Juddmonte Farms’ Arrogate ($5.40) ran down odds-on favorite California Chrome in deep stretch to win the 33rd running of the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) for 3-year-olds and up by a half-length Saturday afternoon before a Santa Anita Breeders’ Cup record crowd of 72,811.
The previous Santa Anita record was set in 1986, the first time the track hosted the event, of 69,155. Santa Anita has hosted the Breeders’ Cup nine times.
Trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Mike Smith, Arrogate covered the mile and a quarter on a fast main track in 2:00.11. It was the fifth consecutive victory for Arrogate, a 3-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Unbridled’s Song.
It was the fifth Breeders’ Cup victory for Juddmonte and first in the Classic.
The victory gave Baffert a third consecutive triumph in the Classic, an unprecedented achievement at the World Championships. Now a winner of 14 Breeders’ Cup races, Baffert won the 2014 Classic with Bayern and last year’s running with Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.
Smith, who won three races this weekend to boost his World Championships total to a record 25, won the Classic for the fourth time. Smith’s other Classic wins came on Skip Away in 1997, Zenyatta in 2009 and Drosselmeyer in 2011.
California Chrome, ridden by Victor Espinoza, took the lead out of the gate and raced on an unchallenged lead through fractions of 23 1/5, 47 and 1:10 4/5. Smith had Arrogate in the clear outside of horses on the run down the backside and began moving at the leaders on the far turn.
On the turn, Arrogate cut to the inside of Melatonin, who had been tracking California Chrome, and then shifted to the outside to take dead aim at California Chrome.
California Chrome still maintained a daylight advantage in the upper stretch, but Arrogate closed steadily to pull away late.