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The Original Arrogate - 1956 at Del Mar
For the record, Arrogate 2017 is not the first Arrogate to stir things up in a major way at the picturesque track by the sea.
On September 3, 1956, Labor Day, legendary jockey John Longden booted home a horse named Arrogate in the Del Mar Handicap. It was career victory No. 4,871 for Longden, making him the winningest rider of all time, surpassing Sir Gordon Richards of England.
It was a grand moment in the career of Longden, who had ridden for 30 years at that time and was dealing with arthritis in his shoulders, elbows and knees. It also was a memorable moment in the history of Del Mar, especially when coupled with one 14 years later. On September 7, 1970, another Labor Day, Bill Shoemaker rode a filly named Dares J to career victory No. 6,033, surpassing Longden on the all-time wins list. Longden was there to greet “The Shoe” in the winner’s circle.
But we digress. Back to Arrogate.
The original Arrogate was a foal of 1951, a son of Goya II out of the Stimulus mare Hug Again. He was bred by the storied Calumet Farm in Kentucky, racing under the Calumet colors for the first 2 ½ years of his career. Then he was acquired by Mr. and Mrs. Dick Griegorian for whom he competed for the next 4 ½ years and was trained by Reggie Cornell.
A chestnut colt, unlike his gray latter-day namesake, original Arrogate campaigned for seven years, 1953-59, won 20 races from 83 starts and finished in-the-money another 22 times. His career earnings of $226,545, factoring in inflation, would translate to more than $2 million in 2017 dollars. Not current-day Arrogate kind of money, but certainly not bad.
Original Arrogate’s best years were 1955, 1956 and 1958 when his annual earnings totals were $64,800, $60,540 and $25,900, respectively. Arrogate won three stakes in both 1955 and 1956, accounting for six of his nine career stakes triumphs. He won three stakes at Del Mar, the 1955 Escondido Optional Claiming Handicap and the 1955 and 1956 Del Mar Handicap.
In the 1955 ‘Cap, Arrogate established good position soon after the start from the No. 6 post in a field of nine, right behind front-running Bobby Brocato. Longden had his horse well in hand to the second turn, then subjected Arrogate to what the official chart called “vigorous handling in the drive” to edge Bobby Brocato and jockey George Taniguchi by a nose.
The time, 1:47 2/5, equaled the track record.
The race favorite, coupled in the betting with seventh-place finisher Turk’s Delight, Arrogate paid $5.20 $2.60 and $2.30.
Arrogate drew the No. 2 post position for the 1956 Handicap and tracked from fourth in a field of nine for the first six furlongs of the 1 1/8-mile race. The charts point out that Longden had Arrogate well in hand while saving ground through three quarters. Then “moved up thereafter on the outside, wore down Poona II approaching the final eighth and stalled off Honey’s Alibi to make his rider the new jockey champion of the world.”