2014 Arlington Million Day Stakes Recap

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS — Saturday, August 16 was a warm August day, and Arlington was abuzz with excitement for the state’s biggest racing day: the International Festival of Racing. Seven stakes races, including three Grade I events, made for an exciting and classy card. There had been a chance of rain in the forecast, just as there had been for this year’s Million Preview Day. The wet weather stayed away from Arlington Park yet again, and there was a full day of racing over a firm turf course.

Hatoof Stakes (First Division): ANNULMENT Cancels out the Competition

The stakes action at Arlington International started off with the $75,000 Hatoof Stakes, split into two divisions once again and restricted to three-year-old fillies.  Earlier in the day, MIZZEN MISS scratched out, and this first division of the Hatoof became a slow-paced affair with no true one-way speed to see the starter.  An octet of sophomore fillies would see the starter on the sod, with ZUBI ZUBI ZU getting the early lead from her outside post and attempting to take the field wire-to-wire while stacking the field up behind her.  ZUBI ZUBI ZU cut out fractions of :25.04 for the quarter and :50.61 for the half, with the field stacking up behind her and the margin around a length down the backstretch.  Turning for home off of three-quarters in a tepid 1:15.46, ZUBI ZUBI still had the lead, but was challenged by closers like V V GOODNIGHT, who was the 3-1 favorite as well as stalkers like ANNULMENT and TEMPERS FLAIR.

The Hatoof-Division 1

ANNULMENT (green cap) gets her head down to win the first division of the Hatoof.

In deep stretch a four-way battle developed V V GOODNIGHT, ANNULMENT, TEMPERS FLAIR, and ZUBI ZUBI ZU.  TEMPERS FLAIR had been at the inside, while ANNULMENT circled three wide with the wilting ZUBI ZUBI ZUBI between them.  V V GOODNIGHT was four wide, and she was the only of the deep closers making her presence felt.  All four would be close at the wire, a blanket finish that needed a photo to pull them apart.  ANNULMENT got the head bob at the right time, winning by a nose over TEMPERS FLAIR and stopping the clock for about one and one-sixteenth miles on “firm” turf in 1:44.82.  ANNULMENT had been fourth in the early stages of the slow-paced Hatoof, made the move on the turn to put her closer to the leaders, third at the top of the lane and set for the stretch battle with ZUBI ZUBI ZU, among others. As mentioned, ANNULMENT was victorious by a nose over TEMPERS FLAIR in a photo finish.  The photo showed TEMPERS FLAIR was second by a head over 3-1 favorite V V GOODNIGHT, with early pacesetter ZUBI ZUBI ZU a head behind the top three.

Javier Castellano was aboard ANNULMENT for trainer Vicky Oliver, who was sent off at 12-1 and returned $26.80 in winning the first division of the Hatoof.  ANNULMENT is a sophomore filly that Vicky Oliver also is noted as one of the breeders of, being by Broken Vow out of Fusaichi Pegasus mare After Thought.

The two dollar 7-8 exacta of ANNULMENT and TEMPERS FLAIR paid $324.80.  The fifty-cent 7-8-5 trifecta of ANNULMENT, TEMPERS FLAIR, and V V GOODNIGHT returned $453.65.  Dime 7-8-5-10 superfectas with ZUBI ZUBI ZU in the fourth position yielded $369.92. –PM

Straight Line Stakes: I GOT IT ALL Proves His Polytrack Prowess

Most of the stakes action happened on the turf, but the action moved to the main track for the Straight Line Stakes, a $65,000 event for three-year-olds at a one-turn mile over the Polytrack. The race drew a ten-horse field that included regular local runners and shippers. The group included a handful of stakes winners: 2013 Arlington-Washington Futurity (GIII) winner SOLITARY RANGER, two-time Illinois-bred stakes winner I GOT IT ALL, and BOURBONIZE, who won the Northern Spur (Listed) at Oaklawn his last time out. However, the bettors favoured GOOD BYE GREG, who had broken his maiden impressively on the first day of the Arlington meet. He went off the 5/2 choice, with BOURBONIZE at 7/2 and I GOT IT ALL at 4/1 by the time the gates flung open.

