Arlington Million Looks Wide Open for Illinois’ Biggest Race Day
Saturday, August 13 is Illinois’ biggest day of horse racing. It’s also the best day of turf racing in the United States. The Arlington International Festival of Racing features six stakes races Saturday headlined by the Grade I Arlington Million; a tough turf test at 1 ¼ miles that annually attracts strong international runners. That includes the Irish-bred favorite in this year’s 13 horse field that looks wide open.
Tryster (IRE) breaks from near the outside in post 12 as the 7-2 favorite. He’s top class on the grass and won at 10 furlongs earlier this year in Dubai and then finished third in the $6 million Dubai Turf at Meydan. He won five in a row last year to start the season and breezed an easy four furlongs over the Arlington Polytrack this week.
World Approval (9/2) won the Grade I United Nations at Monmouth July 3. The great gray and son of Norther Afleet has top tactical speed and is in great form. He won his only race over the Arlington track last year in the American Derby, and the Mark Casse-trained 4-year-old is America’s best hope in the Arlington Million. Florent Geroux, who won last year’s Arlington Million winner, takes the return call from post 11.
Mondialiste (IRE) has 14 of 20 in the money finishes with 4 wins, including the Woodbine Mile last year. He was second in the Breeders’ Cup Mile the following month at 17-1 behind the great Tepin, but has not been sharp this year until second last out at a longer distance at York in the UK. He’s a classy competitor but offers no value at his 5-1 odds in the Arlington Million.
Deauville (IRE) is 6/1 and the only three-year-old in the field. He was beaten in four consecutive stakes races in Europe before an impressive win in the Belmont Derby July 9 in his U.S. debut. But he too is over-priced based on that performance and now faces older class horses.
Wake Forest (6-1) has won 7-of-14 races including the Grade I Man ‘o War at Belmont May 14. He followed that race with a closing third place finish carrying high weight as the favorite in the 1 3/8 miles United Nations at Monmouth finishing 3-lengths behind winner World Approval. His U.S. debut was in last year’s Arlington Million when he finished sixth as a 16-1 shot. America’s top turf trainer Chad Brown has a better shot with him this year, but his last race is your form guide.
The Pizza Man became the first Illinois-bred to win the Arlington Million last year and is 10-1 as the returning champ. A winner of 16-of-29 races, the Pizza Man has failed to deliver in three starts this year with a fourth place his best following a thrilling 4-way photo finish July 9 over this track in the Stars and Stripes. He’ll take some money as the local favorite with Mike Smith aboard.
Decorated Knight (GB) took a 3 furlong trot over the track August 10 and won his last race July 14 in Ireland. He’s 8-for-10 in the money with four wins and he’s an interesting invader at 10-1 who’s in solid form with good tactical speed.
The Arlington Million is Race 9 and one of six stakes races Saturday, August 13 at Arlington Park. Post time is 12:15 p.m. ET with the Million set for 5:09 p.m.