It's time for this week's race of the week. Last week we looked at the Whitney. Frosted was the obvious choice, but he was at well below even money, so we decided to risk getting beaten and look elsewhere for a better price. And get beaten we did - Frosted validated the support he received and proved that he is a serious threat for Horse of the Year.
This week we move away from the dirt. The Arlington Million is the premier longer turf race of the summer. It's a real measuring stick for the Breeders' Cup Turf. It's also the one day of the year that racing in Illinois is truly relevant. Run at 10 furlongs at Arlington on Saturday, Aug. 13, this year's edition features 13 entrants. Here's a look at the highlights (Odds listed are the track morning line):
Tryster (7/2): As is often the case in the biggest of the American turf races, the favorite is a European shipper. Owned by Godolphin, which is owned by members of the royal family of Dubai, the horse spent the winner racing in the Middle East. He won two big stakes there and then was third in a $6 million race on the Dubai World Cup card. He headed back to his home base in England after that and was fifth in a major race at Ascot, England's premier meet. That result was better than it looked, though, because the finish was tight and the field was very deep. He's talented and his connections are strong. He just doesn't quite feel like a favorite, though. He feels more like a horse that was sent here to find a slightly easier spot. This is the third continent he has raced on in his last three races. I'll look elsewhere.
World Approval (4/1): This Mark Casse runner is looking for his second straight Grade I victory after he took the United Nations at Monmouth at the beginning of July. He also has a win at Arlington, taking the American Derby last year. I would make him the favorite over Tryster without hesitation. I'm going to look for a better price, but I would not argue with anyone who wanted to bet on this horse.
Wake Forest (5/1): This horse was brought over from Germany for this race last year. He was a dismal sixth, but he stayed on the East Coast with Chad Brown, the best turf trainer in the country. There has been some progress - he won the Man O' War two back and was third in the United Nations last time. This is Brown's only entrant here, and that makes him dangerous, but I just don't trust this horse enough against a field this good.
Deauville (6/1): This is the only three year old in the field. He's also a Euro. He came stateside for his last race, winning the Belmont Derby. It was a nice win, but he's trying older horses for the first time here. Before coming over he had been underwhelming in four major stakes in Europe, so he's not exactly a dominant horse. I'll pass.
Mondialiste (8/1): This is another Euro. He made his first trip across the pond last year, winning the Woodbine Mile and then finishing second in the Breeders' Cup Mile. Then it was back on a plane. He headed to Hong Kong for the Hong Kong Mile but was a disastrous 12th. It was time for a break, and he was off before a late spring return. He ran in France and then England, but both races were lousy. He redeemed himself last time out, finishing second in a strong race at York. The distance here is a quarter mile longer than his success last year, though, and that doesn't give me much confidence. Pass.
The Pizza Man (10/1): This horse is the defending champion. He is also seven years old now and hasn't finished better than fourth in his last three outings. At this price, though, there is value here, and I'm backing him. He really knows and likes this track, having won 10 of 14 there in his career. He was closer than the result suggests last time, and he has worked well since. The distance is a very good one for him, too. I'm willing to risk that he can recapture the magic.
Danish Dynaformer (30/1): You want a long shot? This is where you want to look. He's based at Woodbine in Toronto, and he is coming off a strong win there. He has yet to look like he belongs when facing Grade 1 company, but I think the time will come. He is very well bred, and he's still only four - and reasonably young for four at that. One day a light switch will flip and he'll run like he should be able to - as the breeding, his runs in smaller races, and the way he works indicates. He needs to have some early pace to run at, but in a field of 13 there is a good chance that he will get it. At the very least, use him in the bottom of your exotics - how can you not love a legitimate horse at this kind of price?
Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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