Saturday, August 8, 2009

Einstein and Gio Ponti Headline Deep Field In Arlington Million

Arlington Park

A trio of Grade I races on the turf with the usual international participation along with several ungraded stakes are on tap for Arlington Million Day at Arlington Park in suburban Chicago on Saturday.

First up is the $400,000 Grade I Secretariat Stakes at 1 1/4 miles on the turf for 4 year olds.

Horses To Watch for the Secretariat

Going for fourth straight win after winning the American Derby over this course in his last. Posted a sharp work earlier this month at Keeneland and his pace stalking style fits well here. Julian Leparoux has been aboard for those three straight wins for Rusty Arnold.

Take The Points
He posted the top Beyer in this field (109) while finishing a close third in the VA Derby last out on a course rated good. Finished a close fourth in the Colonial Turf Cup prior to that. Has yet to win against graded stakes company but may be ready for a big race today. Kent Desormeaux rides for Todd Pletcher.

Black Bear Island
He has not handled Group I company in Europe but did win a Group 2 at York in May. All of his races have been on courses rated good to yielding which may be the case today. He is the lone entry on the day for top trainer Aidan O'Brien who has brought his first call rider Johnny Murtagh along to ride.

Giant Oak
He ran fifth to Reb in the American Derby but took down the Arlington Classic over this course in May. He held his own against the Triple Crown contenders in the spring prior to moving to the lawn and has been working well for this but his Beyers are a bit below the top contenders. Eusebio Razo Jr. rides for Chris Block.

Next up is the $750,000 Grade I Beverly D. at 1 3/16 miles on the turf for fillies and mares three years old and up.

Horses To Watch for the Beverly D.

Pure Clan
Has won or been close against Grade I company in Kentucky and California and won the Modesty over this course on Million Preview day. If the win in the Modesty indicates a return to 2008 form, she is a contender. Julian Leparoux rides for Robert Holthus.

Black Mamba
Won the Grade II Beverly Hills at Hollywood in her last and has a Grade I win to her credit in 2008. She is always close at the end. Garret Gomez rides for John Saddler.

Won the Grade I Flower Bowl last fall and has been close against Grade III company in her only two 2009 starts. Has been working well for this and could be ready to run big today in third start of the year. Bill Mott has named his go to rider, Kent Desormeaux to ride.

Has not faced Group 1 company but has won or been close against Group 2 and 3 company in Europe. Seems to be the best of the Europeans in here and may be ready after winning the Group 3 Prix Messidor in France in her last. C. Soumillon rides for Alian Dupre.

Finally, we have the $1 Million Grade I Arlington Million at 1 1/4 miles over the turf for three year olds and up. This is the 28th renewal of the world's first million dollar race and who could ever forget the first Million won by the legendary John Henry in a head bob over The Bart in a race that no matter how many times we have seen this replay over the years still looks like a dead heat.

Horses To Watch for the Arlington Million

Named by me in May as the top American horse in training after winning the Big Cap at Santa Anita and the Turf Classic by a hard fought head at Churchill Downs on Derby Day. Ran third in the Steven Foster after traffic trouble in his last and we will see today whether his will to win can overcome the likes of Gio Ponti. Julian Leparoux rides for Helen Pitts.

Gio Ponti
He is going for his fourth straight Grade I win after taking down the top two turf races at the Belmont spring meet. He seems to be the "now" horse and many out there are calling him the best turf horse in America right now. Ramon Dominguez rides for Christophe Clement and this combo has clicked at 27% in 2009.

Gloria De Campeao
Globe trotting runner won the Group 1 Singapore Airlines International in Singapore in his last and ran second to Well Armed in the Dubai World Cup prior to that. Has switched barns since and has been off for two months but has proven he fits well here. Tiago Pereira rides for P. Bary.

Mr. Sidney
He has three wins over yielding courses and his chances improve if the expected weather is a factor today. He won the Grade II Firecracker at Churchill Downs in his last and the Grade I Makers Mark Mile at Keeneland this spring. Posted a bullet work at Saratoga earlier this week and is 5 for 7 lifetime on the lawn. Kent Desormeaux rides for Bill Mott.

Presious Passion
Wired the field in the Grade I United Nations at Monmouth Park in his last and has posted 5 straight 100+ Beyers. Has handled wet and firm courses and will be flying early today. Elvis Trujillo rides for Mary Hartman.