Saturday, 13 August 2016

Arlington Million preview

Time to fire up the race content again, the blog's been ticking over rather slowly. Damn you Twitter for stealing all my best work! The action hots up at York next week for the Ebor, but before that, it's one of US racing's great days, Million Day at Arlington, which will be covered live on AtTheRaces and Racing UK tonight. A shame the ridiculous politics between US racing operators means we can't trade on Betfair on it, just boring old win betting...

Anyhow, it's time to hand over to regular US racing correspondent, Jon da Silva, @creamontop, to look at the feature race on the card.

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The Arlington Million
Grade 1, 1 1/4 miles, US$1m
1809 local, 2309 BST


Once worth a million dollars when a million dollars was a lot of money and thanks to BrExit and Gordon Brown dropping the £ from 2.10 to 1.27 in 10 years probably seems a lot again. Anyway mid summer the Septics put on a turf race over 10 furlongs for our Group 1.5 horses which is nice even if they win it sometimes.

Arlington was the sight of the greatest thunder storm I ever did behold and the ground went from Firm to bottomless quicker than you could say Cape Blanco. Last year between the American St Leger and the Beverly D it went from fast to a slug fest. Thus Arlington presents a conundrum with ground unlike many US tracks. It's also worth understanding that US Good can be pretty Good to Soft and Yielding can be extremely tough going. Stamina and/or ground are issues for most of the Euros this year if it were to turn.

Tryster of devastating turn of foot but for me is at the limit of his stamina. He has that Presvis quality and hence is a legitimate 3/1ish shot. One you can back if you love stone closers and heartbreak horses. Shit or buster for me. On fast ground if he were to win it would likely be an eyeopening charge. Acquires juice [Lasix].

Mondialiste certainly does not mind some grip and was 2nd to Tepin on ground called Good but Soft in reality at Keeneland. On paper his close 2nd over extended 10F against Time Test removes any stamina doubt albeit I am not so sure. The horse who will probably handle anything ground wise.

Decorated Knight is the least exposed and after not really getting to grips with the cambers at Epsom walked home in the Meld - Portage got an easy lead and Decorated just strolled by. Has won over the distance and I would only worry if ground got deep on him. Not faced a double figure field since his maiden for me slightly mitigated by getting a local jockey - Jose Valdivia Jr. Of course Charlton eschews juice meaning he is the clean runner if you think like that.

US perennial The Pizza Man is the defending champ and lost the same two prep races he won last year. A horse whose form was previously disguised by racing 1m 4F and even winning the 13 furlong St Leger but likely this is his best trip and he handles most ground. Suspect old boy will need softer ground this year to beat Euros who all seem to have the change of gear to run US turf races. Local horse with a great Arlington record too.

Deauville represents decent 3yo form and avoids the Secretariat which I don't know is a tip for Log Out Island or just because Coolmore wanted one in each race. Won on US debut but only just benefiting from a fine ride but beat little and not by much given that. Another who would like a good surface IMO. Small matter but also loses Jamie Spencer for Seamie Heffernan.

World Approval is a almost a Swiss Watch of consistency but generally beaten by the best. Trained by Tepin's handler Mark Casse a man who left the impression he would rather not run Tepin at Ascot making more excuses before than a highly funded UK swimmer who misses out on a medal. Fine trainer mind. Last time beat many of US contenders and was third prior to the big boys Ironicus and Flintshire. Maybe more consistent than a Bran Flakes addict but maybe not better than most US challengers.

Wake Forest the German. Fifth last year and beaten three lengths by World Approval last time. One of Chad Brown's, the doyen of US turf trainers give or take Casse. Fast pace here could bring this closer into play.

Take The Stand beat World Approval in March and an Argentinean. Absence to overcome but maybe a little unexposed despite his 100/1 second in the Cheltenham Gold Cup beaten by a horse whose trainer had said was a non runner.... (lame attempt at humour for anyone clueless at that reference!..Ed). Sexy one for angle players and could be anything fans. Some appeal at 16s but equally unexposed = unknowns and in racing absence should not make the punters heart grow fonder. The Pace most likely.

Kasaqui Another Argentine. Second in a Grade 2 at Churchill before winning over 9.5F at Arlington in a Grade 3 beating national hero Messi into third. Hard to assess as he was vanned off in May after his first attempt at a Grade 1 but has come back strongly.

Danish Dynaformer below these albeit might give em a run at Woodbine over 12F. Even there only seventh to Cannock Chase and behind World Approval in May.

Greengrassofyoming won same trial as last year's winner The Pizza Man (TPM) over course and 12F (TPM was fourth). Lightly raced and can't be written off but equally form seems short and St Leger better race potentially?

Dubai Sky Won the Kentucky Derby prep the Spiral on Synths in 2014 and then off over two years before second in an optional claimer. This is not completely forlorn but equally not likely.

Pumpkin Rumble Third only a head behind Greengrassofyoming last time and arguably same comments apply.

Angles:-
Sectional Porn Tryster
Course Specialist The Pizza Man
Won Last Year The Pizza Man
Euros Lasix Tried & Tested Mondialiste, Deauville
Lasix First Time Tryster
UK Arbers World Approval 4s on the Morning Line UK 8s books
UK Arbers Wake Forest 5s on the Morning Line UK 14s books
US Arbers Mondialiste 8s Morning Line 4s UK Books.
Deep Closers Tryster, Wake Forest
Brisnet likely leader Dubai Sky
TFUS likely leader Take The Stand

Not sure there is a stand out among the Americans and in many ways these fringe grade 1 Euros and prices mean if I could pick 1 I would. Also there are 4 Europeans here and on faster ground one of them is probably good enough. I'd fear a peak The Pizza Man but he's been short this year so far. I see World Approval as best US horse but more in the way of consistency than definitively best - there of course is a debate that consistency = being better but I'll leave that for brighter than me. Wake Forest arguably over priced in UK but would seem to need pace which he may get. The Pizza Man usually does the job at Arlington and if it gets yielding his chances increase.

At US odds will be waiting on and fast ground and looking at Decorated Knight. Think he will be least attractive to US punters with no runs in Grade 1s and not having run in the USA before. Would have preferred Charlton to run him on Lasix. Also if the Morning Line on Mondialiste is near PMU that might make a decent saver or exotic pairing.

Timeform US forsee a fast pace and no excuses.... Good Luck.