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HRN Original Blog:
The Kentucky Derby Post

International Festival of Racing: North America vs. Europe

Real Solution DQ 615 X 400
Photo: Four Footed Fotos


The turf course at Arlington Park is an international battle ground. Based on where each of the past Arlington Million winners were bred the official score is North America 19, Europe 12. However, since Arlington Park reopened after being shut down for two years in 1998-99, the score is different.


Specifically, over the last thirteen editions the Europeans have the advantage - a one victory lead and an official score of 7-6. (5 bred in the US, 1 in Canada).


What makes this weekend so unique is that the entries are not specific to one country in Europe or state in the U.S. While Kentucky is king, a total of four states and five countries have been represented by past winners in this, the feature race on the best day of turf racing in North America.
















Another prime example of just how diverse the field of starters can be was last August. In the 2013 Arlington Million a total of 13 horses made their way to Chicago from as far away as Ireland, Great Britain, Argentina, and Florida, to make the most of the opportunity and hopefully gain an automatic bid into the Breeders’ Cup.


But down the stretch it was a Pennsylvania-bred versus an older horse bred in South Africa. The two were all out down the stretch, bumped a few times, and went head to head all the way down to the wire. Although their performance was thrilling it also led the stewards to a very tough decision. In the end, Real Solution was ruled the victor as The Apache (SAF) was disqualified as the winner and declared the runner-up.



A homebred by Kitten's Joy – Reachfortheheavens, Real Solution's path to his very first Graded Stakes win was also a very long trip. Rome, Italy is where this champion trained by Chad Brown and owned by Kenneth Ramsely would begin. And that is also where he would remain until he made his first North American start in May of 2013.

But life must not be so bad on this side of the pond. Since that first race at Belmont Park, Real Solution has remained grounded in North America and become very fond of the turf in Elmont, NY (2nd G1 Man O’ War Stakes, 1st G1 Manhattan Stakes). How much he likes the grass at Arlington Park however will only be determined after he returns. The good news is that it will likely be on Saturday. Real Solution is currently pre-entered for the 2014 Arlington Million, his 2nd start in Chicago. It will also give him the chance to become the first repeat Million winner since John Henry in 1984.


Pre-Entries for the 32nd Running of the Arlington Million


For the ladies, the score is not even close as the Europeans currently own this race. Since 2000 only two winners of the Beverly D. were bred in North America (Snow Polina, Dynaforce). What’s interesting about the pair of Kentucky-breds is that they were both trained by Bill Mott and neither of them began their racing career in North America. In fact, both raced in Europe in their juvenile seasons and 3-year-old campaigns before finally making a start in the US at age 4. Similar to Real Solution, once they arrived on this side of the Atlantic they remained here.


While The Apache (SAF) just missed his shot at making him the first South Africa bred winner of the Arlington Million his origin of breeding was represented in the last ten editions of the Beverly D. as were four other European countries.













Will a European bred win the Beverly D. for the fifth consecutive time in 2014?


Pre-Entries for the 25th Running of the Beverly D. (Grade 1) $750,000 

The third and final Grade 1 race on Saturday’s card is the 2014 Secretariat Stakes. This one on the other hand is dominated by horses bred in North America. Only three horses bred outside of this United States have ever won this turf race for 3-yr-olds.


It has been announced and confirmed by Ken Ramsey that last year’s winner, Admiral Kitten, paternal half-brother to Real Solution, will skip the G1 Arlington Million and opt instead for the Listed $400,000 American St. Ledger, also on Saturday.


So, the battle for global bragging rights continues on the grass at Arlington Park this weekend. The last clean sweep of the three Grade 1 races was scored by the Europeans in 2011. Is North America ready to do the same in 2014? If not, which North American bred horses are you betting on to win?


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About Me

Meet Bryan Brinkmeyer – Chicago, IL


Growing up I spent a lot of days in the Bluegrass State. Although I was born and raised north of the mighty Ohio River in Southwest Indiana, I was still next door to thoroughbred racing; Ellis Park, Henderson, KY 


Likewise, the first Saturday in May was always a celebrated family event. As my two brothers and I got older the battle for picking the next winner began to heat up. In 2000, I made my inaugural Kentucky Derby appearance. Since then I’ve made it an annaual tradition because there’s no other city or weekend in the racing world like Louisville, KY on Derby Day. 


Although the story of a Kentucky Derby winner is legendary, following a champions trail is what The Kentucky Derby Post is all about. The coverage begins when the 2-yr-old preps commence but it does not quit racing until all results are official, the field is set, the picks are made and the roses are worn. But that’s not all because the road doesn’t stop on the First Saturday in May. The elusive quest for the next Triple Crown has reached 35 years so I invite my readers to remain in the saddle through all three legs as we await the next Champion of Champions. Cheers.





2013 Kentucky Derby