Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Arlington Million

I've studied this card for a couple days now. That doesn't ensure winners, but it means the horses have been racing in my head now for some time. Sometimes they slip into my dreams, but then they're not racing on poly they're racing on cotton candy or cheese so that form prolly won't transfer. Anyway, Million Day has arrived. It's drizzling and somewhere the sun is spraying some binaca in his mouth and getting ready to lay his rays down on Chi-town. He's gotta Lollapalooza to scorch.

The Europeans entered this year are B-list, but the Americans are top notch, so it looks like we may take back the flag. With the heat, Lasix becomes a bigger factor and is influencing my choice for Stotsfold, who seems to be just as good as Cima but at a fatter price. But that's for the gimmicks. I think it'll be an Yankee exacta.

Let's start with the undercard:

1. Block has been like the frog slowly boiling in the pot, but just when youre ready to stick a fork in him, he hops out and grabs a trophy and smacks your veal-colored face with it. If turf is graded soft, then I may give this guy a nod, but it's Wicked Style who gets a class break after placing or winning in last three. He has a Grade I victory, which is something no one in the Secretariet can lay claim to. If you're playing the pace game and see Wicked and the General locking horns with that Gator horse pushin em all wide, Caberneigh is the play.
Wicked Style-Caberneigh-General Charley

2. It's gonna be hard to swallow the odds Crowned Royal, a Gomez/Catman horse will yeild at AP, but it seems hard to avoid. I like the other Calhoun horse Early Final in this. He may be rounding back into form, but the polyrisk will be part of the long odds. I love his other sprinters (Mr. Nighlinger and Chamberlain Bridge). Red Baron could get less turbulence and winning trip with Grahm in the irons.
Crowned Royal-Early Final-Red Baron

3. I'm a Retap fan, but will we see the same Retap? It's a big risk for a small price. Fufty Too is the wise pick. Not sure what to put under yet. And look at that! Ramon Dominguez visits the colony. He fucking rocks! Horse in this one kinda sucks tho.
Fufty Too-Retap

4. Been waiting for ATM to reappear. He had nice company in last. Oak Motte bled and gets lasix after a great effort. Sky Tiger could do something.
ATM-Oak Motte-Sky Tiger

5. Deceptive Glory is no value but there's no value in a crumpled ticket and that's what you should have without him on top. Upperline and Surely Irish to finish out the frame of a race whose pace will melt.
Deceptive Glory-Upperline-Surely Irish

6. Pace makes the race and this one should have a lot. Pyrtania is the play for the pace, but I think Calabreses is gonna get this one with Romacaca. I know I'm defying my own logic, but this guy will take him some prize from the card today. Afternoon Stroll hit the Gozzip Girl buzzsaw in last. Pyrtania is on off a layoff but trainer does not race into form, she could take it.
Romacaca-Afternoon Stroll-Pyrtania

The Secretariet
Should be a contentious race with no Grade I winner in the field, only two Grade IIs (Reb and Black Bear Island) and a vulnerable favorite in Giant Oak. I still need proof that GO's late kick will be there at this distance. There was shoving and misbehavin in last, and the chart says "steadied" but if only this guy could find a lane and prove it, Giant Oak Nation would erupt in joy. The surprise entry Take the Points may defy his morning line and earn favortism. He's the only one with early speed and one of three with Grade I experience and even though he shows only 2 turf starts, that Pro-Ride at Santa Anita seems to play like the sod. On the downside, he also only shows two wins, but was beaten only 3/4s of a length in the Virginia Derby which came down to the wire. One of the others with Group or Grade I experience is Black Bear Island who was trounced by what looks to be one of the only three year olds in the same stratosphere, if not better than, Rachel Alexandra and that's the Irish colt Sea the Stars. Aidan O'Brien hasn't had much luck shipping to the States, but if the turf is anything south of firm, this guy is the pick.

Then there's Reb whose form reads, Head-Nose-Head in three consecutive victories. This guy has moxie as well as one of the best jockeys in America in Julien Leparoux who steered clear of trouble in last to best many in this field. He'll have to give more, but I like how he finds the wire. Another dark horse is from the coupled entry, Driving Snow has beaten Giant Oak, Black Bear Island and Quite a Handful in the past. He won a listed stakes in last and is in upform on return from an injury.

Take the Points
Giant Oak
Driving Snow
Black Bear Island

Beverly D
I'm a big fan of Pure Clan and so glad they went with a different colored hood in last. With masterful Leparoux on top she should get the wire. Alnadana is an impressive filly whose done well against the boys, but no lasix is a bad thing. Mad About You could surprise and be the bridesmaid as could Black Mamba. It's hard to know how good the Mamba will do on the Arlington turf. It's a lot different from California.

Pure Clan
Mad About You
Black Mamba

The Million
Garret Gomez on Recapturetheglory? Yes, it's Milliontime. Maybe in response to the European tote orgy last year, the States have stacked this race with the country's best. I'm talking about Einstein, Gio Ponti, and Precious Passion. Einstein has gotten tougher from his imperiled trip last year, but so has the Million. As an early contender for Horse of the Year, he got a brutal trip at Churchill Downs on the dirt, beaten by Macho Again who had a sneaky clean run on the outside and Asiatic Boy who was mounting a comeback. He's a lot better than that race suggests, but he faces the enfant terrible Gio Ponti who marks Christophe Clemente's attempt to shed the moniker top filly turf trainer for top turf trainer. Precious Passion guns it from the gate and this has worked well at places like Monmouth, Calder and Gulfstream, but will it work on AP's tiring turf? Will hee even make the gate? He can't run on anything but firm. If he does I expect him to land outside the frame. The horse that should really take to the Chicago sod is Gio Ponti. I expect Einstein to duel to the last steps; he always gives everything he's got and I'll box an exacta with him, but I think the morning line has it right. So now that I've fed you chalk I need to give my third place finsher who's a better buy. Yeah, I know takes a lot of guts to aim for the stars with the show horse, but I've long been a fan of Mr. Sidney who seems to like a yielding turf. This may be longer than his most desireable distance, but if Desormeax can get him to relax a bit he may be in a prime spot as they turn for home. And it will be all about finding an open lane in this race. With the exception of Recapturetheglory, this field is very tough and scouting that clear lane will be critical.

Gio Ponti

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