Unbeaten in six races, winner of the Dubai World Cup and the best racehorse in existence according to the respected Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings, it is understandable why California Chrome is favourite to add to his list of accomplishments with victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
He has certainly grown up this season since becoming a five-year-old and returning from a bruised foot which ruled him out of a large part of the 2015 campaign.
California Chrome has prevailed on dirt and grass, has won around the world and is more than happy blazing a trail from the front or tracking other pacesetters, making him uncomplicated to ride.
Having won the Kentucky Derby in his younger days and being on the cusp of a Dubai World Cup and Breeders’ Cup Classic double in the same season, a victory at Santa Anita will put him in elite company. He will be one of the most distinguished Classic winners ever.
The odds are 1/1 that California Chrome does win the Breeders’ Cup Classic and to some there is only one rival capable of beating him.
Arrogate comes next in the betting at 5/2 and is an unbeaten three-year-old, having triumphed on all three career starts to date.
It is the most recent that has really revved up excitement levels when winning the Group 1 Travers Stakes at Saratoga by over 13 lengths.
His winning time of 1:59.36 was the first time ever that a time quicker than 2:00.00 was run for a 1m2f race at Saratoga.
To add some context, California Chrome won the Dubai World Cup in 2:01.92, but did have to race three and even four horses wide for the most part having been drawn towards the outside.
It’s highly likely that Arrogate would have been on the Triple Crown trail had injury not kept him off the track earlier in the season and the horse has been prepared for this by Bob Baffert in a similar manner to the way in which American Pharoah arrived at Keeneland 12 months ago, when winning the Classic by over six lengths.
Key will be how jockey Mike Smith opts to run the race. At Saratoga, Arrogate had an ideal draw on the inside and stalked the lead in the early stages, before moving to the front just before the mid-point of the race and maintaining the gallop.
Every 2f was pretty much covered in around 24 seconds.
Smith will have the choice of whether to look to dictate and repel the challenge of California Chrome or sit on his shoulder for an extended period and attempt to hit the front entering the home straight.
Either way, the head-to-head clash promises to be the highlight of the entire Breeders’ Cup meeting.
Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing