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Arrogate upsets California Chrome in the shadow of the wire  

     Young upstart Arrogate ran by California Chrome in the shadow of the wire Nov. 5 at Santa Anita Park, handing the 5-year-old runner his first defeat of 2016 in the $6 million Breeders` Cup Classic (gr. I) and answering the question an entire sport—even his Hall of Fame trainer—was asking.

"Deep down, I really wasn`t sure if we could beat California Chrome, because I still have total respect for the horse. He`s a great horse," Bob Baffert said. "Turning for home, I thought I was going to run second, but there`s nothing wrong with that, because Chrome is a really good horse, and running second to him is no bad thing ... I never thought he would be able to catch Chrome."

When Arrogate set his sights on the chestnut beast at the top of the lane—a force countless runners tried to run down this season to no avail—the colt`s record-setting Travers (gr. I) victory was proven no fluke. A lethal gray streak to California Chrome`s perfect season, 3-year-old Arrogate closed a 1 1/2-length gap with powerful strides, and blurred under the wire for a half-length score before a Santa Anita Breeders` Cup record crowd of 72,811. Watch Video

California Chrome, who went winging his way out on the front end under Victor Espinoza for all but the final strides of the 1 1/4-mile Classic, and Arrogate, facing elders for the first time under all-time leading Breeders` Cup rider Mike Smith, separated themselves 10 3/4 lengths from the rest of the field after Arrogate made his move from third and shifted outside for the drive. The final time was 2:00.11.

"This was incredible today," said Smith, who picked up his 25th Breeders` Cup win. "You just don`t see things like this from a young 3-year-old. He literally was prancing after the race was over. ... He`s so talented. He`s got amazing stamina. He doesn`t quit. He could have gone around again. He`s incredible."

California Chrome had no excuses after racing unchallenged through fractions of :23.28, :47.15, and 1:10.96 as the 4-5 favorite in a nine-horse field.

"I was all by myself in the front and thought I could save something for the end," said Espinoza, who still held the advantage through a 1:35.72 mile.

The 8-5 second choice behind California Chrome, Arrogate returned $5.40, $2.80, and $2.60. Back in the second tier, Keen Ice edged Baffert-trained Hoppertunity by a neck for third. The order of finish was completed by Melatonin, Frosted, Effinex, and War Story. Win the Space did not finish; he was eased but returned to the barn in fine order according to trainer George Papaprodromou, who said he "just inhaled too much dirt and stopped."

Three straight years now, Baffert has won the Classic with a 3-year-old. Triple Crown winner American Pharoah , whose Stall 33 on the Santa Anita backside is now Arrogate`s home, was the pinnacle after Bayern `s 2014 score—a race in which California Chrome ran third by a neck en route to Horse of the Year honors after taking the first two legs of the Triple Crown.

"All I can say is, Art Sherman has done an incredible job with California Chrome," Baffert remarked. "That`s why this place was packed today."

Baffert delivered a masterful training job of his own with Arrogate, bringing the son of Unbridled`s Song in ready to rumble off a 10-week layoff. Arrogate won the Aug. 27 Travers by 13 1/2 lengths, blazed the 1 1/4 miles in 1:59.36, and won a grade I in his first try against stakes company in just his fifth start. He has now won five in a row.

"To come back and sit on him for two months, it was something I used to do in the Quarter Horse business, and I wasn`t worried about it," said Baffert, who has now won 14 Breeders` Cup races overall.

The win was a first in the Breeders` Cup Classic and fifth Breeders` Cup victory overall for Prince Khalid Abdullah`s Juddmonte Farms, whose operation bolstered its West Coast presence after the death of Bobby Frankel by purchasing horses for Baffert to train. Bred in Kentucky by Clearsky Farms out of theDistorted Humor mare Bubbler and a $560,000 Keeneland September yearling sale purchase from the consignment of his breeder, Arrogate showed his promise early on for Baffert.

