Arlington’s International Festival Of Racing Lures World-Class Runners
Robert Bruce Seeks Million Repeat
By Margaret Ransom
The fields have been set for Saturday’s annual Arlington Racecourse’s International Festival of Racing, which is highlighted by the 37th running of the Arlington Million (GIT), a race that has traditionally drawn some of the best turf horses in America and around the world year after year with this year being no exception.
The Million was the first race for Thoroughbreds to offer a $1 million purse and since 1981 when the great Hall of Famer John Henry nosed out The Bart to claim the top prize, a number of amazing racehorses have earned the title of Arlington Million winner. John Henry repeated in 1984, and was joined in subsequent years by many other stars, including Steinlen, Golden Pheasant, Star of Cozzene, Paradise Creek, Chester House, Powerscourt, The Tin Man, Gio Ponti, Cape Blanco, Little Mike, The Pizza Man and Robert Bruce, who is back to defend his title from a year ago.
Six jockeys – Jerry Bailey, Ramon Dominguez. Gary Stevens, Laffit Pincay Jr., Cash Asmussen and Jose Santos – all own a pair of wins to share the title of leading Arlington Million jockey and all are now retired. Three trainers, two of which are Hall of Famers and the other destined to join them, have saddled three winners each – Charlie Whittingham, Ron McAnally and Chad Brown. Chad Brown has both Robert Bruce and Bricks and Mortar, both attempting to give the New York-based conditioner a third consecutive Arlington Million victory.
Again this year, the Arlington Million is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” qualifying event which guarantees the winner a spot in the gate for the Breeders’ Cup Turf (GIT) on November 2 at Santa Anita. A field of ten was entered for the 1 ¼-mile turf feature, including the highly regarded Brown-trained pair.
The weather in Arlington Heights on Saturday is expected to cool off from the highs earlier in the week and temperatures are expected to reach into the low-80s under partly cloudy skies. The turf course, where all the best racing action will take place, will be firm all day.
Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence’s Bricks and Mortar is widely considered the best horse in America on any surface right now off a five-race win streak, which includes three grade 1s. The son of Giant’s Causeway will have regular rider Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard and was made the 8-5 morning-line favorite.
Convento Viejo LLC’s Chilean-bred Robert Bruce, who will lead the field to post, will seek to make history and be the first horse to win back-to-back Arlington Millions. He hasn’t won a race since last year, but has a pair of seconds, including behind his favored stablemate in the Manhattan Handicap (GIT) on Belmont Stakes Day. Robert Bruce, who will carry
Javier Castellano for the first time, is the second choice at 7-2 on the morning line.
Coolmore’s Magic Wand, who has a second, third and fourth from three starts stateside, is also entered to run in the Beverly D. and though a final decision by trainer Aidan O’Brien on the daughter of Galileo won’t be made until race day, she represents the most highly regarded of the four imports and is joined by Hunting Horn, Pivoine and Intellogent, who picks up blinkers (and Lasix) for the first time.
The field for the 37th running of the Arlington Million, with jockeys and morning line odds:
1. Robert Bruce, Javier Castellano, 7-2
2. Magic Wand, Wayne Lordan, 5-1
3. Bricks and Mortar, Irad Ortiz Jr., 8-5
4. Catcho En Die, Sophie Doyle, 30-1
5. Hunting Horn, Ryan Moore, 12-1
6. The Great Day, Trevor McCarthy, 12-1
7. Pivoine, Silvestre De Sousa, 15-1
8. Captivating Moon, Jose Valdivia Jr., 20-1
9. Intellogent, Florent Geroux, 12-1
10. Bandua, Adam Beschizza, 6-1
Post time for the Arlington Million, which is the day’s 11th, has been set for 6:12 p.m. CT.
Beverly D Draws Eight, Including Three From Trainer Chad Brown
The Beverly D Stakes (GIT), which will be contested for the 30th time this year, drew eight turf distaffers, three of which are trained by Chad Brown. Defending champion Sistercharlie, who will attempt to become the first to win this 1 3/16-mile race twice, drew the seven hole and is the 8-5 early favorite. She will be ridden once again by her regular jockey, John Velazquez. The Peter Brant-owned filly will be the one to beat as she is listed as the 8-5 morning line favorite.
Brown’s other runners are American Oaks (GIT) heroine Competitionofideas on a record of three graded stakes-placed seconds in a row and Thais, who is stepping up in class.
The Coolmore-owned Magic Wand, who as was previously mentioned is also entered to run in the Million, who was two weeks ago behind Enable in the Queen George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (GIT) at Ascot, is 3-1 on the morning line.
The field for the 30th running of The Beverly D Stakes, with jockeys and morning line odds:
1. Fleeting, Ryan Moore, 5-2
2. Awesometank, Florent Geroux, 8-1
3. Competitionofideas, Javier Castellano, 6-1
4. Oh So Terrible, Jose Valdivia Jr., 30-1
5. Remember Daisy, Mitchell Murill, 30-1
6. Magic Wand, Wayne Lordan, 3-1
7. Sistercharlie, John Velazquez, 8-5
8. Thais, Irad Ortiz Jr., 20-1
The Beverly D. will leave the gate at 4:53 p.m. CT and is the day’s 9th race.
Sophomores Star In Secretariat
Nine three-year-old turf specialists will be on display for the 43rd running of the Secretariat Stakes (GIT), a one-mile turf event worth $500,000. Chad Brown also trains the 3-1 lukewarm morning line favorite for this race in Peter Brant’s Fog of War. The Canadian grade 1-winning son of War Front was second last out in the Manila Stakes at Belmont on the Fourth of July and seeks an initial North American grade 1.
Trainer Mike Maker will tighten the girth on American Derby (GIIIT) winner Faraway Kitten for Ken and Sarah Ramsey, a race won by this colt’s sire – Kitten’s Joy – in 2004. Maker and the Ramseys also won this race in 2013 with Admiral Kitten. John Velazquez will ride the 9-2 second choice.
The second- and third-place finishers in the American Derby – The Last Zip and Crafty Daddy – are also part of the talented field.
The field for the 43rd running of the Secretariat Stakes, with jockeys and morning line odds:
1. Clint Maroon, Channing Hill, 20-1
2. Van Beethoven, Wayne Lordan, 8-1
3. Never No More, Ryan Moore, 6-1
4. The Last Zip, Adam Beschizza, 6-1
5. Ry’s the Guy, Chris Landeros, 15-1
6. Fog of War, Irad Ortiz Jr., 3-1
7. Valid Point, Javier Castellano, 5-1
8. Faraway Kitten, John Velazquez, 9-2
9. Crafty Daddy, Florent Geroux, 5-1
The Secretariat will go off as the afternoon’s 10th and the field is expected to leave the gate at 5:28 p.m. CT.