Saturday is the 29th renewal of the Arlington Million. There are two hot favorites going to the post in the field of ten. The 2010 runner-up Gio Ponti is 2-1, but the favorite is 9-5 Cape Blanco, who turned away Gio Ponti and four others in the Grade 1 Man O'War at Belmont Park on July 9. If the weather forecast for Friday night into Saturday holds, however, the turf course could be soggy. That does not benefit Cape Blanco in the least, as his last two Group 1 races with soft going were out-of-the-money results. Here is the analysis:
I am going to make #9 Wigmore Hall the top choice in the Million on Saturday. He ran second over the Arlington strip last year to Paddy O'Prado in the Grade 1 Secretariat. He should like damp footing slightly better than Cape Blanco, which could work to his benefit. There are two Breeders' Cup Turf winners in the immediate lineage, as the Sire is High Chaparral and Theatrical is the Sire of the Dam (Love And Laughter). This gelding is 8-1 on the morning line. I will put #5 Gio Ponti second. While I think his best days are clearly behind him, the potential for off-going could help him out here. The troubling thing about Gio Ponti is that lately he has found a way to not get the job done. His two latest wins were in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile last October at Keeneland and the 2010 Man O'War were he barely beat the 2011 winner, Mission Approved. Christophe Clement is a genius when it comes to turf racing, though. If he gets an easy lead in here, which is entirely possible, #8 Mission Approved could go all the way in front, as he did on Belmont day on a wet turf track in the Grade 1 Manhattan. He tried to go all the way up top to repeat in the Man O'War this year, but fell short of pulling that off. His performance, I feel, will depend entirely upon whether or not he has anyone battling him for the early lead. #1 Rahystrada is very experienced over the Arlington turf with two wins in three tries on the Chicago grass. He scored a nifty win in the ungraded Colonial Turf Cup at Colonial Downs on June 18, but has not been back to the track since that effort. The local longshot in this field is Rahystrada at 12-1. Here is the play for the Grade 1 Arlington Million:
$5 WP #9
$1 EX 5-9 with ALL
Remember, They Are Off accepts no responsibility for any wagers placed in conjunction with these selections. They are merely suggestions. They Are Off will be offline until August 24. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!