The Niarchos Family has had its fair share of success on the Arlington
International Racecourse grass - including a win in the 2002 Breeders’
Cup Mile with Domedriver - and looks to return to that glory this year
in the Grade I Arlington Million with Smoking Sun
. An American-bred,
French-trained and most recently Singapore-raced charge, Smoking Sun was
recently a good second in the Group I Singapore Airlines International
Cup at Kranji in May.
Earlier in the year, the middle distance specialist won the Group II
Prix d’Harcourt and was a notable fourth behind dueling champions Cirrus
Des Aigles and Treve in the Group I Prix Ganay. Both of those efforts
came in April at Longchamp. The Million has long been on the Pascal
Bary trainee’s radar and the possibility grows progressively likely as
we amble toward Aug. 16
By American stallion Smart Strike, Smoking Sun would be decorated
trainer Bary’s second attempt at the Million. In 2009, Bary sent
subsequent Dubai World Cup victor Gloria de Campeao to a ninth-place
finish. The long history the Niarchos Family has with Arlington
stretches back to the sixth running of the Million in 1986, where Maria
Niarchos’ Pennine Walk finished third behind Estrapade.
Final preparatory events for the Million will be coming in droves
starting this weekend with the Group I Eclipse Stakes at Sandown in
England and the Grade I United Nations at Monmouth Park. Kenneth and
Sarah Ramsey’s Charming Kitten looks to maintain his winning ways in the
1 3/8-miles U.N. after taking the inaugural Belmont Gold Cup last out.
In his way will be none other than 2013 Million third-place finisher
Side Glance, who is preparing for a possible return to Chicago with a
good showing in New Jersey.
The Eclipse will feature a clash between Paul Smith’s sophomore star and
English Derby runner-up Kingston Hill against the likes of Andrew Lloyd
Weber’s star mare The Fugue, Saeed Manana’s Group I 2000 Guineas victor
Night of Thunder and Coolmore’s multiple Grade I winner and multiple
Group I-placed ex-patriot Verrazano. While the first two are unlikely
to come Stateside, a good showing by Verrazano could conceivably lead to
a return to America.