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Zipse At The Track

30 Years of the Arlington Million Part 2

Little Mike 615 X 400 Million
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

Popular victories by former Secretariat winners, Awad and Marlin, were followed by an unfortunate two-year hiatus as Arlington Park battled for survival to close the 20th century. The Arlington Million would, as it had done all along, persevere. In fact, it came back with gusto. The powerful trio of Juddmonte Farm, Bobby Frankel, and Jerry Bailey won two of the first three editions of the the 21st century, with talented imports Chester House and Beat Hollow. Gusto would soon be replaced by oddity, though, as two consecutive winners would be disqualified from first place money.


Who can ever forget the 2003 running of the Million when Storming Home and Gary Stevens appeared to be home free nearing the finish line. Instead, the horse spooked and started running sideways. Stevens fell off as Storming Home bothered several horses. Stevens went from a sure winner to badly injured, while Godolphin's Sulamani was placed first.


One year later, it was the talented European, Powerscourt, who powerfully roared by the field early in the stretch on the way to an easy victory. The only problem being, his wide run on the turn became a rail skimming trip late. In between, the Irish horse cut right across on his closest competition. The stewards would give this Million to Kicken Kris...

Powerscourt redeemed himself with another strong, and this time, uneventful victory in the 2005 Arlington Million. With the consecutive disqualifications in the rearview mirror, fan favorites began to flourish. When the speedy eight-year-old gelding, The Tin Man, kicked home down the Arlington Park turf course, more than a few, in the large Suburban Chicago crowd, went home a winner. While The Tin Man's score was a popular one, it probably could not match that of the two-time Eclipse Award winner, Gio Ponti.


Three times, the consistent son of Tale of the Cat would take his talents to Arlington for the turfy ten furlongs of the Million. While he fell just short in both 2010 and 2011, his first try, in Chicago's champion making event, was all about Gio Ponti...

It was a pair of Europeans, Debussy and Cape Blanco, who denied Gio Ponti in his quest for multiple Millions. Last year, however, an American trained horse would once again allow his connections to hoist the trophy for the home side. The gutsy gelding, Little Mike, never had anything handed to him. Respect for him came slowly. In 2012, he needed to win big race, after big race, to finally gain a nation's respect. One of his biggest wins came when he led a slew of Euros on a merry chase... 


Little Mike will be back to try again on Saturday, and I could not think of a better way for the next thirty years of the Arlington Million to begin. 


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Older Comments about 30 Years of the Arlington Million Part 2...

I think most of the time (and with INFLATED purses here) the connections don't try outside of Keeneland, Gulfstream and the Fair Grounds
ILTR- Marketing Mix is Canadian Bred ;) I know you know and probably where talking American Based horses. Not very often we can breed a talented G1 filly to run down south.
I meant to add this when I first posted this rant but it slipped my mind, I don't think the Kittens are without a very legit chance in the Secretariat Stakes, also.
This is my take on the races at Alington on Saturday. This is only my opinion and you don't have to hate me just because you might disagree with me: American St. Leger: I think Dandino wins this race and wins it easily. He's been 1st of 2nd in 5 of his last 6 races and he's shown the ability to stay this trip in the past. Secretariat Stakes: If he's at his best I think First Cornerstone will take some beating, but I think Alain De Royer-Dupre's colt, Visiyani, has to be respected also. Dupre insist we've yet to see Visiyani at his best and he's the winner and 2nd place finisher of the Secretariat Stakes the past 2 years. Beverly D. Stakes: This is the race I think the American horses have the best chance of winning. I think Marketing Mix goes one place better this year. Duntle, shipping over from Ireland is a very gifted filly but has races almost exclusively at a mile, so the step up to 9-1/2f is a big unknown for her. Dank probably has the best form of the Euro fillies at this trip, but I don't think she's quite good enough to beat Marketing Mix. Arlington Million: Sorry, too much European muscle this year. I predict the Million will be a European super-fecta: 1st-Grandeur 2nd-The Apache 3rd-Mull of Killough 4th-Hunter's Light/Side Glance?. I'll count The Apache as European since Mike De Kock shipped him to Chicago from his Newmarket base in the UK.
  • jonquil · Like the predictions, esp. Marketing Mix and 100% agree on Dandino personally. He's such a great horse and I think he's got a good chance, too. · 1353 days ago

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

As Editor of Horse Racing Nation, Brian authors a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and adds his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves on the Board of Directors of The Exceller Fund. Brian also consults for leading contest site Derby Wars, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 
A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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