Arlington Million Preview Day All Stakes Pick 4 Analysis

There will be rain…

Race 7- Arlington Hcp 3:55

1- Admiral Kitten 3-1 (C): Winner over this course and distance in last year’s Secretariat (89 Beyer), he carries the high weight off that effort despite hitting the board just once in four starts this year; that was a win back in January at 9f. He wasn’t disgraced when 5th only 2 lengths behind Wise Dan at 9f gaining ground late after that, but had no excuse when 9th in his last at that distance. Perhaps the stretch out and return to this course- he’s never been worse than 2nd in three starts here- will help his chances, but will he have the pace to close into?

2- War Dancer 2-1 (S): Rounding into form and cuts back in distance following a Grade 3 win in the 12f Louisville (95 Beyer) last out and a Grade 2 place at that distance two back over softer turf. He proved his versatility in his last, racing within a length of the lead all the way around, so he could add some unexpected pressure up front here. He’s clearly better on the turf than dirt, and he shows an impressive win at this distance in last year’s Virginia Derby (95 Beyer). Makes first start over the course, recent works leave something to be desired, but hard to dismiss.

3- Mister Mardi Gras 5-1 (C): Winless beyond 9f, 7 year old gelding is highly accomplished nonetheless over both turf and synthetic, and was second in this very race back in 2011. Still, despite his best performances coming from off the pace, this seems quite the stretchout off his recent efforts, which include a win at 8.5f on the grass and a second at 8f over the poly. Consistent and versatile, but other closers look more appealing at this distance.

4- Avanzare 7-2 (P): Takes a big step up in class off front-running wins in allowance optional claiming company, but 4 year-old has never been worse than 2nd in seven career starts. Stretches out in a tough spot against better here, but figures to be allowed to set easy fractions like last time (:50.15) as potential lone speed in a short field. Can he carry the lead an extra furlong against these? A 7 pound weight concession from the top won’t hurt his chances, but the extra furlong may be asking too much to hang on if he’s forced to go faster than that; usable underneath for a piece.

5- Finnegan’s Wake 9-2 (C): His record doesn’t show it, but he’s always in the mix against top company at longer distances, and ran a great race when 4th over this course in last year’s Arlington Million, only 2.5 lengths from the win (96 Beyer). His connections steered him off course at the end of last year, running on shorter dirt and synthetic surfaces that played against his style, and his flat 8th place finish following a 6 month layoff can be forgiven. He looked stronger in his last effort at 9f, where he closed hard for 6th in Grade 2 company, finishing ahead of Admiral Kitten. He’s run very well in both starts over this course as he was 2nd in the Secretariat as a 3 year old; hard to deny that this is his ideal distance third off the layoff for Dale Romans, and he’s been working like he’s ready for a big effort that could see him closer to the lead than usual (5f in 1:00.4). He’s only won twice in 20 career starts but we’ll give him a shot here as the choice.

6- Infinite Magic 10-1 (S): Will be in receipt of 7 pounds from the field despite winning the American Hcp on this card a year ago (87 Beyer). His form really trailed off at the end of last year and he returned from a 6 month layoff off-the-board in a 9f AOC at Belmont; tough to support.

Picks:

1) Finnegan’s Wake 9-2

2) War Dancer 2-1

3) Admiral Kitten 3-1

4) Avanzare 7-2

Race 8- Stars and Stripes 4:25

1- Moro Tap 5-1 (S): Ran 3rd in the Louisville last out in his first try at the distance, and should be sharper here, though that was his only on-the-board race in five starts this year. He enjoyed a ground saving trip from the rail that day and could work out a similar scenario here, but after losing ground in the stretch despite the favorable trip, he’ll need to make up a full three lengths on Suntracer here. We don’t generally like Tapits at longer distances, but that angle bit us on a certain Saturday in June.

2- Mister Mardi Gras: Scratch assumed

3- Suntracer 3-1 (C): Runner-up here last year, and nearly stole the St. Ledger on Million Day, so you know he loves the course and the distance. In his last start in the 12f Louisville, he led in the stretch before being caught by War Dancer by a head (95 Beyer). The likely slow pace may play against him, but he’s been within 4-5 lengths from the lead in his best performances at this distance. He hasn’t won a race since 2012 but looks best here on class and must be used.

