ARCADIA, Calif. — Arrogate overhauled 4-5 favorite California Chrome in the final 100 yards to win the $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic on Saturday. It was California Chrome's first loss in seven starts this year.
California Chrome and jockey Victor Espinoza led most of the 11/4-mile race at Santa Anita Park, with Melatonin second, and Arrogate and Mike Smith loping along in third place.
"I was cruising on the lead," Espinoza said. "(California Chrome) was doing it so easy, so comfortable. Maybe I should have opened it up a little bit early."
Around the final turn, Arrogate took up the chase, with Smith first whipping the 3-year-old colt left-handed, then right through the stretch as they gained on California Chrome, the 2014 Horse of the Year who won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness that year.
"I gave him a few reminders left-handed," Smith said. "Then I went back right to surprise him. When I did that, he gave me another jump. That is what got us on by."
Arrogate caught California Chrome in the closing yards to win by a half-length, giving Smith his third Cup win of the weekend and record 25th of his career. Trainer Bob Baffert earned his record third consecutive Classic win. Arrogate finished in 2:00.11 and paid $5.40, $2.80 and $2.60.
California Chrome returned $2 and $2.40. Keen Ice was another 103/4 lengths back in third.
"You saw two champions run," said Art Sherman, California Chrome's 79-year-old trainer. "What can I say? We got outrun on the fair. No excuses. He ran his eyeballs out."
That wasn't the only upset as horse racing's world championships concluded its two-day schedule.
Smith also pulled one in the $1 million Filly & Mare Sprint with 8-1 shot Finest City, a 4-year-old filly who won by three-quarters of a length over defending champion Wavell Avenue. And in the $1.5 million Sprint, Baffert's Drefong, the 7-2 third choice, won by 11/4 lengths over Masochistic, the 8-5 favorite ridden by Smith.
Also, Tourist was the 12-1 winner of the $2 million Mile on turf, holding off last season's champion grass mare Tepin by a half-length. In the $2 million Juvenile Fillies, Champagne Room, sent off at 30-1 odds, won by three-quarters of a length over Valadorna, while 4-1 favorite American Gal was another 31/4 lengths back in third. Frankie Dettori guided Queen's Trust to a nose victory over 8-5 favorite Lady Eli in the $2 million Filly & Mare Turf. Highland Reel won the $4 million Turf by 13/4 lengths over 9-5 favorite Flintshire,
The rare favorite to win was Obviously, who at 7-2 edged Om by a nose in the $1 million Turf Sprint to win his first Cup race in five tries at age 8.
Classic Empire won the $2 million Juvenile by a neck, making him the winter favorite for next year's Kentucky Derby.