Arrogate's first of three scheduled Del Mar appearances turned into a bummer for the richest thoroughbred in North American racing history Saturday in Southern California.
Accelerate, leading most of the way, won the Grade 2 $300,000 San Diego Handicap by 8 1/2 lengths while Arrogate staggered home fourth, 15 1/2 lengths behind the winner and immediately behind stablemate Cat Burglar.
Accelerate, a 4-year-old son of champion Lookin At Lucky trained by John Sadler, went off at 7-1 and paid $17.60 to win. Clocking the mile and sixteenth in 1:42.15 with Victor Espinoza aboard and carrying 117 pounds, 9 less than Arrogate, Accelerate inherited the lead after El Huerfano, the projected pacesetter, stumbled at the start.
"I was surprised by how far I won. I wasn't surprised that I did; I was here to win," said Espinoza. "He got in a nice rhythm; he was going easy. He's a nice horse."
With Arrogate finishing out of the money at 1-20 odds, place and show payoffs virtually rocked the toteboard. Accelerate paid $32.60 to place and $22 to show while Donworth, second at 24-1, broke Del Mar payoff records at $119.80 to place and $67.40 to show. Cat Burglar's show price was $38.20.
"You want to win, you don't want to concede anything, but I'm surprised we won because Arrogate is the best horse in the world," said Sadler. "A couple of things went right for us and one of them was that Arrogate didn't fire his best. That's what has to happen for these big upsets."
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert repeatedly used the word "flat" to describe Arrogate's performance in his first start since winning the $10 million Dubai World Cup in late March.
"I think he just laid an egg," Baffert said. "The other horse (Cat Burglar) was flat, too."
Accelerate finished a neck ahead of Arrogate when second to Westbrook in an April 17, 2016, maiden race at Los Alamitos Race Course. Arrogate then won seven races consecutively and more than $17 million, setting a mile-and-quarter track record in the Grade 1 Travers at Saratoga and beating two-time Horse of the Year California Chrome in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Classic and inaugural Pegasus World Cup Invitational. Despite missing all three Triple Crown races, the Unbridled's Song colt was named male 3-year-old champion.
Early plans called for Arrogate to return in the Pacific Classic Aug. 19 before a title defense in the Breeders' Cup Classic in early November, both at Del Mar over a mile and a quarter.
"We've got to go back and start over again," said Mike Smith, Arrogate's Hall of Fame jockey. "Get it back right."Sports on 07/24/2017
Print Headline: Accelerate speeds away in Del Mar upset