Arlington Million Festival Races Picks and Analysis

6- American St. Leger, 13.5f, 3:05

1- GENEROUS KITTEN (6-1, 97): Shows the second highest BRIS Last Race Speed Figure (97) in the field off his last, a close 4th place finish in the Grade 3 Singspiel at 12f. That was his first graded start, but he did defeat foe O’Prado Ole two back at 11f. He has made up ground in the stretch in all of his last four distance races and should benefit from the additional ground here for the Ramsey connections.

2-MONTCLAIR (15-1, 112): This will be a class jump based on recent form, although he is a Group 3 winner in France in the distant past and boasts the highest Racing Post Rating in the field (tie). Still, his last three races have come in optional claiming company, and he hasn’t contested a graded race since May of last year. Against today’s foes, he defeated O’Prado Ole three races back at a shorter distance, but lost to Billabong at 12f over a soft track at Longchamp.

3- HART HILLS ROAD (30-1, N/A): Looks overmatched as he stretches out to a marathon distance with only 1 win in 20 career starts in allowance and claiming company.

4- TOBIAS (30-1, 98): With only 1 win in 26 career starts, it is difficult to support him here, especially with a combination of slow recent speed figures and having been beaten handily by a few of today’s foes (Da Big Hoss, Generous Kitten, O’Prado Ole).

5- DA BIG HOSS (9-5, 109): A deserving morning line favorite off his last, an impressive score in the 2 mile Belmont Gold Cup, where he posted the field high BRIS Speed Figure (106) by a mile. That was two months ago, but he’ll cut back in distance here which should only help off that effort, as he’s won two of his prior three starts at the 12f distance, and this should be right in his sweet spot with Flourent Geroux aboard. He holds the largest BRIS Prime Power advantage over the rest of the field in this sequence (+20.7) and is tempting as a potential single here; versatile runner neither needs the lead nor a pace to run at and should sit comfortably mid-pack to wait for the call.

6- WASIR (12-1, 101): Group 3 winner at the 2 mile distance in Germany two back, but he’s been of the board in the other three of his last four starts this year in everything from stakes to Group 1 company. Doesn’t look to appear the most formidable of the Euro shippers based on current form or Racing Post Rating; should be close to the pace.

7- ROCKET PROFESSOR (30-1, N/A): Ramsey rabbit is not here to win, but to provide pace for his stablemate Generous Kitten. He has never run further than 8f.

8- CLONDAW WARRIOR (9-2, 112): 9 year old gelding has lots of experience at running long distances, often beyond 2 miles, and does share the highest Racing Post Rating in the field. He cuts back here following a 3rd place finish in a 2.5 miles stakes race after a disastrous close to his 2015 campaign, and it’s hard to know what to do with him here. He’s won at 12f as recently as last summer on a cutback but has raced just once this year; at his age it is hard to know what to expect off the ship and the two month layoff.

9- MESSI (scratched)

10- BILLABONG (10-1, 107): Appears the classiest of these, having kept company with Group 1 runners in three of his last five races, and showing a 2nd place finish at 12f from last summer and a 2nd place finish in his last. Comes off a five month layoff but first time Lasix angle makes seven year old the most appealing of the Euro shippers.

11- O’PRADO OLE (12-1, 102): Early pace presence that always seems to find the board at Arlington, he was part of the blanket finish in the local prep for this, showing a competitive BRIS Speed Figure (96). He’s been beaten by three of these foes this year at shorter distances though (Da Big Hoss, Generous Kitten, Montclair), so we tend to give the form edge to those considering this distance could be beyond his limits.

Picks:

1) Da Big Hoss 9-5

2) Billabong 10-1

3) Generous Kitten 6-1

4) Montclair 15-1

 

7- Secretariat, 10f, 3:43

1- CHERRY WINE (12-1, N/A): Preakness runner up has had trouble finding a niche for himself. He may well have been assisted by the slop in that career best effort, and since then, he has been well off the board, finishing 7th in the 12f Belmont and 9th in the 8.5f Indiana Derby. Now he lands in between distance-wise but on a new surface. He contested turf races twice as a maiden, but to no avail. Lots of questions here for a horse looking to find his form and who likely needs a bit more pace to close into than he will see here.

2- AMERICAN PATRIOT (5-1, 97): Shows a field best Brisnet Speed Figure (100) and competitive Beyer (88) for his last race, an impressive draw away win in the 9f Kent Stakes. He seems to have regrouped since a disastrous performance in the Grade 2 American Turf on Derby Day, and trainer Todd Pletcher seems to have him heading in the right direction and rapidly improving. He figures to be forwardly placed in a field with very little true speed, and given the fact that he has been pulling away from fields in the stretch of his last two wins, the added distance is of little concern here. He should receive a ground saving trip near the lead from new jockey William Buick and be right in the mix for the win.

3- SCISSORS AND TAPE (30-1, N/A): Ramsey rabbit is not here to win, but to provide pace for his stablemate Oscar Nominated.

4- ONE MEAN MAN (12-1, 97): Winner of the local prep for this showed a tactical change in that effort, sitting back off the place and closing full of run. We expect to see a similar running style utilized here, but he will need to improve on his speed figures (87 BRIS, 84 Beyer) to see the winner’s circle again.

5- CORDON (30-1, N/A): Lightly raced recent maiden winner picks a tough spot to move up in class for his third start.

6- OSCAR NOMINATED (12-1, 101): Runner-up as the favorite in the local prep for this was arguably best in that race, having to bid between horses in the stretch after being bumped and just missed the win by a ½ length. He’s bred to run all day on turf and will finally get the chance to stretch out here with Corey Lanerie retaining the mount. Mike Maker wins with 27% of his beaten favorites in their next start, and the combination of the extra distance and his ability to rate near the pace and still close powerfully could make the difference here.

7- SURGICAL STRIKE (9-2, 104): Seems a middling contender in this group in terms of figures and form. He has kept company with Oscar Nominated, Beach Patrol and One Mean Man in his last four starts, but has beaten only the latter over that span. He was gaining ground at shorter distances, however, in those losses, so maybe he will appreciate the added ground here, and he does have a win over the Arlington course from last year’s American Derby, but there are others we like better to handle the extra ground in a race that figures to be a spread bet to begin with.

8-LONG ISLAND SOUND (5-2, 104): Lightly raced Aidan O’Brien entry holds a class edge over the field, having run a well placed 3rd to Hawkbill in a Group 3 at Ascot before that one returned to defeat older horses. He was 6th in the 10f Belmont Derby in his last, but was beaten just 2.25 lengths for the win. His entire form line reminds us of another O’Brien Secretariat runner, Adelaide, who romped here after no-showing in that same race. It may be difficult to elevate him over Beach Patrol after just having finished behind that one at the same distance, but he holds a massive BRIS Prime Power advantage (+20.1) off his three 8f wins in Ireland that merits inclusion in multi-race wagers.

9- BEACH PATROL (2-1, 105): Morning line favorite is the only other non-rabbit besides American Patriot that figures to be near the lead. He should be able to track behind the rabbit and work out a relaxed trip with Florent Geroux picking up the mount for Chad Brown. He finished 3rd in his last start in the Belmont Derby (90 BRIS) beaten just 1 ½ lengths for the win at this distance, and shows the field high Racing Post Rating. Once a need-the-lead type, he has learned to rate and conserve energy for the stretch; expect a big effort here from consistent colt.

Picks:

1) American Patriot 5-1

2) Beach Patrol 2-1

3) Oscar Nominated 12-1

4) Long Island Sound 5-2

 

8- Beverly D, 9.5f, 4:21

1- BALLYDOYLE (9-2, 115): Aidan O’Brien shipper has been off form recently; in fact, her last race, when 13th and last as the favorite in the 10f Belmont Oaks, was almost too terrible to be believed. Is the added distance or soft ground causing her recent troubles, or is she simply heading in the wrong direction? She shows the field high Racing Post Rating and has won at 8f in Group 1 company overseas, so her back class must be respected, but there are simply a lot of questions here off her last, where she seemed without excuse.

2- AL’S GAL (30-1, 99): Made a good enough account of herself when closing for second in the local prep after sitting just off a slow pace. Consistent type has posted three straight 90 Beyers, which are actually fairly competitive here in a less than spectacular edition of this race. Sure, she takes a big class leap entering Grade 1 company for the first time having never won a graded race, but these odds are too high for the runner with the highest BRIS figure in the field (107). That number came at a longer distance, and maybe she needs that to be fully effective, but she is intriguing at these odds nonetheless, especially with so many total tosses at the same morning line number.

3- MARYPOP (30-1, 106): Ran too far off a slow pace in the local prep here but never showed much response, placing an uninspiring 5th without ever improving position. She stands to run with a bit more focus this time with blinkers added and does have some form lines to fall back on, but it is asking a lot for her to improve enough upon that effort to be a factor here.

4- NO FAULT OF MINE (30-1, 95): She ran an even 4th in the local prep here. It is hard to imagine missing the board in the Modesty and then hitting it in the Beverly D with such tougher competition entering here. Her low Racing Post Rating leads us to look elsewhere.

5- TUTTIPAESI (20-1, 103): Has run well enough in her past two starts both graded stakes, at 8.5f and 9f respectively, finishing 2nd and 1st in those races. She will need to improve upon her speed figure in her most recent start (87 BRIS), where she also finished two lengths behind today’s foe Zipessa.

6- COOLMORE (6-1, 106): The other contingent of the Aidan O’Brien contingent easily bested her stablemate when 3rd in her last, the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks at 10f. Front-running type should benefit from the slight cutback in distance here, although she did back up through the stretch last time. Still, she shows the field high Beyer from that race (98) and filly is Group 3 placed in Ireland at 7f. While we don’t support her for the win here, she is preferable to her stablemate based on recent form and seems a logical inclusion underneath, as she may be the speed that stays longest.

7- LOTS O’LEX (30-1, 97): This is a puzzling spot indeed for a runner coming off a 9 month layoff that has never won a graded race. Selling with both hands.

8- PERSONAL DIARY (30-1, 107): Her Racing Post Rating looks competitive, but if you are looking to play a longshot, it’s hard to ignore that she was easily beaten by two others here, Al’s Gal and Zipessa, in her last three starts. Has only 3 wins in 23 lifetime starts and is difficult to support here.

9-ZIPESSA (15-1, 99): Impressive in winning an 8.5f Grade 3 wire to wire in her last, but she stretches out beyond 9f for the first time, and has shown declining speed figures in her last four starts. Will be part of the speed, but we question her ability to carry it this far. Not for us.

10-SECRET SOMEONE (30-1, 102): Nearly stole the local prep by setting super easy fractions on the lead (:50.1), but still only managed to hold on for 3rd, and figures to see a bit more pace pressure this time around. Pass.

11- ELUSIVE MILLION (30-1, 85): Ummmm….first time Lasix and a weight break? That’s about all we can offer on a positive note for runner with the field low Racing Post Rating by a mile and who has never run beyond 8f, appears rabbit-esque for the favorite.

12- FAUFILER (6-1, 111): Was incredibly impressive and proved us wrong in winning the local prep for this (96 BRIS, 92 Beyer), closing with authority into a slow pace in her first effort at the longer distance, showing a field high BRIS Late Pace Figure (106). She shows field high Speed Last Race and Back Speed, and has proven ability to close into a race shape that plays against her running style. Maybe the extra distance is exactly what she needed, and the price is right to find out against tougher company. She should get a better set up this time to boot, with the likes of Zipessa, Coolmore and Elusive Million signed on. The pick.