GOOD BYE GREG looked like the speed of the speed on paper, and lived up to that on the track as well. Though he broke inward, bumping BOURBONIZE and sending him right into SULTRY CAT, he still opened up on the field in short order. He ticked off some snappy fractions for a mile: the quarter in 23.87, the half in 46.87. MCQ chased closest early, followed by BLICHTON and SOLITARY RANGER. Entering the far turn, GOOD BYE GREG was half a dozen lengths in front. He slowed down for the third quarter-mile, ticking off three-quarters in 1:11.20, but the fast fractions started to get to him.

I GOT IT ALL flies to the finish line, a clear winner of the Straight Line.

I GOT IT ALL flies to the finish line, a clear winner of the Straight Line.

Meanwhile, through the far turn, I GOT IT ALL began to make his move. He was outside and midpack early, as far as nine lengths behind the leader. He circled four wide through the turn, was nearing GOOD BYE GREG at the three-sixteenths pole, and nabbed him entering the final furlong. He steadily pulled away as the pacesetter faded. STORMY PACIFIC, along the rail and in the middle of the pack early, angled out past the three-sixteenth pole. He kicked in well late, eclipsing the early leader as well. He was no match for I GOT IT ALL, who won by 1 ¾ lengths. GOOD BYE GREG finished third, three lengths behind the winner. MCQ, stalking evenly, checked another length and a half behind in fourth. SULTRY CAT, PUPPY MANNERS, MR THUNDER BOY, SOLITARY RANGER, BOURBONIZE, and BLICHTON completed the order.

I GOT IT ALL is a three-year-old gelding by Tiz Wonderful out of the Polish Pro mare Polish Silk. He is trained by Tom Swearingen, and was ridden by Channing Hill, who was riding him for the first time. This race was the third stakes triumph for I GOT IT ALL, who won the Land of Lincoln Stakes at Hawthorne in April, and then the Springfield Stakes at Arlington in May. This time, he proved his Polytrack prowess in the Springfield to be no fluke, and won his first open stakes in the process. This was trainer Swearingen’s third stakes on the Arlington meet: in addition to the Straight Line and the Springfield with I GOT IT ALL, he also won the Purple Violet with Countess Cashmere.

I GOT IT ALL stopped the clock in 1:37.36, and paid his backers $10.80 to win. The exacta over STORMY PACIFIC paid $139.60 on a $2 wager. The $0.50 trifecta with GOOD BYE GREG in the lowest rung paid $186.55. The superfecta with MCQ in the fourth slot paid $338.75 for each dime base bet. — NN

American St. Leger Stakes: THE PIZZA MAN Digs Deep, Dishes Out His Best

This year marked the third running of the American St. Leger Stakes, a $400,000 Listed stakes run at 1 11/16 miles over the grass. Trainer Marco Botti and owners Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock had a strong hold on the race going into Saturday’s edition: they won in 2012 with Jakkalberry, and won the 2013 edition with DANDINO. Illinois-bred horses feeding in from the Stars and Stripes Stakes (GIII) had finished second both years. Ioya Bigtime won the 2012 Stars and Stripes en route to his second in the inaugural American St. Leger, and last year SUNTRACER finished second in both the local prep and the big marathon. This year, in addition to SUNTRACER, fellow Illinois-bred THE PIZZA MAN tried the marathon test for the first time. THE PIZZA MAN won the Stars and Stripes this year, and has been ultra-consistent on the racetrack: in 16 starts heading into the American St. Leger, he had come home with the biggest slice of the pie 11 times, including twice in open stakes company. This was his toughest test to date: his first three-turn race, facing more experienced marathoners EYE OF THE STORM, MOMENT IN TIME, HAVANA BEAT, as well as last year’s top two finishers.