4- Bubba’s Big Show 50-1 (C): Comes off claiming win at shorter distance over the course, but took seven tries to break maiden before that, and pace plays against him. Other closers are in a better spot.

5- Dreams Cut Short 20-1 (C): Winner against claimers last out at 8.5f, but lifetime record suggests he is in over his head here without any pace to chase at this distance.

6- Seton Hall 8-1 (S): Ran 2nd last out in a 9f optional claiming turf event with some give in the ground that looks pretty strong here, stalking the pace to overtake Olympic Thunder in the stretch in his first race off a 9 month layoff. 7 year-old gelding has a win at this distance from 2012 and could be closer to the pace today and sharper than his in return. Both of his best races have come over turf courses with some give, which could make the difference here at juicy odds, and the lack of pace sets up well for his style. The pick, and amazingly, the only runner in the field to have won at this distance.

7- The Pizza Man 7-2 (P/S): Third here last year by a nose, he comes off a sharp 8.5f win over this course in the Black Tie Affair (93 Beyer) following a six month layoff. Distance may be asking a lot second off the lay as the aforementioned showing constitutes his only previous try at this distance, and he carries the high weight. Still, he loves this turf course and is 6 of 9 lifetime over it and must be respected. Should be as forwardly placed as any so it could be his to lose, but we will try to beat him on the top spot as he stretches back out.

8- Olympic Thunder 6-1 (P/S): He could very well wind up as lone speed here, and while winless, has been effective at this distance. Looking back to a 2nd place finish in last year’s Kentucky Turf Cup, he actually led in the stretch before fading late, defeating today’s foe Suntracer by a length in that effort. He’s also beaten Moro Tap in 2014 at 8.5f when 3rd in a KEE allowance, but his most recent performance, being caught in the stretch by Seton Hall at 9f, leads us to lean that direction instead here at this distance, as it’s a result he’s been prone to. Pace scenario could help keep him around for a piece, but as he has yet to win in the USA, in two years running here, we’ll try to beat him for the win.

9- O’Prado Ole 12-1 (C): Off the board in three 2014 starts against allowance optional claiming company. Last win came at KEE at 8.5f, where he closed into a speedy pace, which he won’t see here.

10- Dad Are We Here 30-1 (C): Well-beaten 6th in last outing over this course, the 8.5f Black Tie Affair, but has made effective closing moves to win and place in 8f races against optional claimers. Probably the best of the closing longshots but hard to find a place for him here.

Picks:

1) Seton Hall 8-1

2) Suntracer 3-1

3) The Pizza Man 7-2

4) Olympic Thunder 6-1

Race 9- American Derby 4:55 PM

1- Big Tom Prado 20-1 (C): Winner last out from way off the pace over this course in an 8.5f allowance. Might enjoy the added distance here, but takes a big leap in class.

2- Divine Oath 7-2 (S): Ran well to be just nosed for the money in an 8f ungraded stakes at Penn against top company in this division, picking up ground late over a course labeled “good.” 2nd place finish two back over the poly was flattered when winner Mr. Speaker came back to win the Belmont Derby, and he was able to stay close to two lengths from the lead throughout that race, which could suit here in a race without a clear pacesetter. Pedigree shows a lot of speed underneath, but runs like he wants more ground.

3- Highball 8-1 (S): Lightly raced but highly talented maiden winner makes his third career start off a 9f triumph from off the pace at CD.  By Lemon Drop Kid out of a Langfuhr mare, his pedigree is loaded for this distance if he can acclimate to the class jump.

4- Schoolofhardrocks 3-1 (S): Maybe it was the switch to turf that he needed, as he won his last over 9f at SA impressively in optional claiming company. Before that, he was off the board in Triple Crown prep races like the San Felipe and Santa Anita Derby. Has shown tactical speed that should keep him in striking position, but it’s worth wondering how he’ll take to the course if it comes up softer than he’s used to out west.