13- SEA CALISI (7-5, 112): Group 2 and Grade 2 winner holds a class advantage against this field (she’s also Group 1 placed at 12f in France). She had a terrible trip when just missing the win in the 10f New York Stakes last out (92 BRIS, 95 Beyer), and still only missed the win by ¾ of a length to a pretty tough mare in Dacita. She gets a rider switch to Flourent Geroux and is a deserving favorite for Chad Brown, but dare we say, a bit short in this spot and far from a sure thing at these odds? After all, her best races have come at longer distances and on softer turf than she is likely to see here. Certainly a must-use on top in exotic and multi-race wagers, but doesn’t offer much value outright.

14- PRETTY GIRL (15-1, 109): Lightly raced Argentinian bred gets first time Lasix here as she moves up in class for her fifth career start. She won a Group 1 in her native country at 10f in her first career start, but there are lots of questions as she will try to navigate a trip against tougher company from the widest post of all. The Racing Post Rating is quite competitive and she wouldn’t be a huge surprise underneath, but you can’t use everyone.

Picks:

1) Faufiler 6-1

2) Sea Calisi 7-5

3) Coolmore 6-1

4) Al’s Gal 30-1

 

9- ARLINGTON MILLION, 10f, 5:09

1- DANISH DYNAFORMER (30-1, 104): Winner of the Grade 3 Singspiel at 12f cuts back in distance here (98 BRIS, 94 Beyer). Before that, he was a distant 6th behind today’s foe World Approval in a 9f Grade 1. Seems middling in this field and may have found a better spot in the longer race, so we will look elsewhere.

2- DUBAI SKY (30-1, 96): Forwardly place type takes a big class leap here for Bill Mott, having raced just once in graded company in six career starts. He’ll stretch out to 10f for the first time, which doesn’t bode well for a colt that led and faded last time out at 8.5f.

3- GREENGRASSOFYOMING (30-1, 99): Won from off the pace in a blanket, four horse photo finish in the marathon local prep for this, but connections opt for the tougher spot with this six year old gelding. Trainer Mike Maker wins with 27% of his runners third off the lay but finds a tough spot here with a deep closer that may not get quite the pace he needs here in this event. This is also a big class leap for a runner that had not previously contested a graded event before his last.

4- PUMPKIN RUMBLE (30-1, 100): Just missed the win in the blanket finish in the local prep at 12f, and cuts back here as he takes a massive class jump. He has never won a graded race and is difficult to support in this spot.

5- THE PIZZA MAN (10-1, 115): Local favorite and defending champion will be overbet as usual for this despite his seemingly declining form since last summer’s monumental win. Sure, he is third off the lay here and always brings his “A” game at Arlington, but betting against him has become somewhat of a rite of passage. And seeing as how he has failed as favorite in his last three starts, showing speed figures at variety of distances that leave something to be desired (92-96 BRIS, 8.5f-12f), and meets a deeper, tougher field than he did last year, now seems the time to do that again.

6- KASAQUI (20-1, 106): Draw away winner of the local prep for this (98 BRIS, 97 Beyer) fits this race perfectly from a tactical standpoint, as he is able to sit near the pace but is clearly not compromised by the distance, having won at this distance twice in Argentina. He takes a class jump here but at these odds, deserves a look for the minor awards. We know he likes the track, and he showed a field high BRIS Late Pace Last Race (102) over it, so we know he doesn’t mind the distance. Price might be right to find out how much improvement he can make against a tougher field.

7- TAKE THE STAND (15-1, 113): Impressive wire to wire winner of the 9f Muniz (96 BRIS, 100 Beyer) in his last, where he beat today’s foe World Approval and was flattered by that one’s subsequent efforts. That was over four months ago though, and he’s never run beyond 9f before. There are reasons for concern here considering he’s shown a propensity to fade on the lead at shorter distances. That combined with the layoff is enough for us to stay away.

