Saturday is the 31st running of the Arlington Million at Arlington Park in the Windy City. Hard to believe that it is already that long ago that John Henry fended off the gallant run of The Bart. That fantastic finish is immortalized with a statue at the Chicago track. Let's take a detailed look at some of the top contenders in this year's renewal of the Million:
#3 Hunter's Light (8-1) is the top pick here even though the last two efforts in Germany and Singapore weren't so hot. If you look back a bit in the PPs, this Godolphin runner won two of three starts over the Tapeta surface at Meydan in Dubai before finishing seventh behind Animal Kingdom in the Group 1 Dubai World Cup. This horse is bred to run on the turf forever with both Dubai Millennium and Barathea present in the lineage. Jockey Ryan Moore has four Breeders' Cup wins over the greenery and trainer Saeed Bin Suroor won the Million in 2003 with Sulamani.
#7 Indy Point (9-2) comes next with this year's Preakness winning jockey, Gary Stevens, looking to become the first rider to win the Million three times. Indy Point made a strong debut in the Wickerr at Del Mar with a win on July 24th. It is interesting that trainer Richard Mandella elected to ship in from California for this effort, so you have to believe that Mandella believes. An interesting note about this colt is that he has been to the post thirteen times in his career and hit the board in all thirteen of those starts. Granted, the first twelve of those runs were in Argentina, so it remains to be seen just how tough the competition he has faced was, and if that toughness will rub off in a really tough spot Saturday.
#10 The Apache (6-1) merits a bit of consideration in here with a similar pattern to the top pick's recent races. He ran three times at Meydan in the spring, winning one and running second twice. Following the Dubai campaign, he took some time off and came back in a Group 2 at York in Great Britain and ran fourth off the layoff, finishing behind the morning-line favorite in the Million, Grandeur. I must admit that I like The Apache a shade more than Grandeur despite this because in examining the trip notes of the favorite, I can see lots of trouble mentioned in those. With Grandeur deep closing running style, he might encounter some issues that could stymie his rally.
Good luck on the entire Saturday card at Arlington Park with plenty of excellent racing available including the Beverly D and the Secretariat.
Be sure to check out my Twitter page: @They_Are_Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!