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It’s Arrogate vs. ‘The World’

By Bob Ehalt

It’s called the Dubai World Cup and quite fittingly it will showcase the world’s best horse.

Juddmonte Farms’ Arrogate is the standout in a field of 14 that will assemble at Meydan Race Course in Dubai for the $10 million Dubai World Cup on Saturday. He’ll take aim at a fourth straight Grade 1 stakes win, attempting to extend a streak that started with the Travers and continued with the Breeders’ Cup Classic and the Pegasus World Cup.

The 4-year-old colt won those three races by a combined 18 ¾ lengths, twice beating two-time Horse of the Year California Chrome, to establish himself as a worthy successor to the superstar role filled by California Chrome and American Pharoah the last few years.

Now, after putting together an unprecedented winning streak, the son of Unbridled’s Song will take his show-stopping act on the road to face international competition in a race that was the world’s richest until the Pegasus was launched.

Trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, Arrogate has drilled sharply for Saturday’s test and seems poised for yet another sensational effort.

“This horse has been so good to me,” Baffert said, “and hopefully we will know after the race just how great he is.”

A prohibitive 1-3 favorite, Arrogate will take on five rivals from the United States, all of whom are the only entrants listed at lower than 30-1.

Heading that group is Gun Runner, who missed the Pegasus due to quarantine issues at Fair Grounds Racetrack.

A 4-year-old, Gun Runner (8-1) breezed to a 5 3/4-length victory in the Grade 3 Razorback Handicap in his lone 2017 start. A winner of the Grade 1 Clark last year, Gun Runner finished third in the Travers, 15 lengths behind the victorious Arrogate.

The other U.S. starters include Keen Ice (20-1), who was fourth in the Pegasus and defeated American Pharoah in the 2015 Travers, Neolithic (20-1), who was third in the Pegasus, Hoppertunity (15-1), winner of last year’s Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup, and Mubtaahij (8-1), who was fourth in the 2015 Belmont Stakes and finished second in a prep race in Meydan last month.

The leading candidates from overseas are Special Fighter and the Japanese duo of Awardee and Apollo Kentucky, all of whom are 30-1 in the morning line.

The field also includes Japan’s quirky Lani, whose zany antics provided a sideshow to his 2016 Triple Crown campaign in which he ran in all three classic and finished third in the Belmont Stakes.

With post time scheduled for 12:45 p.m. Eastern time, the mile and a quarter test will be televised on NBC. wagering on the Dubai World Cup begins with advance wagering on Friday.