Extraordinary upset of Arrogate costs backers millions
So much in life can change in a minute and even more in about a minute and 42 seconds. That's how long it took for superstar racehorse Arrogate to erase his potential Hall of Fame reputation last Saturday and remind all horse bettors again why we call it gambling.
Locating a Bridge to Jump
While Saratoga retains the legendary status as the "graveyard of favorites", no greater favorite will ever be remembered for laying an egg or digging his grave than Arrogate at ol" Del Mar in the San Diego Handicap. And laying an egg is a gross understatement. Think of this as Lebron or Michael Jordan not scoring in a Game 7. Or to make it topical, the President going to sleep without a few last word Tweets after suffering a bad day. It's just impossible.
Then again, tell that to the thousands of loyal bettors still stunned in disbelief after dropping almost $3 million on Arrogate in collective betting pools. Unofficially, the largest one-horse racing dump of all-time.
Here's how the Win/Place/Show payoffs looked from the 9th Race at Del Mar on July 22nd before we proceed any further:
Accelerate 17.60 32.60 22.00
Donworth 119.80 67.40
Cat Burglar 38.20
Also Rans: Arrogate, El Huerfano
Anyone with simply a minimum amount of familiarity with mutual returns is saying WOW!! We'll never remember the winning payoff, but our eyes are popping looking at those "place and show" returns. That can only happen when you have one horse with a whopping $800K out of $830K in the entire pool bet on it to place (finish first OR second).
Even more unthinkable, $1. 3M out $1.4M was bet to show (first, second OR third). Many sizable bets in the $25,000 or more range for large bettors or "wise guys" counting their guaranteed 5% return in less than 2 minutes time. Hence, the popularized racetrack term "bridge-jumpers". Or bettors considering the desperation alternative should the unimaginable happen.
After all, how could it be possible to not collect a show wager here? By this being simply a tune-up race for Arrogate before the upcoming Pacific Classic at Del Mar and then a likely curtain call in the Breeder's Cup before we compare him to Secretariat, Man o' War, etc. This was a nothing field after beating the best horses in the world in his last few races. And lastly, this was a FIVE horse field. He only had to beat two horses!! Only the shark was more in doubt to lose against Michael Phelps.
Explaining why Horse Bettors are Dumbest
No, I am not passing judgement here. As my money also got swirled down the collective drain on Arrogate last Saturday, along with thousands of others. Although thankfully, I vowed several years ago to never make huge show wagers thinking that nice, rewarding amounts at modest 5% rates for a minute's work are a guaranteed privilege. That's why they call it GAMBLING and no different than "investing" in financial markets. But that's for another long-winded discussion. The bottom line sir is R-I-S-K.
Along with confused trainer Bob Baffert, my head is still shaking of what happened? Did Arrogate have a fight with his girlfriend that morning? Make an inside bet with the other four horses? Maybe secretly has decided he doesn't want fame and fortune. We'll only know that when he runs next in the Pacific Classic at Del Mar in late August.
What I do know is that $344,000 out of $430,000 in the pools was bet on Arrogate to WIN on Saturday, making him the minimum 1-9 favorite. Had he won he would have paid $2.10 to win and this is how the official win/place/show payoffs would have looked like:
Arrogate 2.10 2.10 2.10
My question professor is this: Why would anyone put $1 or $10,000 to WIN on Arrogate when receiving the exact same payoff for SHOW should he run first, second or third? I get it why the wise guys are searching for the bridge burning up that $1.3M in the show pools. But what were stupid horse players thinking betting over a million dollars to win and place? They had to know this was the case. Imagine getting the Giants +3, +4 or +6.5 and you had your choice. This wagering situation happens occasionally at the racetrack, but never more clearly obvious than last Saturday.
Maybe that was the reason he took the afternoon off. Arrogate wanted to prove that horses are indeed smarter than humans.
"Doing an Arrogate"
When the 2017 horse racing calendar concludes I am betting this specific race will be known as the most memorable of the year. The blah Triple Crown including the Kentucky Derby will be long forgotten and only two strong wins including a Breeder's Cup Classic will somewhat save Arrogate's reputation. However, Saturday's very expensive flop will be remembered forever as anything can happen, there are no guarantees, sure things, stone-cold locks or similar gambling BS you will hear daily this football season from handicappers.
Therefore, I am inventing a new phrase or expression as in "doing an Arrogate."
For example, Brady "did an Arrogate", getting intercepted by the Jets four times in a 45-10 loss in New England. Golden State "did an Arrogate" and went out in the first round of the NBA playoffs. And the shark did an Arrogate and lost to Michael Phelps. You get the idea.
Glenn Greene covers the games from a betting angle every week exclusively at OSGA.com. For weekly betting insights, inlcuding previews and picks from Glenn, click here.