Arklow, a 6-year-old veteran who made over $2.5 million coming into Friday's $200,000 race, is no stranger to shipping. He has now won 8 races at seven different tracks from 31 career starts.
The son or Arch has won two of three races since adding blinkers. His lone loss during that time came while running sixth in the Breeders' Cup Turf on Nov. 7.
Arklow's Breeders' Cup performance was one of the only subpar efforts from a Cox runner in this year's Breeders' Cup. Cox tied a record with four wins in racing's marquee event.
Arklow snapped back to his best form with class relief in the 1 1/2-miles test. The ground-saving ride he received under Rosario certainly helped.
Acclimate made the early lead, going 49.64 for the opening half. Arklow sat in fourth against the rail in the early stages, but Rosario quickly seized an opening to position his runner in second behind the speedy Acclimate.
After saving every inch of ground, Rosario angled Arklow out turning for home to get first run on the closers.
“He broke well and we got a good spot," Rosario said. "I stepped on the brakes a little bit because I was comfortable where we were. I saved ground with him, then moved up a little bit outside. I could tell we were going slow so I felt OK being closer with him. He was running good.
"When we turned for home, I knew he was a fighter and I knew he’s be tough to beat. He finished strong. He’s a good horse.”
Arklow finished in a final time of 2:26.31 to set a new stakes record and paid $5.80 to win as the slight favorite.
“It kind of worked out the way we had drawn it up," said Blake Cox, son and assistant trainer for Brad Cox. "Joel was able to get a real good stalking position and then finish strong. What’s next will be up to Jerry Crawford and Donegal Racing, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Pegasus World Cup Turf is on the radar. ”