August 17, 2010

Drawing a Million

I just attended my first post position draw for Arlington Million Day. No bells and whistles this year, just about 30 of us in the racing office, as the fields for the three biggest races in Chicago racing were quickly drawn. The whole event took barely more time than it will take to run all three races on Saturday. Without further adieu, here are the fields, with some early thoughts:

The Secretariat Stakes (Grade 1) $400,000 Guaranteed

1 Paddy O’Prado K. Desormeaux 1-1
2 Mister Marti Gras E. Perez 10-1
3 Cherokee Lord J. Felix 30-1
4 Wigmore Hall (IRE) J. Spencer 5-1
5 Dean’s Kitten J. Leparoux 8-1
6 Two Notch Road M. Baze 12-1
7 Workin For Hops F. Torres 5-2

I have long heralded Paddy O’Prado as the heir apparent to America’s turf throne, but I fully expect him to have his hands full with the local horse, Workin For Hops. These are two top horses, and are certainly the best sophomore turfers east of the Mississippi. It should be an excellent matchup between the two, and I am hard pressed to find anyone that might upset their 1-2 finish in the Secretariat. Mister Marti Gras might be the horse to complete my trifecta.

The Beverly D. (Grade 1) $750,000 Guaranteed

1 Pachattack K. Fallon 8-1
2 Hot Cha Cha J. Graham 6-1
3 Acoma J. Castanon 8-1
4 Gypsy’s Warning (SAF) W. Buick 10-1
5 Rainbow View J. Leparoux 4-1
6 Éclair De Lune J. Alvarado 5-1
7 Biased G. Benoist 20-1
8 Romacaca M. Baze 20-1
9 Treat Gently K. Desormeaux 9-2
10 Ave R. Dominguez 5-1

Talk about a wide-open affair, the 2010 Beverly D. looks like a race where just about anyone can win. The favorites, whomever that may turn out to be, are beatable, and the longshots look live. It reminds me of the Kentucky Derby, where the likely favorite should not be much lower than 5-1. Whoever I decide on as my top choice, I have a lot of handicapping still to do, should be a mare with some solid odds. Good luck on this one folks.

The Arlington Million XXVIII (Grade 1) $1,00,000 Guaranteed

1 Marsh Side C. Nakatani 12-1
2 Debussy (IRE) W. Buick 12-1
3 General Quarters J. Graham 8-1
4 Just As Well J. Leparoux 5-1
5 Quite A Handful T. Riggs 30-1
6 Gio Ponti R. Dominguez 7-5
7 Rahystrada I. Karlsson 10-1
8 Tajaweed M. Baze 15-1
9 Tazeez R. Hills 6-1
10 Summit Surge K. Fallon 10-1

All eyes, including mine, will be on defending champion Gio Ponti, who will be favored to become the first ever back-to-back winner of the Million. Consistently among America’s best on the grass in each of his four seasons of racing, it is hard not to like the Christophe Clement trained horse. I think his main challenge this year will come from the Euros, notably Tazeez and Summit Surge, who both sport solid form coming in. My early longshot play is Tajaweed who had a tough trip in last month’s Arlington Handicap.


Chief said...

If he is anywhere near as good as he was last year, Gio Ponti will repeat.

Brian Zipse said...

I think Gio will have to run well to win, but he usually does. Being the first horse to win consecutive runnings of the Million would be a feather in his cap and move him closer to the Hall of Fame.

Anonymous said...

ok,let me see what the spirit discern for chicago also lie paddy and deans kittenyhsts dat....ohh eclair de lune should win2.........da million will go to marsh side and cory nakatani......i need rain.....lots and lots of precipitation between now and then.......please

Brian Zipse said...

Interesting picks ... McAnally may have Eclair ready to peak. As far as the course, it looks like it will be firm course right now.

Jonathan said...

I can't get too up on our Euros. Debussy was my pet 4/4 LH 10F turf until well beaten last time. He's not fresh which seems to be his need and I wonder if he's come for the Lasix. Beating a young Midday is no longer relevant.

Tazeez is Stotsfold on this year's early form and Gio beat that.

One facet which I do not know how to analyze (US spelling!) on the track is the two Gosden horses have front run and maybe could play games.

Summit Surge is arguably unexposed over 10F after stepping up last time to beat Debussy but 2nd Bushman was murdered over CD today by Gr1 horses. His first start for years at the trip. Cumani does improve others cast offs but Cima de Triomphe did not step up last year. Still he'd be the one who I would most be looking for a PMU rick on.

I'll be hoping for a nice European price about Gio Ponti as my main staking plan.

Brian Zipse said...

Jonathan, I agree on Summit Surge. His last at York was a strong race, but there were no Gio Ponti's in there. Tazeez interests me a little more than you, as I see his race against Byword and Twice Over to be top class. He may be the horse to catch the final 1/4 mile.

Beverly said...


Brian Zipse said...

A true fan ... Good luck Beverly!

Jonathan said...

That Byword Ascot race is odd. The horses in it before hand on last year's form looked strong. I guess I should up rate it higher after it damn near came within a 100n yds of a one two today.

Indeed there were a couple at Ascot (Debussy and Glass Harmonium) I was looking to step up well beaten. It sure looks impressive based on 2009 form! with Cavalryman (better today in 4th well clear of Stimulation but still well behind Byword), Shalanaya, Presvis, Mawatheeq and Allybar (bt Previs on Tapeta winter) behind them.

Arguably Tazeez and Stimulation were able to set slow fractions and hang on for places but accept that may be a deterministic view.

Any running style favored by Arlington? Any of the US horses likely to set a pace?

Brian Zipse said...

Today's race was outstanding, have not seen Rip look that good in a while.

No, there is not a lot of speed in the Million, Debussy and Tazeez should be right up there, with Marsh Side. Possibly General Quarters and Quite a Handful as well. The pace should be moderate.

Anonymous said...

I think this years fields are weak and Shark Gesture could beat em all.
I'm just looking forward to seeing Michele Yu.....swing baby swing

LDP said...

Treat Gently looked very nice in her last start, and I'm not about to jump ship on Gio or Paddy. I can't wait for when those two finally get to meet on the track.

Jonathan said...

Be interested how the US stewards would react if Gosden does a Ballydoyle have Tazeez kick off a slow pace with Debussy as a blocker wide....

Thanks for the heads up on race. On ascot with it's uphill finish I can see Tazeez could have it fall his way.

UK odds 7/4 Gio at present.