An extended version of this piece will be available at Thorofan's Handicapper's Corner.
The crown jewel of every Arlington Park racing season is the Arlington Million, with its one million dollar purse. It anchors the International Festival of Racing, a weekend where Chicago becomes the center of the horse racing universe.
And when people think of Arlington Park, they think of its longtime owner, Richard L. Duchossois, known to many as “Mr. D”. Even though his role has lessened in recent years, there are still reminders. On mornings before race days, a pre-race show is aired from Mr. D’s sports bar. It’s his declaration of “Quit? Hell no!” that is on the first floor, made days after fire engulfted Arlington Park and before the ‘85 Million, a combination of tragedy and triumph that have enriched Arlington Million Day.
It may be Mr. D’s track, but it is his late wife, Beverly, that serves as this race’s namesake.
Mr. D won the race two years ago with Eclair de Lune, his mare present on a winners’ roll call that reads off with stars like Flawlessly (HOFer), Hatoof (who has a stakes on the Million Day undercard named for her), and Eclipse champions like Possibly Perfect and Stacelita.
WGN television will air the race locally in the Chicago area, and WGNAmerica will air the race nationally. The program is set to air from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm, central time.
Arlington Park -- Race 9 -- G1 Beverly D. Stakes -- 1 3/16 miles on turf -- post time 5:02 PM CT
MARKETING MIX was assigned the morning line favorite. this Tom Proctor trained filly will have Julien Leparoux up. Winner last time of the G2 Dance Smartly in Canada, she proved she could handle the Arlington turf when winning the G3 Pucker Up last fall over the local sod going nine furlongs. Today’s distance is certainly within her scope, as she won the Wonder Where, a stakes restricted to Canadian-breds, last summer at a mile and a quarter. Arlington and Woodbine are similar turf courses with respect to style and composition, and she’s one-for-one at Arlington while three for three over the Woodbine turf. Trainer Proctor has quietly done well at Arlington with limited stock (15% win percentage, 46 starters) and this filly has never been out of the superfecta on the grass.
ARUNA returns comes to Chicago and will recruit the services of Ramon Dominguez. Winner of the G2 Sheepshead Bay over MYSTICAL STAR, the latter turned the tables on her last time in the G2 New York. In jer other start of the year, she was rated to death in the G1 Wiley at Keeneland as a lone speed Daisy Devine got a free lunch and pass to victory on the front end. Her speed figures are consistent, and if she runs her race she’s certainly a contender. Best as a closer, she could easily get a rough trip that dooms her chances. At the Million Draw, Arlington Park morning line maker Joe Kristufek said Aruna could have easily been the favorite (instead of MARKETING MIX), and don’t be surprised if she is the favorite when the gate springs.
MYSTICAL STAR was the winner last time of the G2 New York Stakes going a mile and a quarter, and before that she was disqualified in the G2 Sheepshead Bay for having an unfair advantage at the start. She jumped the gate and was third that day in a strangely run race. She bested ARUNA last time, but it was ARUNA who won the Sheepshead Bay. You have to respect anything trainer Christophe Clement puts on grass, and she’ll be making the first start since the G2 score, a 23% win proposition given the layoff. She’s put two solid races together around the DQ: the New York and an allowance score.
#8 MARKETING MIX (3/1)
#7 ARUNA (7/2)
#5 MYSTICAL STAR (6/1)
Longshot: From Tolomeo to Domedriver to Spirit One, Europeans have long shown good form over the Arlington grass course. Especially Europeans at big toteboard prices that often outrun their odds. #2 I’M A DREAMER (8/1) boasts timeform figures equal to that of JOVIALITY, and solid minor placings in European graded stakes at long distances. Woodbine turf form holds water at Arlington, making her runner-up in the G1 Taylor look better. Well worth considering if the 8-1 morning line holds, and it may be higher with swollen pools and focus on import JOVIALITY and American MARKETING MIX.