Irish War Cry Wins the Wood Memorial

Irish War Cry had a decisive win on Saturday, bouncing back after a disappointing seventh place finish in the GII Xpressbet Fountain of Youth S. at Gulfstream Mar. 4.

But the real comeback story here was jockey, Rajiv Maragh.

Maragh, 31, returned to the saddle Nov. 4 following a serious spill at Belmont Park in July 2015. The accident left him with several broken vertebrae, a broken rib, and a punctured lung, and required extensive and often painful rehabilitation.

“When I was down and out, these are the days I dreamed about,” said Maragh, who also guided home 2014 GI Wood Memorial hero Wicked Strong. “These are the days that made me feel I wanted to ride. You never know if you’ll get them again after being off so long. I can’t be more thankful for everyone who has been there for my recovery and supporting me now that I’m back. I’ve never been so emotional after a race in my life as I was after this.”

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Arrogate Wins the Dubai World Cup

Wow. Arrogate can really run. And Mike Smith showed his immense skill today in the $10 Million Dubai World Cup.

Arrogate broke so slowly from the gate that one commentator said it was, “like he was going out for a walk in the country.” The stallion was then bumped hard, leaving him trailing the 14 horse field. How did he manage to win by 2 1/2 lengths?  It was a testament to Mike Smith’s skillful riding and Arrogate’s  heart and incredible speed.

Smith explained what happened at the start after the race.

In the United States, Arrogate is used to having an assistant starter in the gate with him. This was the first time he had to break on his own. And basically, he didn’t.

“I don’t know if the (assistant starter) misunderstood me, but I said make sure you keep his head straight. And then he got out instead,” Smith said. “My horse just didn’t realize he had to break. But you know what? Things happen for a reason.”

The Paulick Report

California Chrome’s Last Ride

California Chrome has retired after his run in the First Annual Pegasus World Cup, held January 28th at Gulfstream Park. Chrome came into the race looking a bit off, and finished ninth. His knee looked swollen after the race, but subsequent x-rays show that there’s no damage. California Chrome retires as the highest-earning thoroughbred in North American history, having amassed $14,752,650 in winnings. Time for him to enjoy life at Taylor Made.

On the plus side, Arrogate again showed his blistering speed. After winning the 2016 Breeders Cup, the 4-year old ran a smoking race in the $12 Million Pegasus, finishing more than three lengths ahead of the field.

California Chrome and Arrogate
The two champions must have been comparing notes on the way home! Maybe Chrome was passing the mantle?

American Pharoah rings in the new year with his first foal

American Pharoah Foal
American Pharoah’s first foal was born at 12:30 a.m. on January 3rd.

The first of American Pharoah’s foals, a colt, was born early this morning at the Seitz family’s Brookdale Farm in Versailles, KY. The colt’s dam is Kakadu is a 4-year-old by Tizway and a half-sister to multiple graded stakes winner Protonico.

The timing of the birth was ideal: since all racehorses “age up” the first of the year, it’s a real advantage for a racehorse to be born as close to January 1st as possible, putting them at the older end of their racing age. A couple of months can make a big difference to a two or three year old.

This cute little colt is already reported to have quite the personality.

“A lot of foals are kind of skiddish for the first couple of weeks,” Fred Seitz said. “They don’t really want to be touched or handled, and they try to run behind their mother all the time. This one’s the opposite. You walk into his stall … and the foal just basically walks right up to you and starts sucking on your thumb.”

This little guy is going to be the first of many. According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, American Pharoah bred with more than 200 mares in 115 days. His stud fee, for a live foal, was $200,000.

American Pharoah's first foal.