Arlington Million (Grade 1)
THE feature races stateside tonight are the Grade 1s, Arlington Million and Beverly D Stakes, though each bears little resemblance to the races of old.
With their traditional home from 1981, Arlington Park sold for development, Churchill Downs Inc., which owns the suburban Chicago track, announced that this year’s Million would be run in Louisville and the distance back from a mile and a quarter to nine furlongs and with reduced prize money.
The turf Grade 1 the Secretariat Stakes would no longer be run.
A solid field of nine is set for the Million (11.05pm), but with no European challengers for the first time since back n 1990.
Chad Brown, who has won the Million four times and the Beverly D. six times, runs Sacred Life, winner of the Grade 3 Monmouth Stakes on his last start.
Godolphin’s run of success could continue with Santin, a four-year-old Distorted Humor colt who had his first top-level win in the Grade 1 Turf Classic on Derby Day at Churchill Downs.
He comes off a sixth-place finish in the Grade 1 Manhattan Stakes at Belmont Park and connections are confident he has progressed.
Michael McCarthy’s Smooth Like Strait, a five-year-old son of Midnight Lute, has not won since taking the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile at Santa Anita in 2021, but has decent form including a second in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Del Mar.
Juddmonte’s Set Piece, a six-year-old Dansili gelding, has seven wins from 15 US starts for trainer Brad Cox.
The Beverly D (8.01pm) has a small but deep field and gives Aidan O’Brien’s Lily Pond a good chance of Grade 1 success under John Velazquez. The Curragh Group 2 winner could be able to dominate from the front.
Chad Brown runs the €3 million purchase Rougir but she has disappointed on her last two runs since her winning Grade 3 debut stateside in May.
Michael Stidham’s last out Grade 3 winner Princess Grace might be a bigger danger.
The feature at Saratoga is the Grade 1 Fourstarsdave Stakes which sees Chad Brown represented by Peter Brant’s Regal Glory, a six-year-old Animal Kingdom mare. She comes off four straight stakes wins over females, three in Grade 1 company. Brown also runs the Grade 1-placed Masen in a field of five.
Previously trained for Juddmonte by Ger Lyons, the Kingman gelding lost by a nose on his American debut, the April 15th Grade 1 Maker’s Mark Mile at Keeneland.
He then won the Grade 3 Poker Stakes and Seek Again Stakes, both at a mile. Casa Creed, trained by Bill Mott, looks the other main candidate.
At Del Mar the feature is the Grade 2 Yellow Ribbon Stakes and Irish-bred Going Global heads the field. The seven-time stakes and Grade 1 winner carries top-weight, giving five to 7lb to her six rivals.
The daughter of Mehmas won the April 9th Grade 2 Royal Heroine Stakes on her first 2022 start and ran third in the May 30th Grade 1 Gamely Stakes, both at Santa Anita.