One in a Million

August 12, 2015 02:01pm

It is hard to believe that a year has already come and gone since Hardest Core rallied to win the Arlington Million. It is even harder to believe that I will not there to witness the event in person this year. The Million and I are both products of the 80's, so we pretty much grew up together; it will certainly be strange not being in attendance.

This year’s card features plenty of storylines. There is a strong European contingent this year and many American turfers looking to hold their ground. Personally, I am expecting (and hoping) for a big day from Florent Geroux. If you’ve followed my blog, you know how much I like this jockey. His stock has been on the rise over the past couple of years and I think he has a chance to take another step forward on Saturday.

Geroux is one of the best jockeys on the turf this year. He is winning at a 20% rate and has racked up more than $1.5 million in earnings over the grass. At Arlington alone, his in-the-money percentage on the turf is an impressive 60%.

He will be seeking his third win in the Pucker Up aboard Giant Deduction. I was at Arlington the day this filly broke her maiden and was really impressed. She came thundering home late with Geroux aboard. Even though she came up short in her next start, I think both horse and jockey learned a lot for their next trip together. Trainer Chris Block plus Florent Geroux on the Arlington turf is certainly tough to pass up.

His longest shot of the day may be Mango Diva in the Beverly D., but I think she is a live shot here. She improved leaps and bounds in her second start here in the states. She seemed to prefer the Arlington turf and put one of the best runs of her career. I expect another solid effort in her second start over this course. Florent will be staying aboard this time out and will look to continue the European domination in this event since the turn of the century.

This article would not be complete if I did not talk about ‘da man! The Pizza Man has been a hometown hero. I love watching this horse run. He is 9 of 12 at Arlington and 14 of 22 overall. I do believe I’ve cheered like a little kid for each one of those starts. On Saturday, he has the opportunity to do what no other Illinois-bred has done, deliver a victory in the Arlington Million. Surprisingly, this will be Geroux’s first mount in the Million, but he has proven himself worthy of the challenge. These two have been partners for a long time and it would certainly be exciting to see them claim the top prize on Million Day!


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Meet Jason Wood

I was born with an endless love for horses and racing. My dad owned several horses, so my favorite memories are either at the track or in the barn. I always tell my friends that I could read a racing program before I knew the alphabet! The Illinois racing circuit was home for many years. The majestic weeping willows along the backstretch of Arlington soon gave way to the warm winter nights under the lights at Sam Houston. I spent some time in Maryland and now find myself back at Sam Houston Race Park! Just like a stakes winner, I seem to always be shipping somewhere new!

My dad has passed on to the big track in the sky, but this sport allows me to carry a piece of him with me every time I walk around the track. I feel like I am a winner every time I get to be a part of racing, even if my pick doesn’t leave the starting gate!

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