Arrogate’s the rightful World’s Best Racehorse; now what?

Arrogate’s the rightful World’s Best Racehorse; now what?
Photo: Douglas DeFelice/Eclipse Sportswire
There has already been considerable backlash surrounding Tuesday’s announcement that made Arrogate, winner of the 2017 Pegasus and Dubai World Cups, the Longines World’s Best Racehorse.
Sure, Arrogate never won another race after his herculean effort going last to first in the Dubai World Cup. But credit the committee. According to the award’s criteria, the Bob Baffert trainee was a clear winner for the second straight year.
The rankings are based off a horse’s single most impressive performance, not his or her full body of work. Arrogate’s best effort was the Dubai World Cup, rated 134, best of any horse all year. It’s that simple.
That said, the controversy surrounding 2017’s award should bring some scrutiny upon it. Moving forward, I see only two courses of action for the committee.
The first would be to re-name the award to something that more accurately reflects the actual accomplishment — in this case, something like Longines World's Best Performance, instead of World’s Best Racehorse.
Going with this method would negate a need to re-evaluate how the winner is derived. There would also be less confusion to fans, because the name would more accurately fit the nature of the award.
The problem; however, is that Longines recently created a similar award, the World’s Best Race. This year, that category was awarded to the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, won by Europe’s Enable.
With that in mind, the only other move that makes sense would be to revamp how the winner is selected.
There are several ways Longines could re-work the system, but a common sense approach would be to pick the horse with the season’s best average rating in graded stakes company. This year, that would have likely placed the Australian mare Winx on top with prohibitive Horse of the Year Gun Runner second.
Obviously the final decision rests with the World’s Best Racehorse committee, and it is quite possible that they will choose to do nothing. If that’s the case, I hope both its members and sponsor Longines have developed a thick skin. The court of public opinion will never quit.

Meet Laura Pugh

Laura Pugh got her first taste of Thoroughbred racing when she watched War Emblem take the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2002. At that point, she fell in love with the sport, reading every piece of news and information she could get her fingertips on.

Laura has a long history with horses in general, taking her first ride on her fifth birthday, with her first official riding lesson when she was eight years old. Both years she attended college, she joined her school’s equestrian team, first at Virginia Intermont College and then again at Delaware State University. Unfortunately, after back and shoulder injuries, she had to hang up her saddle. 

In 2010, Laura began writing for Horse Racing Nation and has also contributed to Lady and the Track, TwinSpires and USRacing. She currently works at a local newspaper as a community reporter.

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