ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. — A field of 13 has been entered for Saturday’s 35th running of the Arlington Million.
From the rail out, with riders, the horses entered to run are Oak Brook (Santo Sanjur), Oscar Nominated (Florent Geroux), Enterprising (Corey Lanerie), Ghost Hunter (Edwin Gonzalez), Deauville (Ryan Moore), Fanciful Angel (Daniel Muscutt), The Pizza Man (Irad Ortiz), Kasaqui (James Graham), Scottish (William Buick), Beach Patrol (Joel Rosario), Divisidero (Julien Leparoux), Ascend (Jose Ortiz), and Mekhtaal (Frankie Dettori).
Kasaqui and Deauville finished second and third in the 2016 Million, and Deauville was installed by Arlington linemaker Joe Kristufek as the 7-2 morning-line favorite in the Million. The Pizza Man won the race in 2015 but finished sixth in the 2016 renewal. Scottish is a very live shipper for Godolphin and trainer Charlie Appleby, who is seeking his first Million win.
Mekhtaal, the other major overseas runner, fared very poorly by drawing post 13. In Arlington turf races over the Million’s 1 1/4 miles, posts 9-14 have combined to produce only six winners from 117 starters since 1990. Manhattan Stakes winner Ascend is marooned in post 12.
Ten fillies and mares were entered in the Grade 1, $750,000 Beverly D., which has come up a really strong race this year. From the rail out, with riders, they are Dacita (Irad Ortiz), Prado’s Sweet Ride (Carlos Marquez Jr.), Kitten’s Roar (Geroux), Dona Bruja (Dylan Cannon), Grand Jete (Rosario), Zipessa (Dettori), Rainha da Bateria (Jose Ortiz), Sarandia (Andreas Starke), Hawksmoor (Leparoux), and Rain Goddess (Moore).
Dona Bruja, the Argentine import who has shown star quality in her two U.S. starts, was installed as the 7-2 morning-line favorite. Dacita, one of three for trainer Chad Brown along with the exciting Grand Jete and Rainha da Bateria, is the 4-1 second choice. Likely pacesetter Hawksmoor is 9-2, while Rain Goddess, Aidan O’Brien’s filly, is 5-1. Rain Goddess is seeking to become just the second 3-year-old to win the Beverly D., and her chances took a hit with an outside draw. Posts 10-14 in 1 3/16-mile turf races at Arlington since 1990 have produced only five winners from 68 runners.
Post position should not mean as much in the Grade 1, $400,000 Secretariat for 3-year-olds over 1 1/4 miles because only six were entered, but in a key matchup of front-running colts, Oscar Performance fared well drawing outside Sonic Boom. From the rail out, the Secretariat entrants are Afandem (Dettori), Sonic Boom (Leparoux), Permian (Buick), Oscar Performance (Jose Ortiz), Gorgeous Kitten (Geroux), and Taj Mahal (Moore).
Oscar Performance was installed as the 8-5 favorite over 9-5 Permian, who has shipped from England, but the divide between the two could be greater at post time. Permian led every step except the last in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris in his most recent start, but is pace-adaptable, assistant trainer Charlie Johnston said, and could sit off the leaders Saturday. Taj Mahal, O’Brien’s chance, has been used as a pacemaker for stablemates a couple times this year, but he is likely to be ridden from just off the pace Saturday by top jockey Moore.
The entrants in the Grade 3, $250,000 American St. Leger over just short of 1 3/4 miles are Keystoneforvictory, Taghleeb, Crewman, Alpha Warrior, Tobias, Applicator, Postulation, and Bullards Alley. Taghleeb is the 2-1 morning-line favorite over Keystoneforvictory, and both horses are trained by Mike Maker, who won last year’s renewal with Da Big Hoss.