It's Arlington Million time again and to me that always brings back memories of John Henry. For those who don't remember, he was a rags to riches story that really captured the hearts of racing fans. A former claimer who rose to the pinnacle of the sport.
Okay enough reminiscing, lets look at this year's field.
1. Circus Couture
He was soundly beaten by Century Dream at Ascot in May. He's had three modest efforts since and would be a huge upset in here. I give him no chance!
2. Spring Quality
He just keeps running dynamite races. Robert Bruce was life and death to get by him in the Fort Marcy and then he comes back to win the Manhattan from the far outside post. This is one fine racehorse. He's drawn inside at the mile and a quarter, figures to get a nice stalking trip, and he always runs. What's not to like? He has to be on your tickets!
He was a bang up second in the Fort Lauderdale in January, then won the Gulfstream Turf Handicap in February. He had a nice tune-up in a Belmont allowance in June that he also won and now he goes for the big prize. He's been working like a machine and it looks like all systems are go. Like the horse to his inside, he always shows up. He is my pick to win!
Tough campaigner who finished behind Almanaar in those two races down in Florida earlier this year, but he's had a nice Spring and he's not out of this. It's been a long time since he's won back to back and the Arlington Million might not be the best spot to try it. I'll pass.
5. Century Dream
Just missed in the Queen Anne at Ascot, then threw in a clunker in an allowance race a month later. If he runs back to the Queen Anne he fits in here for sure. He still has a lot of upside and I'll be using him in my combinations.
6. Catcho En Die
He won the Stars and Stripes at this track on the engine, but there won't be any soft leads in this one. I think he'll be compromised by the pace and all the stalkers inside of him figure to get better trips. I'll pass.
7. Twenty Four Seven
He's a nice allowance horse but there are some killers in here and I can't see him making much of an impact.
8. Money Multiplier
He won the Monmouth for the second year in a row and then just missed in the United Nations. He has to avoid a wide trip in here and it won't be easy, but he 's another who always puts in his run. He failed as the favorite in his last and has finished behind Spring Quality and Oscar Performance before. I'm going to pass.
He seems a cut below the usual European monsters that show up here and Century Dream did beat him soundly at Ascot. I'm always wary of these European horses in their first race stateside, but I'll only use him underneath in exotics.
10. Robert Bruce
He split a couple of decisions with Spring Quality, winning the Fort Marcy and losing the Manhattan. Since Spring Quality gets the best of the draw in here, I'll be going with him in my bets in lieu of Robert Bruce.
11. Oscar Performance
He will probably be hard used early from here and may even sprint out for the lead. That is by no means an easy assignment. He figures to be heavily backed at the windows and I am unwilling to take a short price from this post position. He has my favorite jockey and I can't argue with those who like him, but I'm going to pass.
This certainly looks like a competitive edition of the Million. You can make a strong case for half the field, but I'm going with Almanaar. I'll use him in combinations with Spring Quality, Century Dream, and Deauville.
Good luck to all who are playing!