Photo: Four Footed Fotos
A disqualification in the Arlington Million … it’s happened before and today it happened again. Ken and Sarah Ramsey completed a day of turf domination, by entering the winner’s circle in Chicago’s premier race, but they had to wait a lot longer than the two minutes plus it took to complete the 31st edition of the Million. After a spirited late stretch battle in which the South African invader, The Apache appeared to bravely hold off the rallying Real Solution, it soon became a matter for the stewards.
Alan Garcia, rider of the second place finisher immediately lodged an objection against the Christophe Soumillon ridden winner. Further review of the head-on replay revealed Soumillon whipping his charge left-handed while his mount drifted out from the rail to four or five paths off, by the time he hit the wire. In the process, he impeded Real Solution enough for the stewards to keep the numbers flashing for about five minutes, before finally reversing the decision, and giving Real Solution the win.
A four-year-old Pennsylvania homebred for the Eclipse Award winning couple, Real Solution won for the fourth time in only eight lifetime starts. The Million was also only his third start in the United States. He had finished 4th in the Fort Marcy and 3rd in the Manhattan in his first two starts stateside. Sent off as the fifth choice in the 13-horse field, Real Solution paid $18.80 to his happy backers. The Apache, who finished a head in front of Real Solution, completed the 1 ¼ miles on the firm Arlington turf in 2:00.99.
For Ken and Sarah Ramsey, the placing of Real Solution, as the Arlington Million victor, capped a remarkable day. Earlier in the card, they won the Grade 1 Secretariat with Admiral Kitten, as well as, a strong allowance/optional claimer on the turf with Coalport. Several hundred miles to the east, they also scored in another grade 1 race on the turf when Big Blue Kitten rolled home in Saratoga’s Sword Dancer. A jubilant Ken Ramsey called it, “right up there with winning the Dubai World Cup (in 2005 with Roses in May).”
On the other side of the spectrum, an obviously disappointed Soumillon felt like he was on the best horse. “As you can see, we were the better horse, but he got scared by the screen and shifted out. You see my horse was on the lead and got a little unbalanced, the screen scared him, but we were the best horse.”
The disqualification of The Apache from first, in the Million, was the third in the premier turf event. Both Storming Home and Powerscourt were taken down in back-to-back years in 2003 and 2004.