Finnegans Wake: A horse for the course in the Arlington Million
BY BRIAN SANDALOW For Sun-Times Media August 15, 2014 9:18PM
Magician (with Ryan Moore up during his victory in the Breeders’ Cup Turf) comes into the Arlington Million as the horse with the best credentials among a field of seven. | Getty Images
Updated: September 17, 2014 6:14AM
Saturday’s Arlington Million has two horses with the biggest names and well-earned recognition.
Magician, last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf winner, and Real Solution, the 2013 Million champion, have the most acclaim. They are the most successful in the seven-horse field and the ones that will be watched the closest during the 1 1/4-mile turf race.
But that doesn’t mean they’re the only two with a chance.
“They are probably a little more accomplished on paper than we are but we’re a horse that’s definitely going in the right direction,” said Dale Romans, the trainer for Finnegans Wake. “I’m not saying they’re going in the wrong direction, but I’m positive about which way my horse is going.”
The defending champion, however, is going strong as well.
Since winning in 2013 after The Apache’s disqualification for interference in the stretch, Real Solution has shown more progress. The 5-year-old won the Manhattan at Belmont in June, finished third at the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic last September and came in second at this May’s Man ‘O War.
It’s also gotten Real Solution more respect as he tries to become a repeat winner.
“The horse deserves some recognition,” trainer Chad Brown said. “He’s a top horse, a multiple-grade winner and it would be a terrific feat if he could win back-to-back Millions.”
Romans, meanwhile, has good reason to be confident at Arlington about Finnegans Wake, who was a 12-1 morning-line choice and will break from Post 4. Earlier this year, he won the Grade III Arlington Handicap and before that finished fourth at last year’s Million and came in second at the 2012 Grade I Secretariat Stakes.
“There are horses for courses. He’s a horse for this course and nobody can tell you why,” Romans said. “I have no idea but he likes it, and I don’t argue with him because there’s some good races here.”
For that reason, Romans likes the 5-year-old’s chances against accomplished competitors such as Magician and Real Solution. It also helped guide the decision of whether Saturday’s race was a good choice to schedule.
“It definitely helps the decision whether to come here or take a lesser path,” Romans said. “When we do the positives and the negatives it’s one of the big positives.”