Scully: Pick 3 play at Churchill Downs on Arlington Million Day
A pair of Grade 1 turf events, the $1 million Arlington Million (G1) and $500,000 Beverly D. (G1) for distaffers, highlight a special one-day August program at Churchill Downs Saturday. A total of four stakes will be offered on the 11-race program, and every race is worth at least $120,000.
The Million concludes a Late Pick 3 that includes the $200,000 Fort Larned S., and I’ll take a swing at the sequence. Here’s my analysis.
Race 9 – Allowance (5:17 p.m. ET)
Eight are set for the non-winners of two “other than” allowance at 1 1/16 miles, and #2 Eleven Central doesn’t appear to be facing the stiffest competition in his third dirt start.
He won the first two dirt starts by open lengths in fast times, registering 89 and 93 Brisnet Speed ratings, the latter being a sharp wire-to-wire tally at Ellis on July 9, and the four-year-old will be forward from the break in a race lacking true speed. Eleven Central looks formidable for Paulo Lobo and Geraldo Corrales, and I’ll single the up-and-coming gelding.
Race 10 – Fort Larned S. (5:51 p.m. ET)
#2 King Fury is listed as the 2-1 morning line choice, but his form is muddied by a poor showing at Turfway last time and other runners will vie for favoritism. I’ll use the four-year-old.
The Curlin colt hasn’t run a step in two outings on synthetics/turf, so I’m throwing the last out and expecting more from the Churchill main track specialist. King Fury has recorded three of his four career wins under the Twin Spires, including a 13-length romp in the Bourbon Trace S. at today’s 1 3/16-mile distance, and the return from a 4 1/2-month layoff may prove favorable – King Fury turned in arguably the best performance of his career when capturing last year’s Lexington S. (G3) off a similar rest. Dismiss him at your own risk.
#5 Twilight Blue is a top contender on the front end following a pair of strong efforts at Churchill during the spring meet, registering back-to-back 96 Speed ratings. The four-year-old appears to be in career-best form for Joe Sharp, and Twilight Blue will take some beating with Brian Hernandez Jr.
Race 11 – Arlington Million (G1) (6:25 p.m. ET)
Winner of the Turf Classic (G1) on the Kentucky Derby undercard, #6 Santin projects to receive a favorable trip with Tyler Gaffalione, and I’ll give the four-year-old a slight edge. #2 Sacred Life has been inconsistent while often competing at the highest levels for Chad Brown, but the seven-year-old has arguably never been better following a convincing win in the June 18 Monmouth (G3) at today’s 1 1/8-mile distance. He’ll be included with Manny Franco.
I’m against morning-line favorite Smooth Like Strait, who has shown a tendency to settle for minor awards while recording five seconds and a third in his last six outings and must deal with the speedy Megacity on the front end; and Set Piece, who appears better-suited for less ground.
#7 Admission Office, a 10-1 outsider on the morning line, offers some appeal. The late runner took to the new Churchill turf in the 1 1/16-mile Arlington S. (G3) on June 4, rallying to score by a head, and the gelding has recorded two seconds and a third from three previous starts at the distance. A minor award may be more realistic, but Admission Office packs a late punch and is eligible to receive a favorable setup.
- $5 Pick 3: 2 with 2,5 with 2,6,7 = $30