The race initially drew a field of eleven, though just ten headed postward. HARDEST CORE scratched to run in the Arlington Million instead. Though DANDINO was the 3/1 morning line favourite, EYE OF THE STORM attracted the most early money, opening at 7/2. BIG KICK also opened at lower odds, at 4/1 compared to DANDINO’s opening 9/2. THE PIZZA MAN was 5/1 early. In the paddock, THE PIZZA MAN looked fairly keyed up, though he calmed down and looked his old self once jockey Florent Geroux climbed aboard. EYE OF THE STORM was even more favoured by the late money, and he went off the 3/1 choice. SUNTRACER went off the 7/2 second choice, with both BIG KICK and THE PIZZA MAN settling at 5/1. DANDINO, cold on the board perhaps due to his shaky form earlier this year, drifted to 6/1 by post time.

BIG KICK, who went wire-to-wire in the 1 ¾ San Juan Capistrano (GII) at Santa Anita, reprised that running style, setting the fractions alone and getting as far as half a dozen lengths in front of the rest. He ticked off the half in 49.03, and the opening mile in 1:13.04. THE PIZZA MAN, EYE OF THE STORM, and INFINITE MAGIC were his closest pursuers through that first mile, with the rest chasing further back. Approaching the far turn for the second time, BIG KICK abruptly ran out of run. He dropped sharply back down the rail, and surrendered the lead to THE PIZZA MAN. EYE OF THE STORM was directly on his outside at that point, within half a length of the front. DANDINO, midpack for much of the race, had fired and was making his run at the leaders. THE PIZZA MAN had more to give entering the stretch, and quickly opened up four lengths. EYE OF THE STORM gave out down the rail, but DANDINO had clearly found his form again. He steadily encroached upon THE PIZZA MAN’s lead, but the leader had more. The Illinois-bred dug in gamely, and hit the wire a length in front of the defending champion. HAVANA BEAT, near the back for much of the race made a three-wide run down the lane. He was up for third, 2 ¼ lengths behind the winner. Mare MOMENT IN TIME, loping along in last for much of the race, had traffic trouble through the third turn, and had to steady. She finally found space near the furlong pole, and was moving most powerfully of all down the stretch. She was left with too much to do, though, and finished half a length behind HAVANA BEAT. EYE OF THE STORM, ADMIRAL KITTEN, MORO TAP, INFINITE MAGIC, SUNTRACER, and BIG KICK completed the order of finish.

THE PIZZA MAN (right) holds off defending champion DANDINO to win the American St. Leger.

THE PIZZA MAN (right) holds off defending champion DANDINO to win the American St. Leger.

THE PIZZA MAN is a five-year-old gelding by English Channel out of the Lear Fan mare I Can Fan Fan. He is trained by Roger Brueggemann, and is a Midwest Thoroughbreds homebred. He was ridden by Florent Geroux, the same rider who got him the dough in the Stars and Stripes last out. This was THE PIZZA MAN’s twelfth career win, and his fifth in a row. All five wins in his current streak have been in stakes. The race was his longest-distance attempt to date, though his strong performances in two Grade III attempts at 1 ½ miles boded well for his ability to get the extra furlong and a half.

Jockey Florent Geroux was pleased with the pace setup he got in the American St. Leger.  “I was sitting in a stalking position,” he described. “I wasn’t worried.  I saw his past races and was waiting for him to tell me when to go.”

Richard Papiese of Midwest Thoroughbreds elaborated on THE PIZZA MAN’s plans for the rest of the year, and hinted at big things afoot. “He’s going to stay in turf marathons. In fact, he’s not going to Disney World, but he’s probably getting supplemented to Santa Anita [The Breeders’ Cup Turf]. I’m not sure he’ll be able to get in the race, but if there’s any chance, we’d like to. He and his stablemate will be headed that way.” The aforementioned stablemate is Work All Week, recently second under a 130-pound impost in the Addison Cammack Handicap. Papiese noted, “He won’t have to drag a sled in the Breeders’ Cup.”

“I had the perfect race,” stated Frankie Dettori, rider of second-place DANDINO. “Turning in I thought we would win, but [The Pizza Man] never stopped. He ran really hard to the line.  He’s coming back to form, now.”

SUNTRACER, second in last year’s edition of the American St. