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HRN Original Blog:
Head Heart & Hooves

Million Day All-Stakes Pick Five!

    If 11 IOYA BIGTIME beats me again this time, at lease he'll do so in the first leg rather than the last. That being said, clearly favored 7 JAKKALBERRY has kept some excellent company lately in Italy, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, and the UK. He ran respectably in the Sheema Classic and has faced Sea Moon, Dunaden, and others. Jakkalberry has traveled the world to face Group 1 company and is the clear favorite in this 400K ungraded stakes.
    10 ZUIDER ZEE comes out if the 2 11/16 mile Queen Alexandra, won by Simenon, who also took the Ascot Stakes earlier in the Royal Ascot meet. This is his first race outside of Europe for trainer John Gosden, who will have him ready to go. He is my primary backup to Jakkalberry, who I will single on some tickets.
    The US threat appears to be 6 SUNTRACER. He has been good at Arlington since rejoining Chris Block's barn this year. Clearly, though, he is a cut below the aforementioned European horses, although he is very usable underneath the exotic wagers. I may key Jakkalberry over Zuider Zee and Suntracer in exactas depending on how the payouts look. Otherwise, I will box the two Euros.

    I love 8 SILVER MAX and have bet him since the Transylvania. With no complaints thus far, I will not stop now. He handled ten furlongs last out over the yielding Colonial turf and is, once again, a deserving 9-5 favorite and single in a small pick five. I will be spreading in the Hatoof so I will have to take some early stands. Unfortunately, the favorites look to be aptly chosen in these first two legs.
    I would go three-deep if I was richer, adding 7 BAYRIR and 2 SUMMER FRONT. Bayrir is three-for-four in France including a Group 2 victory. His figures have increased in every career start and he is a clear threat to Silver Max. If he fires, he could get closer to Max than any other has recently. As for Summer Front, I have heard enough people who I respect that like this horse that I have to consider him here. He may not have beaten much, but he is five-for-five on the turf. We will see what the War Front colt is made of today.

    I do not have a good handle on this race. As such, I will use six horses here. 8 FREEDOM REIGNS has won her last three and looks the one to beat. 4 TOXIS may also be dangerous if she likes the turf. 2 LEADING ASTRAY, 6 LADY MICAELA, 7 SILVER HUSTLER, and 10 SOONERETTE all could win. This is a race I would consider buying.

    The Beverly D is an intriguing race. 2 I'M A DREAMER has run in three Group 1's and nearly win the G1 E. P. Taylor at Woodbine last year. Now she ships to Arlington having kept some very good company as of late.
    5 MYSTICAL STAR took the lead last out and did not relinquish it to Aruna at ten furlongs. The lightly-raced Ghostzapper filly has run very well this year and may be ready to take a Grade 1. It will be interested to see if she goes for the lead again, contends with Romacaca, gets a clear front-running position, or sits off the pace. As long as she doesn't start like she did in the Sheepshead Bay, she should be heard from.
    8 MARKETING MIX is three-for-four in Grade 2's and took second in her only Grade 1 attempt. With the exception of the Distaff Turf mile, she has not run a bad race in her career. She represents value if her odds remain at the 3-1 morning line and I would leave her off multi-race tickets at your own peril.

    I will also go three-deep in the Million. As for the domestics, 2 BOISTEROUS looks to be the best of them. Much like Marketing Mix in the last, Boisterous is a very consistent runner. He has faced some tough company and nearly won the Arlington Handicap after a very wide trip. The classy five-year-old has posted some good works leading up to this.
    5 COLOMBIAN gets some reprieve after facing So You Think and Carlton House in the Prince of Wales last out. His last three races have been at nine furlongs and he beat Twice Over at the distance three back. I trust John Gosden and will not discount Colombian today.
    9 CRACKERJACK KING is the buzz horse here. Seven-for-nine lifetime, he won a Group 1 in Italy and then ran up the track against Nathaniel and the aforementioned Twice Over in England. This horse could be a freak, as Carlo Vaccarezza says, but he still may not turn in his best performance.
    I like 4 LITTLE MIKE very much, but I don't think he can wire this field going ten furlongs, but stranger things have happened, and the front-running gelding is very dangerous when he can relax up there.
    I also leave 8 WIGMORE HALL out with trepidation. His two US starts were very good, but he has not had much success lately in Europe and Asia. Perhaps he will enjoy his return to the states?

 

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Meet Alex Fawell 

Unlike many, I did not grow up with horseracing. My first time at the races was the 2008 Kentucky Derby. I bet on Colonel John. That fall, I had the good fortune to go to England, where I visited Ascot and Kempton. When I returned to the U.S., I was hooked. I started reading handicapping books, studying historic sire lines, watching races and going to Portland Meadows regularly. While the purses there were small, I was able to be close to the action and see firsthand the day-to-day operations of an average American racetrack.

 

Last year I moved home to Chicago. I went to Arlington for the first time this year. In the interim, I have devoted my time to understanding all aspects of horseracing  I hope to provide unique isights on handicapping perspectives and multifaceted analyses on the state of horseracing today. I will strive to write with an open mind and a willingness to learn through the writing process. I will not claim to be an expert, but I will read thoroughly, write carefully, and be honest.

 

To me, the all-time greats are Kelso, John Henry, Round Table and Yeats. Horses I like because they have won me money include Raven's Pass, Alternation, and I'll Have Another. The greatest horse I have even seen live is Zenyatta. I also enjoy the Bears, the Bulls, the White Sox, the Blackhawks, Mexican food, good Bourbon, and old-time music - specifically that played on the 5-string banjo. Thanks for reading!