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Arlington Million XXXV Stakes Grade One
A million dollar pot has attracted plenty of high class runners again this year and with a decent history of European winners including Modialiste for David O’Meara last season, and with three runners again this year we are back with every chance. Read on for our full race preview and selection for the 2017 renewal of the World famous Arlington Million.
IN SUMMARY: A really good renewal will take even more winning than normal though an in-form DEAUVILLE will take all the stopping and Aidan O’Brien’s four-year-old gets the vote. Mekhtaal and Beach Patrol look the biggest dangers though expect a decent run from Ghost Hunter as well.
1 OAK BROOK – Could be the one to bring the pace to the race and just keeps on improving. Won the Black Tie Affair here over shorter by three-quarters and followed that with a career best second to Ghost Hunter here in the Grade Three Arlington Handicap but this looks a lot deeper and he seems unlikely to bother the judge today.
2 OSCAR NOMINATED – Close to twelve months since his last win when he took the Dueling Grounds Derby at Kentucky Downs last November, but he has run well in defeat since with a fifth here in the Secretariat probably about as good as he gets. This looks a much tougher contest and he is hard to make any case for in this exalted company.
3 ENTERPRISING – Trained like Oscar Nominated by Michael Maker but looks to have a very similar chance. He has won nine careers starts on the grass so is clearly no has-been at the age of six, but went off the boil after doubling up at Fair Grounds earlier in the year with a one and a half-length sixth of ten to Mystic Sky at Gulfstream Park nowhere near the standard needed to get competitive here.
4 GHOST HUNTER – No one can explain why he should be at his peak at the age of seven but that is how it appears with a win in the Arlington Handicap, and as that is a recognised trial for this race he deserves consideration. Could surprise a few of them here and looks grossly overpriced for one with distinct each way possibilities.
5 DEAUVILLE – The Aidan O’Brien/Ryan Moore combination is always hard to ignore, with the son of Galileo a very good half-length third as a three-year-old last season. With another winner on his back he looks stronger this season but won’t get his age allowance now, of course. Last time out he finished a head second to Moonlight Magic in the Group Three Meld Stakes when attempting to make all the running, but may be better judged on his length and a half third to Ribchester in a record-breaking Queen Anne Stakes and if he can repeat that then he clearly has every chance here.
6 FANCIFUL ANGEL – Newmarket trainer Marco Botti has aimed the five-year-old gelding here for some time now but he will need to do considerably better her than his sixth to Spark Plug in Listed class at Sandown last time out. He has won five of his twenty-three starts and over two hundred thousand pounds in win and place prize money, but he looks to have a lot to do to be victorious, though they do pay out all the way down to sixth so connections may well still collect.
7 THE PIZZA MAN – Although he did win this in 2105 that was a career peak and he does not look like the same horse now at the age of eight with retirement possibly beckoning. His best recent run was a two length second to Erupt and Dartmouth over a mile and a half at Woodbine last October but his two runs since haven’t been up to that standard with a length and a half second here in lesser company the latest, and other clearly appeal a lot more now.
8 KASAQUI – Finished a length behind Ghost Hunter when third in the Arlington Handicap (Grade Three) last time out and has a length to make up with that rival on six pound better terms. Second in this race last year, he does have a good record round here which has to count in his favour and ought to be able to challenge for the places, but winning looks one step too far in what looks a stronger field for 2017,
9 SCOTTISH – Non-Runner.
10 BEACH PATROL – The shortest priced of the home trained entries for trainer Chad Brown who continues in good form with seven winners from his last twenty-one runners for a 33% strike rate. Fought hard to win the Secretariat last season but that race may well have left its mark as he has failed to add to that in six starts. He will comfortably be able to hold his place during the early exchanges but looks open to be attacked from behind by a closer late on. Last seen finishing third to Bigger Picture over a furlong further in the United Nations Stakes at Monmouth Park and will try to make all the running – place material today.
11 DIVISIDERO – Three wins in Graded Stakes but all of them at Churchill Down and not sure to be as effective here at Arlington. Likes to be switched off early then arrive on the scene as late as possibly but they don’t stop up front here like they do in Kentucky and he will do well to catch them in time. Yet to win over this trip in three attempts and may find this class of opponent makes that four today.
12 ASCEND – Pulled off a big priced shock when taking the Grade One Manhattan at Belmont Park when looking likely to be swallowed up by the strongly travelling Time Test, and found an extra furlong beyond him at Saratoga when hanging late on to finish fourth. Back to a more appropriate trip he could well do better here, and if he can get to the front late on he may prove difficult to pass.
13 MEKHTAAL – Absolutely top class form to bring to the table with a win in the Prix D’Ispahan in May and a three and a half-length sixth to Highland Reel in the Prince Of Wales’ Stakes at Royal Ascot. Unsuited by the slow early pace that day he pulled his way out of serious contention early on and did well to finish as close up as he did. Franke Dettori rides for Al Shaqab Racing and if he can repeat his better form he won’t be far away today.