5- Giacallure 15-1 (C): Allowance winner at 8.5f at Canterbury in his last, where he rallied from off the pace for a half length score. Another that takes a big class leap but should appreciate the stretchout.

6- Ghostly Wonder 30-1 (S) Longest shot in the field is just a 4.5f maiden winner, and has not been impactful at all stretching out to 8f; a tall order and probably an overly ambitious spot.

7- Our Channel 6-1 (P) Euro shipper makes his first US start off a subpar 12f effort at Epsom, where he led most of the way and faded to last. Before that, he had won two straight going back to last September, including a Weight For Age stakes at 10f over soft turf, which makes him the only winner here beyond 9f. He appears to be lone speed in this race, but it’s always tough with these Euros. Loaded with pedigree, by English Channel out of a Rahy mare, may appreciate the cutback and softer ground if he handles the ship, and you have to wonder what he would be doing here if connections didn’t see him as a win candidate.

8- Chief Barker 8-1 (S) Showed solid form in Europe, defeating Juvenile Filly Spring champ Chriselliam at 8f last fall. His adjustment to US racing has been a work in progress, but he showed improvement when 4th last out over this course in the 8.5f Arlington Classic, stalking and closing well to miss the win by just 2.25 lengths. He had trouble at the break before that and never got going; intriguing on his 3rd following the ship, especially if the turf comes up soft, but still may be a cut below the best here.

9- Hesinfront 8-1 (S/C) Off the pace winner in his last, a 9f allowance at CD, gaining ground through the stretch. He had struggled in stakes company early this year on dirt and synthetic surfaces but steady improvement over last three indicates he may have found his niche on the turf. He’ll have to step up in class here but the distance shouldn’t be a problem based on pedigree or past performance; this is an improving sort with competitive speed figures.

10- Afortable 9-2 (C) Closed hard into a slow pace to hit the board last out when 3rd as favorite in the 8.5f Arlington Classic over turf labeled good, and won a 9f allowance in similar fashion prior to that. He draws wide in a race that may play against his deep closing style, but if they go faster up front than expected, he will be one flying home to pick up the pieces. He shows the strongest Late Pace figure in the field off that effort, but will need to improve his overall speed figures (78 Beyer) to hit the board in this spot.

Picks:

1) Our Channel 6-1

2) Divine Oath 7-2

3) Schoolofhardrocks 3-1

4) Hesinfront 8-1

Race 10- Modesty- 5:25

1- Embarr 30-1 (S): A well beaten 5th in this race a year ago, she’ll break furthest inside in a large field. She was 4th behind two of today’s foes in her last, a 8.5f Mint Julep at CD, and would need to make a step forward figure-wise to have an impact here. Best we can say for her is that she is one of the few to have experience at the distance.

2- Street of Gold 30-1 (C): She has a 3rd place finish over this course from a year ago in the 8.5f Hatoof behind two of today’s foes, but was easily beaten and off the-board in her most recent starts among weaker company.

3- Every Way 15-1 (P/S): She is unraced beyond 9f but does show a 3-1-2-0 record over this turf course, with the two placings coming at the hands of today’s foes. I’m Already Sexy (3.75 lengths) and IO Ireland (neck) at 9f and 8.5f respectively. She shows a strong 5f workout in 1:00.3 over the course from 7/5 and comes in third of the layoff under hot connections, and switches back to turf after a win over the AP poly and a 2nd at Canterbury over its synthetic surface. There’s reason to wonder how prepared she is for the switch back to turf, but she’s a live bomber for the bottom of the trifecta.

4- Gulsary 4-1 (C): Daughter of Galileo cuts back in distance following 2nd place finish at 11f in last, but she’ll face tougher here and her speed figures don’t stack up well at all against the best. Closing style may work against her in a race with so little pace and this is way too short at this ML.

5- Kepi 10-1 (S): Comes off a victory over the AP poly where she changed her style, running just off the pace to run down the leaders over 8.5f (86 Beyer). She is one that has spent most of her career racing at shorter distances however, and it’s worth wondering whether she’s better on the main track anyway as she makes a significant class leap.

