Figuring out the most remarkable element of Arklow’s career takes you on a trip around America’s racetracks in search of the freakish, most bizarre factoid you can find. So, it makes perfect sense that Arklow is one of the favorites for Saturday’s Grade 1 United Nations Stakes at Monmouth Park.
The United Nations is the Grade 1 supporting player on Monmouth Park’s 14-race Haskell Stakes Day card. Its older horses take a 1 3/8-mile trek around Monmouth Park’s turf course.
It’s a trek Arklow is well-versed in making. Before we get into what makes Arklow, Arklow, he finished fourth in this race last year as the 13/10 favorite. After that, trainer Brad Cox put blinkers on the horse. The result: three victories in four races.
“He’s really moved forward since we’ve added the blinkers,” Cox told Monmouth Park. “His only defeat came in the Breeders’ Cup (Turf, where he finished sixth). The blinkers seem to have picked his head up and are keeping him in the race mentally. I’ve always said I hate to put blinkers on a horse that’s made a couple of million dollars, but once we did it, he turned the corner.”
Arklow won a graded stakes every year since 2017
That “couple of million dollars” is a great place to start breaking down Arklow’s career. He’s earned $2,750,746, to be exact. That, courtesy of nine victories and 18 in-the-money finishes in 32 career races.
Then, there are those victories. The 7-year-old son of Arch captured a graded stakes title each of the past five years. That’s at least one graded stakes each year dating to 2017 – Arklow’s sophomore season. His first Grade 1 came two years ago at Belmont Park, in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic. Arklow extended the streak in his only 2021 outing, the Grade 3 Louisville Stakes at Churchill Downs in May.
“I think it’s a pedigree thing,” Cox said. “He’s an Arch. He felt like a horse that would always improve with age.”
Arklow can be a stallion
Before you ask about the age thing and why Arklow still runs, he’s a horse. Unlike many of his older racing counterparts, Arklow isn’t a gelding. Cox attributed Arklow’s longevity to a couple of factors, including the time off he and Arklow’s ownership group give the horse.
After Arklow won the Grade 2 Hollywood Turf Club Stakes at Del Mar last November, Cox gave him six months off before the Louisville. The result: a length victory over Red Knight in a deep field and a 117 Equibase Speed Figure.
The second reason comes from Blake Cox, Brad’s son and assistant trainer, who is overseeing the Cox contingent at Monmouth Park this weekend. Blake Cox answered the question as to why Arklow hasn’t joined the stallion ranks.
“We see all the signs that he still loves to do it,” Blake Cox said. “He does so much after the wire and it’s the way he does it. He’s a mile-and-a-half horse and he’s a grinder. He picks up every pole, and you can’t even pull him up. It’s crazy. He tells you when he’s ready.”
The United Nations is a perfect race for Arklow
So, with Arklow, you have a grass grinder with five graded stakes victories dating back to 2017 and more than $2.7 million in the bank. You have a 7-year-old, non-gelded runner who entered starting gates at 12 of America’s best-known tracks.
You have a 7-year-old horse who’s run everywhere from Santa Anita and Del Mar in the West, to Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, and Gulfstream Park in the East. In between, Arklow raced at Arlington Park, Churchill Downs, Keeneland, Kentucky Downs, Ellis Park, Fair Grounds, and Saratoga.
A race called the United Nations? Literally a trot in the park after that career.
“You don’t see horses like this one anymore,” Blake Cox said. “He handles everything thrown his way. He’s a tough horse, no question.”