"I remember calling (Juddmonte manager) Garrett (O`Rourke) around October," the trainer recalled. "I said, `Garrett, I think I`ve found one that`s going to pay for all of them.` I said, `I think we`ve stumbled onto a really good horse.`

"He always showed run, but we never let him go in the mornings. We never let him run. He`s a big horse. He came around on his own."

Arrogate`s future, while bright, remains to be determined. His connections plan to race him next year, but which races remain to be seen. In the moments after the Classic, Sherman called for a rematch in the Jan. 28 Pegasus World Cup (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park, but Juddmonte does not own a spot. They could buy in to the 12-horse field if another ownership group was willing to sell a spot. Along those lines, California Chrome`s course is relatively set. Perhaps one race, perhaps not, and then a start in the inagural edition of the $12 million event.

"That winner is the real McCoy," Sherman said. "I knew he was the one we had to beat, but I didn`t know how good he was."


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Found leads home Arc one-two-three for O'Brien  

     Chantilly: Qatar Prix de l`Arc de Triomphe (Group 1) 1m4f, 3yo+

FOUND, so often the bridesmaid this season, enjoyed her finest hour as she led home an Aidan O`Brien-trained one-two-three in the Qatar Prix de l`Arc de Triomphe.

Runner-up in the Tattersalls Gold Cup, Coronation Cup, Prince of Wales`s, Yorkshire Oaks and Irish Champion Stakes on her last five starts, the 2014 Prix Marcel-Boussac winner got her head in front when it mattered most.

And she did it with style, bursting between horses under Ryan Moore to power clear of stablemate and King George winner Highland Reel, with Gold Cup hero Order Of St George claiming third. Siljan`s Saga was the first horse not sired by Galileo to cross the line in fourth.

Settled in midfield, off a far stronger pace than is sometimes the case in the Arc, Moore negotiated the perfect path round the inner on the long home bend, before angling out and threading the four-year-old filly through the narrowest of gaps between Order Of St George and Postponed. Once through the pair then flew past the fading pacesetter Vedevani as Found powered to her crowning glory.

Last year she finished second in four Group 1s, before turning over the Derby, Eclipse, Irish Champion and Arc hero Golden Horn in the Breeders` Cup Turf. This time she claimed Europe`s richest race for herself, at odds of 6-1, to take her tally of Group 1 victories to three and earn quotes of 6-4 with William Hill for the defence of her Breeders` Cup Turf crown.

For O`Brien it was a remarkable achievement. To saddle the first three home, from three runners, in Europe`s premier middle-distance race must rank among the finest achievements of an unparalleled career. It was also his 18th Group/Grade 1 winner on the Flat worldwide in 2016.

"It`s unbelievable," said O`Brien, who labelled it the greatest training feat of his illustrious career. "I can`t describe it. You couldn`t even dream of that. How could you say anything is higher than this? It is the most difficult race. For that to happen it is incredible. Ryan gave her a brilliant ride.

"I am so delighted for everyone. We were worried about the ground for Order Of St George but happy with the other two. It`s a massive team effort and I`m so privileged to be part of it and they were all by Galileo."

Part-owner Michael Tabor, in whose colours Found ran, said: "First, second and third in the Arc is unbelievable. Words can`t describe it. This is the time of the year for Found so we knew we had a chance in the Arc."

Favourite Postponed, who had won his last six starts including four Group 1s, travelled well for Andrea Atzeni in a prominent position but failed to pick up in the straight, finishing fifth.

"That`s racing, we`ll take it on the chin," said trainer Roger Varian. "Andrea said he broke well but was trapped wide early on. He said he went into the big bend on the bottom on the wrong lead and took a while to switch on to the right lead. He didn`t pick up the way he usually can in the straight."

Dermot Weld`s dual Derby winner Harzand finished ninth, with Japan`s great hope Makahiki 14th having been trapped wide throughout.

Kevin Ryan`s The Grey Gatsby, who won the 2014 edition of the Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly, finished last and the trainer said: "That was very disappointing. He travelled good and was in a lovely position but it wasn`t his day. He just didn`t fire up the straight."


