The middle leg of The Mid-America Triple, the $200,000 American Derby this year received a downgrade to G3 status. The oldest stakes race on the calendar, its first winner was a filly named Modesty. Past pre-turf winners included Round Table and Buckpasser. Switched to grass later and set in 1992 at today’s 1 3/16 mile turf distance, recent grass winners include Mid America Triple winner Honor Glide. And the last two winners of the race, Workin For Hops and Willcox Inn, also had won the Arlington Classic. Runners here can advance on to the G1 Secretariat Stakes at 1 1/4 miles on the Arlington Million program.
Arlington Park — Race 8 — G3 American Derby — 1 3/16 miles on turf — post time 4:43 CT
SILVER MAX was the pick win the Arlington Classic and is the pick again. His strategy is simple: go to the front and try to run the field off its hooves. There doesn’t appear to be anyone who can challenge him on the front end, and with a hard/dry turf course he should be able to dictate all the terms and take this 9.5 furlong event. Not thrilled with Robby Albarado climbing aboard, but he was the pilot four back in the Transylvania. Backed up his Arlington win two back by running off the TV screen at Indiana Downs. You may remember SKYRING from the Illinois Derby. That day, he ran evenly and was off the board. His next start, three back, was an N1X/AOC win and he also won a turf stakes on the Preakness undercard. That turf win two back was the only time this son of English Channel (the 2007 BC Turf winner, among other accomplishments) has been on the green. Here’s hoping he stays here. He should be up to close, and ready to move should SILVER MAX backfire.The Graham/Arnold jockey/trainer team that brought you G1 Ashland winner Karlovy Vary are the forces behind SOUTHERN PARKWAY. With the Lemon Drop Kid-Kingmambo sire line, today’s distance should be well within his scope and he comes in off a win at Churchill in a first-level allowance againste elders on grass. Graham’s closing style will serve him well, and he’ll be a force with a clean trip. Six of nine in the money lifetime, all on grass. With the expected scratches that came in after original publish time of SILVER MAXand SACHEM SPIRIT, I land on Sunland Derby winner DADDY NOSE BEST. Wasn’t in the same zip code as the Preakness top two on dirt, but gets back onto turf where he has four money finishes in six efforts. Back from a freshening, and worth noting he won a G3 on Tapeta, the El Camino Real Derby,after a winter vacation. #6 SILVER MAX (8/5)
#4 SKYRING (8/1)
#8 SOUTHERN PARKWAY (15/1)
#5 DADDY NOSE BEST (5/1)
Longshot: If you’re reading this the night before, you might give some money to #9 THE PIZZA MAN (20/1) for your takeout. Make sure to save some for Saturday. THE PIZZA MAN is a home-team standout who has zoomed through the state-bred allowance conditions–beating elders along the way–and steps up the ladder in this G3. It’s a Midwest Thoroughbreds production, with the trainer/jockey team hovering around 20% wins and showing a small profit.
His chances move up if either SILVER MAX and SKYRING duel each other to death on the front, or if the course is playing negatively to speed and positively to his closing kick. A saucy edition to your tickets.
Update, July 13, 8pm. Revised to include the scratches of #10 SACHEM SPIRIT and #6, SILVER MAX.