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BrianZipse's Blog

The Million Draw

Gio Ponti top story.

On perhaps the most beautiful day of the entire summer, I had the pleasure of attending the draw for the 2011 Arlington Million today. The event was held for the first time in the world-famous WGN studios in Chicago. Walking through the building, I was quickly struck by a legal flashback, as the draw was held right next door to the set for the Bozo the Clown show. If you've spent any of your childhood in Chicago, you know what a big deal that is. After peeking in on Bozo, I was greeted with a festive studio #2. There I found a large television room was staged with pure class. Nothing less should be expected from an event put on by Arlington's patriarch, Richard Duchossois.


I was feeling good just being there, and even better when a well dressed young lady told me I looked like a million bucks. Flattered, I said thank you, but did not realize until later that her compliment had more to do with me actually standing next to a million dollars, than my day's attire. Besides the impressive stack of cash, Arlington and WGN did the event right with the big draw board for each race, the race trophies, and a well presented podium for drawing the post positions. Not to mention the good, hot food, and drinks set out for the horses' connections, media, Arlington and WGN personel. Of course, this being something that always pleases me.


I had a chance to discuss the respective fields for three of the biggest turf races in the United States with Arlington Park's oddsmaker, Joe Kristufek. Kristufek, of Horse Player Now, told me that in the Million, he went back and forth in deciding on a favorite, before finally deciding on Cape Blanco as a slight choice over Gio Ponti. He explained the deciding factor being the expected pace scenario once again playing into the hands of the Irish import, just as it did in the recent Man O' War Stakes. In the Beverly D., Kristufek favored the two overseas shippers, Stacelita and River Jetez, and gave the nod to the French filly based on her excellent race stateside in the United Nations Handicap. Finally in the Secretariat, I learned that Air Support, the recent winner of the Virginia Derby was not making the trip, but Treasure Beach was. The Irish Derby winner, brings as strong credentials as any European ever to come for the Secretariat, and Kristufek tabbed him as a 2-1 choice over a couple of American stalwarts in Banned and Willcox Inn.


Speaking of Willcox Inn, I saw the boisterous celebration after the colt's impressive win in the American Derby, and was pleased to see a little more of that enthusiasm today at the draw. All In Stable is not a shy ownership group, and when their star colt, bidding to become only the 4th ever horse to sweep the Mid-America Triple, drew the #9 hole in the Secretariat, it was met with several, "Hoots" and "Yesses". It's always fun to see people having fun in the game I love.


Without further adieu, here are the fields for the Arlington Million, Beverly D. and Secretariat Stakes...

29th Running of the ARLINGTON MILLION (Grade I)
$1,000,000 Guaranteed
To Be Run on Saturday, August 13, 2011 - Race 10 - Post time 5:15 CDT
for Three-Year-Olds & Older
One Mile & One Quarter (On The Turf)
12-1 1 RAHYSTRADA Robert E. Courtney, Jr. Byron G. Hughes Sheldon Russell
12-1 2 TAJAAWEED Shadwell Farm LLC (Rick Nichols) Daniel C. Peitz James Graham
30-1 3 DEAN'S KITTEN Kenneth L. & Sarah K. Ramsey Michael J. Maker Julien R. Leparoux
10-1 4 ZACK HALL (FR) Mathieu Offenstadt, Sylvain Fargeon, Patrick Offenstadt and Mikel Delzangles Mikel Delzangles Christophe Soumillon
2-1 5 GIO PONTI Castleton Lyons (Shane T. A. Ryan) Christophe Clement Ramon A. Dominguez
50-1 6 PROCEED BEE William Stiritz Scott Becker Christopher A. Emigh
9-5 7 CAPE BLANCO (IRE) Mrs. Fitriani Hay, Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier & Michael B. Tabor Aidan P. O'Brien Jamie P. Spencer
6-1 8 MISSION APPROVED Naipaul & Terikchand Chatterpaul Naipaul Chatterpaul Jose L. Espinoza
8-1 9 WIGMORE HALL (IRE) Mark B. Hawtin Michael L. W. Bell Hayley Turner
50-1 10 GENERAL PERFECT Pasquale Vizzoni Glenn R. Thompson Garrett K. Gomez

22nd Running of the BEVERLY D. (Grade I)
$750,000 Guaranteed
To Be Run on Saturday, August 13, 2011- Race 9 - Post Time 4:33 CDT
for Fillies & Mares, Three-Year-Olds & Older
One Mile & Three Sixteenths (On The Turf)
3-1 1 STACELITA (FR) Martin S. Schwartz Chad C. Brown Ramon A. Dominguez
20-1 2 CHECK THE LABEL Lael Stables (Roy Jackson) H. Graham Motion Julien R. Leparoux
6-1 3 FANTASIA (GB) Augustin Stable (George Strawbridge) Jonathan E. Sheppard Rajiv Maragh
20-1 4 UPPERLINE Stone Farm (Arthur Hancock, III), John H. Adger, Oak Crest Farm (Jack & Theresa Hodge) & Michael Stidham Michael Stidham James Graham
10-1 5 DUBAWI HEIGHTS (GB) Neville Callaghan, Clodagh McStay, Michael V. Magnier & Annabel Wyatt Simon Callaghan Joel Rosario
4-1 6 RIVER JETEZ (SAF) Barbara & Cedrick Amm & Marsh Shirtliff Michael F. de Kock Christophe Soumillon
9-2 7 CHEETAH (GB) Robert Scarborough Christophe Clement Garrett K. Gomez
10-1 8 PACHATTACK Michael V. Deegan Gerard A. Butler Florent Geroux
12-1 9 ÉCLAIR DE LUNE (GER) Richard L. Duchossois Ronald L. McAnally Junior Alvarado
30-1 10 ROMIN ROBIN Butterfly Stable (Larry Slavin, et al) David Kassen Jozbin Z. Santana
10-1 11 NEVER RETREAT Team Block (David, Patricia & Ryan Block) Chris M. Block Shaun Bridgmohan


35th Running of the SECRETARIAT STAKES (Grade I)
$400,000 Guaranteed
To Be Run on Saturday, August 13, 2011 - Race 8 - Post Time 3:52 CDT
for Three-Year-Olds 
One Mile & One Quarter (On The Turf)

10-1 1 NEWSDAD James S. Karp William I. Mott Joel Rosario
10-1 2 ZIYARID (IRE) His Highness the Aga Khan's Studs, Ltd (Pat Downes, Director) Alain de Royer-Dupre Christophe P. Lemaire
2-1 3 TREASURE BEACH (GB) Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier & Michael B. Tabor Aidan P. O'Brien Colm O'Donoghue
15-1 4 CRIMSON CHINA Team Valor International (Barry Irwin) H. Graham Motion Rajiv Maragh
8-1 5 CASINO HOST Gary & Mary West Stables, Inc. (Gary & Mary West) Chad C. Brown Ramon A. Dominguez
15-1 6 SUNTRACER Team Block (David, Patricia & Ryan Block) Chris M. Block Shaun Bridgmohan
3-1 7 BANNED Glen Hill Farm (Leonard Lavin) Thomas F. Proctor Garrett K. Gomez
15-1 8 DERBY KITTEN Kenneth L. & Sarah K. Ramsey Michael J. Maker Julien R. Leparoux
9-2 9 WILLCOX INN All In Stable (Marette Farrell, Martin Nixon, Ron Lepinski & Al Lepinski) Michael Stidham Robby Albarado
50-1 10 L'AIGLON Raut LLC (Gennadi Dorochenko) Gennadi Dorochenko Florent Geroux


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