ARLINGTON HEIGHTS--With Europeans going 1-3-4 in a Logical Song of the American St. Leger, BAYRIR Taking the Long Way Home to score in the Secretariat, and I'M A DREAMER annexing the Beverly D. Stakes, it perhaps was fitting that Illinois's only annual million dollar race saw a potential Crime of the Century.
The Arlington Million saw TREASURE BEACH, WIGMORE HALL, and VERTIFORMER all get compromised by bad breaks. It also saw LITTLE MIKE break alertly from the gate in the mile-and-a-quarter turf test for older males and take control of the race in the first run through the grassy stretch. LITTLE MIKE would lead every step of the way of the ten furlong Arlington Million. Recorded splits were :25.10, :49.95, 1:15.03, and 1:39.34. A stolen race in the eyes of many.
LITTLE MIKE going wire-to-wire in the Arlington Million.
LITTLE MIKE was rarely challeneged at any stage of the Arlington Million, even able to build up a four-length lead in the lane. The public was keen on LITTLE MIKE's chances, making him a very strong favorite 2-1 at first flash. Final odds would be just under 4-1, and he wouldn't be the wagering favorite.
LITTLE MIKE, a five year old Florida-bred by Spanish Steps, was the only American-based winner of the day's major races. Final time for the ten furlongs on "good" turf was 2:02.44. As the second choice, he paid $9.80 to win.
In his first mount on LITTLE MIKE, Ramon Dominguez had this to say post-race on LITTLE MIKE:
“He was running very comfortable. Turning for home when I decided to let him run, he beautifully started opening up. I wasn’t sure how slow we were going. I got to the three-eighths pole and he started to open it up. I tried to slow him down to this point (before) but from now on I’m going to let him spring home. He galloped home like a freight train. It feels great (to win my second Arlington Million)."
AFSARE would close late in the lane to cut the winning margin to a length and a half, second in the Million. Third place featured a dead heat between Rahystrada (appearing in his third Million) and Colombian, another European-based horse from the John Gosden barn. The wagering favorite at 7-2 odds was CRACKERJACK KING, and he was fifth.
While the Arlington Million is an automatic qualifer to the Breeders' Cup Turf, Owner/Breeder C. Vacarrezza in the post-race press conference entertained the possibility of shortening up LITTLE MIKE next out, with races like the Woodbine Mile and Shadwell Mile on the radar. A possibility exists he'll be trained up to the Breeders' Cup. Yet "if anyone asks, we can go a mile and a half", making twelve furlongs a possibility also.
Two dollar 4-3 exactas returned $63.40. With the dead heat for third, there were winning two trifectas and two winning superfectas. 4-3-1 fifty cent trifectas with RAHYSTRADA third netted winners $72.45. 4-3-5 fifty cent trifectas with COLOMBIAN third paid out $73.70. 4-3-1-5 dime superfectas cashed out at $104.86 and 4-3-5-1- superfectas yielded $102.91
A $100,000 guaranteed pick five pool with a fifty cent base featuring the American St. Leger, Secretariat, 2nd division of the Hatoof, Beverly D., and Secretariat was offered on Festival Day. The guarantee was met, with over $313K in the pool. The 8-7-2-2-4 combination returned $1633.40.