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Dartmouth delivers a royal win on final day  

     Hardwicke Stakes (Group 2) 1m4f, 4yo+

DARTMOUTH handed the Queen her first Royal Ascot victory since Estimate`s famous Gold Cup win of 2013.

The final horse to carry the royal colours at this year`s meeting, Dartmouth stayed strongly to the line and had to dig deep to deny Highland Reel by a head in a thrilling battle and land odds of 10-1.

The runner-up`s rider, Seamie Heffernan, will wonder what might have been had be not lost his whip late on aboard the 6-1 shot.

Almodovar, sent off at 9-1, put in a bold bid from the front under George Baker and deservedly held on for third.

The victory was not without some drama as the stewards held an inquiry into possible interference between the winner and Highland Reel, with Dartmouth having hung slightly to his right during the closing stages.

Familiar territory for Peslier

Olivier Peslier, deputising for Ryan Moore who chose to partner the unplaced favourite Exosphere over Dartmouth and Highland Reel, could have been forgiven for feeling a strong sense of deja-vu on Saturday.

When he stepped in to win aboard the son of Dubawi at Goodwood last year, he also had to survive a stewards inquiry that resulted in him being found to have breached careless riding rules.

A popular horse

The win was Sir Michael Stoute`s 75th overall at Royal Ascot, equalling the record of the great Sir Henry Cecil, while it was also an amazing tenth victory in the Hardwicke Stakes and his fourth for the Queen.

"Olivier corrected him very, very quickly and it didn`t affect the result," Stoute said of the incident that triggered the enquiry.

"It`s a great mark to reach [75 winners] but I hope it doesn`t stop there! He`s a lovely, quality horse and everybody in the yard is very fond of him."

`The Queen got such a thrill`

The Queen`s bloodstock advisor, John Warren, said of the success: "It`s been a long wait with a few little ups and downs but he`s a very smart horse.

"He`s never been in this company before so we weren`t sure what to expect but he did win his last two Group races.

"Michael is such a master at training horses just to their peak and it means a lot to the Queen. Michael had it firmly in mind that this would be the objective and he`s such a genuine horse.

"The Queen got such a thrill watching him stick his neck out."


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Twilight Son snatches Diamond Jubilee thriller  

     Diamond Jubilee Stakes (Group 1) 6f, 4yo+

TWILIGHT SON snatched a thrilling victory close home as four runners hit the line almost in unison, with Gold-Fun, Signs Of Blessing and Magical Memory close up in a frantic finish and Suedois right on their heels in fifth.
The Henry Candy-trained winner was a third success of the day for Ryan Moore, who was at his brilliant best with a strong and well-timed finish. This victory clinched the meeting`s top rider award for Moore as he finished the week on a high.

Twilight Son, sent off 7-2 third favourite, won by a neck from Hong Kong raider Gold-Fun (7-1), with long-time leader Signs Of Blessing (25-1) only a short head away.

Magical Memory, the 3-1 favourite, was a somewhat unlucky fourth, having been slowly away and still last going into the final furlong. He powered into contention under Frankie Dettori but his effort petered out in the final 100 yards.

Suedois was a close fifth, just a short head behind Magical Memory, as the last Group 1 of the meeting provided a tremendous final-day highlight.

Twilight Son cut for July Cup

Several of the principals are likely to meet again in the Darley July Cup next month and Paddy Power make Twilight Son 5-1 (from 9) for that Group 1 contest.

William Hill have Twilight Son as 5-1 favourite (from 8) with Magical Memory 6-1 and Limato and Quiet Reflection next on 10-1.

Twilight Son`s veteran trainer, enjoying his first Royal Ascot winner since 1979, said: "We`ve been close a few times and it`s marvellous to get the job done finally. I was looking at Frankie steaming up on the stands side and thinking he [Twilight Son] was probably going to be third, but our horse really dug deep and the jockey on top dug deep. He [Ryan Moore] is a top man."

Moore added: "I always felt that, when I was going to ask him, he was going to win. He travelled very strongly and the pace wasn`t strong enough for him. It would have been better if they`d gone quicker. He`s a very good colt and is getting more confident."