6- Tabreed 7-2 (C): Earns ML favoritism despite coming off a 9 month layoff here. Trainer Cristophe Clement wins with nearly a quarter of his runners coming off long layoffs, and she is one that has showed success at longer distances. She shows an 87 Beyer from her hard closing 2nd place finish at AQU in her most recent start at 12f, and before that closed like a monster to win a 9f allowance, both over turf labeled “good.” She has been working well at Saratoga and merits a strong look here with a favorable post in this full field; we’ve been burned this year playing against horses returning from long layoffs and won’t make that mistake here.

7- Dance Again 15-1 (S): A sneaky value horse in this spot, she shows good form over a Woodbine Turf course that plays similarly to this one. Last year, she won an ungraded stakes there at 9f, and parlayed that into a 3rd place finish at 8.5f amongst Grade 2 company and over good turf (85 Beyer). In the latter, she bested the top selection here by a length, so she certainly fits on class. Her most recent effort may have been her best to date, winning at 8.5f from just off the pace and powering home. Her 7/4 workout at Woodbine, 5f in 1:00.0, stands out here. Live at a price as she makes her first start at AP third off the layoff.

8- Frivolous 15-1 (S): Makes her first turf start of the year after racing on synthetic and dirt surfaces over her three starts. Was beaten easily by five of today’s foes in different turf races last year; difficult to support based on that.

9- Ana Luisa 6-1 (S): Ran a solid figure when 4th over 9f on dirt at HAW, but had run mostly races under a mile over the turf in Brazil. Still trying to hit the board since shipping over last December; this is a puzzling spot that is hard to support at this price.

10- IO Ireland 30-1 (S/C): Returns from a closing 2nd place finish over 8f on this track, and she does show two wins over the AP oval, including a big surprise in last year’s 8.5f Hatoof where she nipped Every Way by a nose. That one came back to finish well ahead of her next time out at 9f, so maybe that race was a fluke, but she’s certainly one bred to be coming late to potentially add value to the bottom of the superfecta.

11- Maid On A Mission 30-1 (P): Front-running winner two back at 8.5f in optional claiming company, she faded while employing similar tactics against graded company next out and figures to find the added distance too much to handle.

12- Alette 30-1 (S): Shows two wins over the AP surface, including a closing win over optional claimers at 9f over turf labeled “good.” The added distance should improve her chances but she would need to make a considerable leap in speed figures to have an impact here as she rises in class significantly.

13- I’m Already Sexy 8-1 (P): Undefeated in three career starts over the AP surface, she’ll add Lasix for the first time today in her third start off the layoff. She employed a tactic when 2nd last out in the 8.5f Mint Julep at CD (85 Beyer) that we feel improves her chances here, as she sat a couple lengths behind the leader and gained ground into the wire to miss by less than a length. With the only other front-running type fake speed at best, she should be able to stake out moderate fractions from her outside post and carry that into the finish as she tries 9.5f for the first time. If she can run back to her 9f win over this course in last year’s Pucker Up (95 Beyer), then they are all running for second. While softer turf could potentially raise questions, the stretchout in distance shouldn’t, as she was pulling away from her foes in her 8.5 and 9f wins on this course.

14- White Rose 9-2 (C): She’ll get a lot of attention based on a commanding five length win over optional claimers at 9f last out, but we see a lot of negatives here at this price, beginning with her outside post. While experienced at this distance and beyond, she’s been handily beaten over her career by today’s foes Gulsary and Tabreed, so her last race may be a bit of an aberration. She has been working well in preparation for this, but may find the wide post and lack of speed detrimental today.

Picks:

1)    I’m Already Sexy 8-1

2)    Tabreed 7-2

3)    Dance Again 15-1

4)    Every Way 15-1

PICK 4: 

Finnegan’s Wake, War Dancer/

Seton Hall, Suntracer/

Our Channel, Divine Oath/

I’m Already Sexy, Tabreed, Dance Again

 

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