Betting With, and Against, Smooth Like Strait in the Arlington Million Stakes

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

August 11th, 2022

A total of nine horses will go postward in Saturday’s $1 million Arlington Million S. (G1) at Churchill Downs. Grade 1 star #4 Smooth Like Strait (5-2) is the deserving morning-line choice in the field and will aim to better his close third-place finish in the contest last campaign, when falling a neck short to a pair of standout performers.

Trained by Dan Blacker, the consistently excellent five-year-old has won or placed in 18 of his 20 career tries on the green, including at least 10 straight while facing Grade 1 and Grade 2 foes on each occasion. The $1.5 million earner has fine gate presence combined with a solid turn of foot, and despite being mostly a miler, the son of Midnight Lute has compiled a 4-1-2-1 mark at nine panels in his lifetime. John Velazquez comes in to ride atop the likely leader at the top of the stretch.

If there is a knock against the favorite, it is that he has come out on the wrong end of too many photo finishes over the past two years. And if another contender will nab him under the wire, I feel that #1 Set Piece (4-1) will be that horse. Trained by Brad Cox, the Juddmonte homebred has not reached the Grade 1 level in his career as of yet but the son of Dansili loves to win, evidenced by his 10-for-21 lifetime record.

Set Piece possesses a wicked turn of foot and receives a fine post draw on the rail, which will allow him to save ground from the opening bell. The dark bay six-year-old also loves this venue with a 5-4-0-0 line beneath the Twin Spires. A troubled fifth in the Forbidden Apple S. (G3) at one mile at Saratoga in his latest outing, the upset pick will appreciate the added ground on Saturday with regular pilot Florent Geroux in the silks.

I can’t find a lot of separation with the remaining players in the cast and will use the ‘all’ button behind the top duo.

Smooth Like Strait – With

  • $6 trifecta: 4 with 1 with all ($42)
  • $2 trifecta: 4 with all with 1 ($14)

Smooth Like Strait – Against

  • $6 trifecta: 1 with 4 with all ($42)
  • $2 trifecta: 1 with all with 4 ($14)