Arlington Million Day Preview

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D.S. Williamson

August 10th, 2017

One of my favorite days on the racing calendar takes place this Saturday, August 12. Arlington Park has their annual Arlington Million Day. Three Grade 1 stakes races highlight the afternoon. Starting with the Grade 1 Secretariat, August 12 should be a celebration of grass racing in the United States.

The Secretariat, Beverly D., and Arlington Million, yearly attract some of the most talented grass runners from throughout the world. Many of the grass runners that show up for the Arlington Million stay for the Breeders' Cup Turf. Check out my preview of the three biggest races of the day.

Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes

Oscar Performance has been installed as the 8/5 morning line chalk. He was fantastic in his last race, the Belmont Derby Invitational. Since he won the Pennine Ridge, the Belmont Derby was Oscar Performance's second win a row.

I'm probably not going to bet on Oscar Performance to wire this field. Permian, the 9/5 second choice on the morning line, won the Grade 2 King Edward VII Stakes at Ascott on June 23. He ran well when finishing second to Shakeel at the Grand Prix de Paris on July 14. He's got class for days. He should use that class to beat his American opponents on Saturday.

Grade 1 Beverly D. Stakes

Dacita is the second choice on the morning line at 4 to 1. She had no shot in her last, the Grade 2 New York Stakes. First, she had to chase incredibly slow fractions. They got 6 furlongs in 1:15.57 while running 1 1/4 miles. Second, jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. had to take her 6-wide around the turn.

On Saturday, Dacita breaks from post-position 1 while the New York Stakes winner, Hawksmoor, breaks from post-position 9. Irad is excellent on the turf at finding a seam, and getting his horse through while racing close to the rail. She should also go off at higher odds than 4 to 1.

Grand Jete and Rainha De Bateria, both trained by Chad Brown like Dacita, will get some play. As will morning line 7/2 choice Dona Bruja. Brown decided to ship Dacita even though she finished 6th in the New York Stakes. That's a good sign. Sounds like a win bet to me!

Grade 1 Arlington Million XXXV Stakes

Oscar Performance is cross-entered in the Arlington Million. I don't believe he's got a shot in the Arlington Million. Aidan O'Brien has entered Deauville. He's the 7/2 morning line chalk. Beach Patrol is 5 to 1. Divisidero is 5 to 1.

If Mekhtaal hadn't drawn post-position 13, he'd probably be the 3/1 chalk in this. Mekhtaal towers over his rivals from a class stand-point. His losses are better than many of his rivals wins. In his last, he finished 6th behind Highland Reel in the Grade 1 Prince of Wales at Royal Ascot. On paper, he had a shot to beat Highland Reel. Unfortunately, the Aidan O'Brien trained horse got an easy lead.

When Highland Reel gets an easy lead, he's impossible to beat. Even American horseplayers know this.

At 9/2, Mekhtaal is easily the key horse I'm using in all of my exotics. Am I worried about post-position 13? Sure, I am. But, his class should push him forward over his rivals. This includes pushing him forward past Deauville, who's biggest win to date was in the 2016 Belmont Derby over Highland Sky and Beach Patrol.

Good luck!