The feature race on the Saturday card at Arlington Park is without a doubt the 26th running of the Grade 1 Arlington Million. A total purse of $1,000,000 is on the line for three-year-olds and older running 1 1/4 miles over the turf track – and boy does it look like a good one. While the field was recently thinned with the scratch of likely pace setter Sudan, a healthy dose of international flavor in the Arlington Million makes this arguably the best turf race we’ve seen so far this year in the U.S.
The field, with jockeys and odds is as follows:
- #1 Archipenko – K. Shea (2/1*)
- #2 Stream Cat – J. Leparoux (8/1)
- #3 Spirit One – I. Mendizabal (10/1)
- #5 Cloudy’s Knight – R. ZImmerman (20/1)
- #6 Einstein – R. Albarado (7/2)
- #7 Mount Nelson – J. Murtagh (5/2)
- #8 Silverfoot – R. Douglas (20/1)
Archipenko is the headliner here. In his last 4 races (all Group 1 or Group 2 caliber) he’s managed 3 victories – all at relative longshot odds (when betting has been available). On Saturday he’ll wear the target of favorite on his back for the first time since being defeated in the Prix du Moulin de Longchamp last September. The 4-year-old son of Kingmambo has a lethal stalking style now as opposed to earlier in his career that figures to make short work of whomever decides to replace Sudan at the front of the pack.
That honor will likely fall to Spirit One now that Sudan has scratched. While Spirit One certainly hasn’t been disgraced in his most recent races at Longchamp, it’s hard for me to imagine him wiring this field if indeed he finds himself on the lead. Archipenko and Einstein, among others should be stalking him beautifully andI feel these are both better horses turning for home on the turf.
Einstein is intriguing. I’ve always liked this guy. Right now he’s probably the best U.S. turf horse there is, but he’s going to have to earn it if he’s to upset the favorite Archipenko here. I wouldn’t be too harsh on Einstein for finishing 2nd in his last effort – that was obviously a prep race and trainer Helen Pitts has publicly stated so. In the weekend where the 2008 Olympics kick off, if an American runner is to defend “home turf” – you’re likely talking about Einstein.
Mount Nelson is the wild card here for me. If he were to get a decent pace to run at, this guy could be coming on like a freight train late in the stretch. The question will be can he get to the wire ahead of Archipenko, Einstein, anda likely fading Spirit One? Mount Nelson is yet another runner for trainer Aidan O’ Brien who we mentioned in a previous post is seeking the record for Grade 1/Group 1 wins in a single season. In a bit of a dramatic twist, folks who have read the front page article on Saturday’s edition of the Daily Racing Form will note that at one time O’Brien was the trainer for non other than today’s main rival, Archipenko.
Stream Cat is another in this field that warrants some consideration. He was able to defeat Cosmonaut last out, but will have to “class up” quite a bit to take on the likes of Einstein, Archipenko, and Mount Nelson to prevail here. I think he’s an obvious one to ponder in the exactas and trifectas though. He’s got some very impressive Beyer figures that show he’s capable of finishing in the money, andyou have to look pretty far back to July of 2006 to find his last start where he finished out of the superfecta.
Longshot runners Cloudy’s Knight and Silverfoot would appear to be outclassed to me on paper. Perhaps a year ago I may have been interested in Cloudy Knight here, but those last two efforts have me thinking Father Time may have caught up with the 8-year-old son of Lord Avie.
I’ll use Archipenko for the win here. It’s an obvious choice, I admit, but this guy looks like a special turf runner. I’ll go a bit deeper here than I prefer for place for a couple of reasons. Firstly, if Spirit One gets loose on the lead I think he’s got every right to wind up in the exacta. Secondly, I respect Einstein and Helen Pitts enough that I think you’ve got to use them as well. Mount Nelson is the more obvious second choice. I’ll take those three along with Stream Cat for show. It’s a bit deeper than I prefer to give out, but it’s still under $10.
Selections: 1/3,6,7/2,3,6,7 ($9)