DEL MAR, Calif. — There’s a new king in horse racing and it’s Gun Runner.
The 4-year-old colt won the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic by 2 1/4 lengths Saturday, sending rival Arrogate to a third straight career-ending defeat at Del Mar.
Gun Runner ran 1 1/4 miles in 2:01.29 and paid $6.80, $4.40 and $3.20.
Collected returned $5.60 and $4, while West Coast was another 1 1/4 lengths back in third and paid $3.60.
Arrogate finished in a dead heat for fifth with Gunnevera, done in once again at the seaside track north of San Diego. It was the scene of two losses during the summer.
“He just doesn’t seem to get ahold of this racetrack, for whatever reason,” jockey Mike Smith said. “I hate to blame it on the track, but he’s shown it time and time again. I keep trying to talk myself into it, that he’s going to like it one day, but he just never did.”
Arrogate hasn’t been the same horse since his dominant wins in the $12 million Pegasus World Cup and the $10 million Dubai World Cup earlier this year that made him the sport’s richest thoroughbred with over $17 million in earnings.
The Dubai race was the last time Gun Runner lost. Since then, he’s emerged stronger than ever with four consecutive victories.
Arrogate was a slight 2-1 favorite over Gun Runner, with $1,420,233 bet on Arrogate to win — $132,416 more than on Gun Runner.
Bob Baffert saddled a record four horses in pursuit of a record fourth straight win in the Classic. He finished 2/3 with Collected and West Coast, and was left to puzzle over another disappointing showing by Arrogate. His other horse, Mubtaahij, was eighth.
Arrogate broke a step slow and banged his left side on the starting gate.
“At the break when he ducked in and he had to gather him up, you just can’t do that against these horses,” Baffert said. “But I notice when he goes around these turns he loses momentum. I can’t really totally blame it on the track. He’s so much better than that.”
War Story was fourth, followed by Arrogate and Gunnevera, Churchill, Mubtaahij, War Decree, Pavel and Win the Space.