Two turf juggernauts top short field of 7 in Arlington Million
BY BRIAN SANDALOW For Sun-Times Media August 13, 2014 9:27PM
Ryan Moore rides Magician to victory in the Breeder's Cup Turf race at the Santa Anita Racetrack in Arcadia, California, on November 2, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Frederic J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
Updated: August 13, 2014 9:38PM
The 32nd running of the Arlington Million has the race’s defending champion and the 2013 winner of one of the world’s most important turf competitions.
What it lacks is a big field.
Magician, who won the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Turf, will start from the No. 3 post Saturday and was listed as the 7-5 morning-line favorite Wednesday when post positions were revealed. Real Solution, last year’s Million winner when The Apache was disqualified after the race, is the second choice at 5-2 and will break from the sixth spot.
Beyond that, this year’s field of seven ties for the smallest in race history. Only three other times (2000, 2007, 2008) has the Million started with only seven horses.
“I think it’s because of the competitive nature of the field,” Arlington International Racecourse general manager Tony Petrillo said. “You look at those horses, everybody’s a graded winner. People are ducking away from that and they’re looking [to] race elsewhere, so they have probably an easier race as opposed to coming into this race.
“These are multiple grade winners, not just a grade winner. That’s the big difference.”
After Magician and Real Solution, the field includes third choice Smoking Sun (9-2) and 6-1 pick Up With The Birds. Longer shots Side Glance (8-1), Finnegans Wake (12-1) and Hardest Core (20-1) also are entered.
The two biggest names are the favorite and the second choice. Perhaps the strength at the top kept other competitors away.
“Those two horses in there are the highest quality of horses in the country, and possibly even in Europe,” Petrillo said.
Along with the Million, the draws for three other stakes Saturday were revealed.
Stephanie’s Kitten drew the fifth position in the Beverly D. and is a slight morning-line favorite at 7-2. At 8-5, Adelaide is the top choice in the Secretariat Stakes and will start in the sixth spot. Defending champion Dandino is in Post 2 for the American St. Leger and is the early 3-1 pick.