01/26/2017 1:56PM

Juddmonte Farms ready to cap outstanding week

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Barbara D. Livingston
A victory by Arrogate in the Pegasus on Saturday would top off a great week for Juddmonte Farms.

Juddmonte Farms manager Garrett O’Rourke could have been forgiven for looking a little tired last Saturday night at Gulfstream Park. He hiked from his seat to the stage to accept Eclipse Award statues on three separate occasions, as Juddmonte was honored as outstanding owner on the strength of diverse runners Arrogate (3-year-old male) and Flintshire (turf male), who won their divisional championships.

O’Rourke hopes to make one more walk Saturday at Gulfstream – from his seat to the winner’s circle after Arrogate starts in the inaugural $12 million Pegasus World Cup. A victory would cap a massive week for Prince Khalid bin Abdullah’s global operation: Arrogate was also honored as the Longines World’s Best Racehorse at a ceremony in London.

“Everyone on the farm works so hard and with such pride for all things Juddmonte,” O’Rourke said while accepting the operation’s third outstanding owner Eclipse, following trophies from 1992 and 2003. The farm was also honored as outstanding breeder in 1995, 2001-03, and 2009.

O’Rourke went on to acknowledge that Thoroughbred ownership is “a very huge risk, and the hardships far outweigh the awards. All owners that endure share a common passion with Juddmonte’s owner, Prince Khalid Abdullah, but I do know firsthand that none has more passion.”

Arrogate and Flintshire represented two different routes in the pursuit of that passion for Abdullah. British-born Flintshire is a product of Juddmonte’s vaunted homebred program, by Grade 1 winner Dansili, who stands at its Banstead Manor Stud in Newmarket, England. Dansili is out of Juddmonte’s great mare Hasili, the dam of champions Banks Hill, Intercontinental, and Champs Elysees as well as additional Grade 1 winners Cacique and Heat Haze.

The globetrotting Flintshire won Grade/Group 1 races in the U.S., France, and Hong Kong and competed with distinction in England and Dubai. He retired as Juddmonte’s all-time leading earner, with a bankroll of $9,589,910.

“He’s one of the soundest, classiest, and most explosive horses Prince Khalid has raced,” O’Rourke said.

“Explosive” also describes Arrogate, who burst onto the scene with a Travers Stakes victory by 13 1/2 lengths in a track-record time of 1:59.36 for 1 1/4 miles, then electrified the racing world by running down California Chrome in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, setting up a highly anticipated rematch in the Pegasus.

The colt was part of Juddmonte’s decision to reestablish itself on the West Coast and the subsequent decision to purchase horses who would fit trainer Bob Baffert’s program. Arrogate was selected for this purpose out of the 2014 Keeneland September yearling sale.

“Buying a small number of quality yearlings annually, it’s just like investing in high-risk stock,” O’Rourke said. “You probably know the odds are stacked against you, but you calculate the risk because you dream of a big payoff.”