Well this isn’t going to go over well. Thanks in large part to his pair of early wins in the season, Arrogate has been named the 2017 World’s Best Racehorse presented by Longines. Though the now five-year-old never won following his vaunted beginnings in the Pegasus World Cup and the Dubai World Cup, the committee that resides over this award saw fit to honor Arrogate for the second time in a row.
Major discrepancy arises due to the remainder of Arrogate’s campaign. He finished 4th in the San Diego Handicap and 2nd in the Pacific Classic before falling well behind in the Breeders’ Cup Classic where he ended his career in 5th place. This isn’t to suggest that he isn’t one of the best of his generation, but the 2017 World’s Best Racehorse is a big stretch for a horse who lost by over 22 lengths in his final three races. It’s astonishing that Arrogate beat out the horse that throttled him in the Classic.
Gun Runner, despite an electric summer and fall, finished third in the rankings with Cracksman. The British runner finished 3rd in the 2017 Epsom Derby (which is akin to the Kentucky Derby on the other side of the Atlantic) but then went on to end his year 3-2-1 with three straight wins in the Champion Stakes, Prix Niel and Great Voltigeur Stakes.
Winx, the iconic Australian mare who is undefeated in her last 22 starts, finished second in the 2017 World’s Best Racehorse standings. She started nine times last season and won all of her challenges in convincing fashion with year end wins in the Cox Plate, Turnbull Stakes and George Main Stakes.
Bob Baffert, who trained Arrogate and 2015 World’s Best Racehorse award winner American Pharoah, has now won the prestigious honor three years in a row.
It’s not that any of these horses are bad, but some are just clearly better than others. Wins in the Dubai World Cup should not supersede undefeated seasons of high caliber nor wins later in the year. Arrogate’s poor showing through the latter half of the season didn’t factor in the way it should have because losses aren’t weighed the same as major victories, and nobody really knew how to rate the Pegasus World Cup in the 2017 World’s Best Racehorse standings.
A questionable decision to be sure.
2017 World’s Best Racehorse by Longines Rankings
- Arrogate 134
- Winx 130
- Gun Runner 130
- Cracksman 130
- Enable 128
- Ulysses 126