The racing world waits with bated breath for the decision from Team Arrogate on where the champion will race next. Will it be the Santa Anita Handicap (Big Cap) on March 11, or the Dubai World Cup on March 25? Personally, I think the decision should not be that difficult.
I've seen numerous fans talk about hoping that the Juddmonte Farms superstar stays in the U.S. and runs in Southern California in a few weeks. While, I get it, I disagree.
***Editor's Note - It was announced today (2/27) that Arrogate is bound for the Dubai World Cup.***
There was a time when there wasn't much bigger than winning the Big Cap. Those days have passed; at least for now. The height of popularity for the 1 1/4 race came before the Breeders' Cup, Dubai World Cup, and even the Pegasus World Cup. These days, the Grade 1 race seems to be just one of many Grade 1 races on the calendar. Moreover, it's position on the calendar puts it at a distinct disadvantage.
With America's best older horses pointing for November, and now January, a big race in March is just not the best spot. Perhaps it can catch a strong performer from the Pegasus World Cup, or two, but if you are good enough to win that one, why wouldn't you look to the Dubai World Cup next?
With America's preferred surface of dirt once again the thing for the DWC, it is all that more inviting for our best to make the trip. Racing is now more than ever a global game, and as proven last year by California Chrome, horses can successfully return from Dubai and have excellent seasons back in the States.
As an American racing fan, I would love to see our best run at the big race in Meydan. A 'defend America's honor' type of thing, where I will root for the home team to come home with the win, and obviously, with Arrogate in the race, we have a great opportunity to do just that.
By the way, if Arrogate, campaigned by global owners, does go to Dubai, it makes the Big Cap a much more interesting affair. Led by horses like Midnight Storm, Shaman Ghost, and Mor Spirit, it should be a very competitive edition. If Arrogate stays stateside, you will be looking at 1-5 or less. And Arrogate's trainer would still have a real chance for victory. Different ownership, yes, but even if he sent both Arrogate and Hoppertunity to Dubai, Bob Baffert could take the Big Cap with Mor Spirit.
One last thought, which maybe should have been first ... The 2017 Dubai World Cup is worth $10 million, while the Big Cap comes in at $750,000. I ask you ... which one would you choose if you owned Arrogate?