Gun Runner prevailed in a spirited battle with Collected and pulled away down the stretch to win the Breeders' Cup Classic on Saturday at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club race track in Del Mar, California.
The win was Gun Runner's fourth in a row and his sixth in the past seven races. It also marked his first head-to-head victory over Arrogate after failing to beat him in two previous attempts.
Trained by Steve Asmussen, Gun Runner beat a pair of Bob Baffert-trained horses in Collected and West Coast, who finished second and third, respectively.
Here is a look at the full finishing order, along with payouts for the top three horses:
1. Gun Runner (Win: $6.80, Place: $4.40, Show: $3.20)
2. Collected (Place: $5.60, Show: $4.00)
3. West Coast: (Show: $3.60)
4. War Story
9. War Decree
11. Win The Space
The Breeders' Cup Twitter account posted the following video of the race, which saw Gun Runner near the front from wire to wire, while Arrogate struggled to make headway:
Breeders' Cup @BreedersCup
REPLAY: Watch Gun Runner win the $6M Breeders’ Cup Classic in spectacular fashion!! #BC17 https://t.co/WwjJ8w0AlL2017-11-5 00:54:30
Arrogate made some passes down the stretch to finish a respectable fifth, but he was never in the mix to win.
As seen in the following video from At The Races, jockey Mike Smith was clearly disappointed with the way things unfolded for Arrogate:
At The Races @AtTheRaces
A great career, but a disappointing end for Arrogate - jockey Mike Smith is "lost for words" after the @BreedersCup Classic: https://t.co/jo9UIVMgdS2017-11-5 00:56:53
Arrogate won last year's Classic as part of a seven-race winning streak, but he struggled with fourth- and second-place finishes in the San Diego Handicap and Pacific Classic leading up to the Breeders'.
Baffert said the following about Arrogate in what was his final race, per At The Races: "It's really disappointing to see Arrogate go out like that; we know how great he is. He's given us the biggest thrills in racing."
Tim Layden of Sports Illustrated was among those to bid Arrogate adieu:
Tim Layden @SITimLayden
It’s tough to watch a great racehorse struggle at the end. Vaya con dios Arrogate.2017-11-5 00:58:53
Although much of the focus will continue to be on Arrogate and his less-than-inspiring exit from the sport, Gun Runner unquestionably established himself as the top horse with Saturday's performance.
According to Jeremy Balan of Blood-Horse, no other horse looked capable of challenging Gun Runner in the race:
Jeremy Balan @BH_JBalan
Gun Runner just made some damn-good horses look like a bunch of plodders behind him.2017-11-5 00:51:58
Gun Runner and Arrogate entered the race as co-favorites, but former MLB catcher and current handicapper Paul Lo Duca suggested that Gun Runner proved what was already known:
Paul Lo Duca @paulloduca16
Well the best horse ALL year proved it today. By far the best. Congrats. #GunRunner #Classic2017-11-5 00:52:01
The odds were very much stacked in Baffert's favor Saturday with four quality horses running in Arrogate, Collected, West Coast and Mubtaahij.
While three of them finished in the top five, Baffert was denied what would have been his fourth consecutive Breeders' Cup Classic win.
Instead, Asmussen won the second Classic of his career, and jockey Florent Geroux won his first.