly (2009), American Horse of the Year (2009)
Career Earnings: $3,506,730

Shared Belief – His career was cut short by his untimely death due to colic and various injuries. Had he been healthy, I strongly believe that he would have been a Triple Crown contender in 2014. He had the top Beyer Speed Figure for a 2 Year Old in 2013 (105) and as a 3 Year Old in 2014 (111). To me, it is a no-brainer that he should win the 2015 Older Male Horse award.

Career: 12 Starts 10-0-0-1, Win Pct: 83.3%, Top 3 Pct: 83.3%
Biggest Wins: 2014 Pacific Classic, 2015 Santa Anita Handicap
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 115
Awards: American Champion 2 Year Old Male (2013)
Career Earnings: $2,932,200

Smarty Jones – His Triple Crown pursuit came up short by one length to Birdstone in the 2004 Belmont Stakes. He finished 1st or 2nd in 9 career starts–near perfection. A very underrated horse, definitely Horse of the Year caliber but he lost out to Ghostzapper and didn’t run after the Belmont.

Career: 9 Starts 8-1-0-0, Win Pct: 88.9%,  Top 3 Pct: 100%
Biggest Wins: 2004 Arkansas Derby, 2004 Kentucky Derby, 2004 Preakness Stakes
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 118
Awards: American Champion 3 Year Old Male (2004)
Career Earnings: $7,613,155

Tiznow  The only horse to have won the Breeders’ Cup Classic twice. It will be a long time before this feat is accomplished again.

Career: 15 Starts 8-4-2-0, Win Pct: 53.3%, Top 3 Pct: 93.3%
Biggest Wins: Breeders’ Cup Classic (2000, 2001), 2001 Santa Anita Handicap
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 119
Awards: American Champion 3 Year Old Male (2000), American Horse of the Year (2000), American Champion Older Male (2001), National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame (2009)
Career Earnings: $6,427,830

Wise Dan – The two-time American Horse of the Year winner was primarily a turf horse but he did win the 2011 Clark Handicap on dirt as well as a couple of races on synthetic surfaces.

Career: 31 Starts 23-2-0-3, Win Pct: 74.2%,  Top 3 Pct:  80.6%
Biggest Wins: 2010 Breeders’ Cup Sprint, 2012 Breeders’ Cup Mile, 2012 Shadwell Turf Mile, 2013 Breeders’ Cup Mile, 2014 Shadwell Turf Mile
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 117
Awards: American Champion Older Male (2012, 013), American Champion Older Turf Male (2012, 2013), American Horse of the Year (2012,2013)
Career Earnings: $7,552,920

In addition to these horses, keep an eye on Beholder, Songbird and Nyquist.

If you feel that I have missed somebody, leave a comment

–Michael