No excuses for Gold-Fun

Gold-Fun was flying at the finish and, although he could not quite get past Twilight Son, his trainer Richard Gibson was pleased his raider had shown his Hong Kong form on this big stage.

"We`ve come a long way and from a professional point of view you`re always pleased when your horse runs to his rating," he said. "It was tight and all credit to the winner, we`ve got no excuses. It was not quite our day but we`re very satisfied with second place."

British triumph in international field

Five countries were represented in the field of ten and French challenger Signs Of Blessing was soon at the head of affairs, followed by Australia`s Holler and Twilight Son. The Tin Man, 100-30 second favourite, was also prominent but he faded disappointingly, as did Holler.

Having set a steady pace, Signs Of Blessing stuck on well and it took all of Moore`s strength to drive Twilight Son into the lead close home. At that point it was clear that Magical Memory`s charge from the rear would fall short and the late challenge came from Gold-Fun, but it was not enough to deny Moore and Candy a famous victory.


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Qemah takes Coronation as Rouget strikes again  

     Coronation Stakes (Group 1) 1m, 3yo fillies

JEAN-CLAUDE ROUGET is starting to make the Coronation Stakes his own and one year on from his victory with Ervedya he triumphed again as Qemah gave jockey Gregory Benoist a first Royal Ascot winner.

Under a dashing ride, 6-1 shot Qemah came from well off the pace to take the £226,840 first prize by a length and three-quarters from Nemoralia but, as was the case with The Gurkha on Tuesday, Ryan Moore supporters were left thinking what might have been after Alice Springs flashed home for a fast-finishing third.

Qemah had turned into the home straight similarly far back but Benoist, the retained rider in France to winning owners Al Shaqab Racing, had taken a more prudent approach by racing wide and, unlike Alice Springs, enjoyed a clear run to what turned out to be Coronation glory.

"It`s amazing for me, it`s like a dream," said Benoist. "I can`t speak. There`s too much emotion."

Jet Setting downed

On her previous outing Qemah had finished third to stablemate La Cressonniere in the Poule d`Essai des Pouliches but this time nothing could stop her.

Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Jet Setting, bought on Monday by the China Horse Club for £1.3 million, attempted to make all the running but midway down the home straight the eventual sixth was in trouble.

By this point Alice Springs, who had been positioned near the rail by Moore, had already struggled to find room and even when angled deeper on the track she found the Jamie Spencer-ridden Ashadihan getting in her way.

She ran on strongly, as did Nemoralia, but Qemah was not for catching and scored for a prolific trainer who had also saddled the Coronation second in 2014.

`It`s the best racing in the world`

Rouget said: "For me to do this double in this race, it`s a childhood dream, but I hope to get some more wins here because it`s the best racing in the world.

"I was very confident after the French Guineas for this race because I prefer her with a turn. She was very nervous in Deauville but today she won easily."

Benoist added: "Before the race, we wanted to take a good position but the pace was a little bit fast for me so I took my time. Today, she had a really good finish and was really relaxed."

Al Shaqab racing manager Harry Herbert, whose boss Sheikh Joaan saw his colours carried to victory by Galileo Gold on the opening day of the meeting, said: "This is unbelievable - a second Group 1!

"She was unlucky in the French Guineas but today. She has settled better and I`m delighted for Sheikh Joaan and Gregory Benoist. It`s just another special moment. How spoiling is this?"

Pride in Nemoralia`s display

Nemoralia`s part-owner Charles Pigram said: "She`s run her heart out and I`m so proud of her. We`ve come second in a Group 1, that`s no travesty.

"If that was firm ground today she`d have won but Qemah is a good horse, I can`t take that away from her. We`ve beat a Guineas winner and she beat Minding. She will be amazing on her ground."

Jet Setting`s rider Shane Foley said: "She jumped and travelled but just didn`t pick up as well as she normally does. Maybe she`s coming in season?

"She had a tough race a the Curragh, so maybe it was that, but I don`t think it was the ground. She seemed to enjoy it, up to a point."


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