8- DECORATED KNIGHT (10-1, 112): Stakes winner at 10f in England three back, he won a 9f Group 3 in Ireland in his last and enters with sharp recent form. He may prefer the turf a bit softer than he will see here, but does top the field in BRIS Current Class. There are others here that look a bit more impressive in terms of Racing Post Ratings, but we won’t dismiss him for the bottom of exotics and will give him a shot in multi-race wagers as a value play. He has the look of a colt that is improving at the right time and that has been pointed to this.

9-MONDIALISTE (8-1, 118): Classy son of Galileo boasts the field high Racing Post Rating. Though his best races have come at 8f, he has showcased an incredible turn of foot at that distance that appears to begging for more ground, and that notion was proven correct in his last, where he finished a close 2nd at 10f, beaten just ¾ of a length for the win in a Group 2 in England. His 2nd place finish in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Mile (104 BRIS, 104 Beyer) behind the other-wordly Tepin has been highly flattered since that event, and the feeling here is that he finds a great spot to unleash that closing kick in a race where he should get a decent setup to do so. Trainer David O’Meara has shown ability to ship and win before, as Mondialiste won the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile coming in from York just as he does today, and why worry about the distance with this pedigree? (10.4/9.4 AWD). The pick.

10- WAKE FOREST (5-1, 112): He has always seemed a middling runner to this space, and he proved us correct last year, finishing 6th in this race against a weaker group. He did recently close to win the 11f Man O’War (95 BRIS, 101 Beyer), but that may have been more a result of his competition in that race. He was fairly easily beaten when third in his last to today’s foe World Approval. He’s a deep closer cutting back in distance here and figures to be overbet; looking elsewhere.

11- WORLD APPROVAL (4-1, 114): The concern with him has always been distance related, but he blew that notion away in his last after winning the 11f United Nations from just off the pace, posting a field high last out Bris (99) and Beyer (105) figure. He faded after leading the Grade 1 Manhattan (98 BRIS, 105 Beyer) at 10f two starts back, but faced tougher foes that day, as none the likes of Flintshire or Ironicus are signed on today. Florent Geroux retains the mount, and it doesn’t hurt that colt won the 9f American Derby over this turf course a year ago. On speed figures alone, he appears the one to beat as he has duplicated the field high Beyer at the distance. His recent ability to rate makes him a must use on top.

12- TRYSTER (7-2, 117): Morning line favorite certainly has the back class to support such, as he’s the only multiple Group 1 winner (Dubai) in the field. However, he’s the rare Euro shipper that may prefer firmer ground, so beware if it comes up softer than expected today; his last two starts (after winning his previous three) were lackluster and came over soft turf. While he’s won a Group 3 at this distance, his Group 1 wins have been at shorter, so it’s fair to wonder, at this price and off the ship, whether this race is a bit beyond ideal. Is his talent enough to overcome that? It wouldn’t be a surprise, but there are enough questions to try to beat him outright, while using him defensively in multi-race wagers.

13- DEAUVILLE (6-1, 114): Aidan O’Brien trainee was the winner of the 3 year old restricted 10f Belmont Derby (92 BRIS, 94 Beyer) in his last, but connections opt to try the tougher spot here instead of the Secretariat. In doing so, he’ll attempt to become the first 3 year old to ever win the Arlington Million, and if he does, he’ll do it from the widest post of all, and at our expense. Figure wise, he doesn’t really stack up against the top contenders here, and the fact that he only beat Secretariat favorite Beach Patrol by 1.5 lengths after that one had the worst of it trip-wise leads us to play against and conclude he is in the wrong spot here.

Picks:

1) Mondialiste 8-1

2) World Approval 4-1

3) Tryster 7-2

4) Decorated Knight 10-1

 

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