American Patriot among those looking to break Euro stranglehold on Secretariat

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

August 10th, 2016

Europeans, in particular those trained by Aidan O'Brien, have dominated recent renewals of the Secretariat (G1) at Arlington. That might not be the case when the $400,000, 1 1/4-mile grass test for three-year-olds is renewed on Saturday.

O'Brien has won three of the past five runnings of the Secretariat, including the last two with Adelaide and Highland Reel. However, with the stable's Belmont Derby (G1) winner Deauville taking on his elders in the Arlington Million (G1), the Coolmore connections will have just Long Island Sound in the Secretariat.

Though he kicked off the season with three straight wins, Long Island Sound was only third to fellow sophomore Hawkbill in the Tercentenary (G3) at Royal Ascot, and last time was 2 1/4 lengths sixth to stable companion Deauville in the Belmont Derby. In other words, he does not appear as imposing as the yard's other Secretariat representatives in recent years.

Beach Patrol, third in the Belmont Derby and runner-up to Camelot Kitten in the American Turf (G2) in May, might arguably be the leading American-based candidate, but the rapidly improving WinStar charge American Patriot merits a long long. Only 10th in the American Turf in his stakes debut, the colt has rebounded to win twice in the interim, including the Kent (G3) at Delaware Park in course-record time for nine furlongs on the turf.

Those who've contested the Secretariat's leading local preps, the Arlington Classic (G3) and American Derby (G3), figure prominently. Surgical Strike won the Classic by a head over subsequent American Derby hero One Mean Man, and then acquitted himself when fifth, beaten two lengths, in the Belmont Derby.

Oscar Nominated, second by a half-length in the American Derby, captured the Black Gold at Fair Grounds on the turf and the Spiral (G3) at Turfway Park over Polytrack before finishing up the track in the Kentucky Derby (G1). His American Derby effort was an improvement over his fifth in the Penn Mile (G3).

Cherry Wine, best known for splitting Exaggerator and Nyquist in the Preakness (G1), returns to the grass after finishing unplaced in both the Belmont S. (G1) and the Indiana Derby (G2). The Dale Romans trainee placed twice in a pair of maiden events on turf last season.

(Adam Coglianese Photography)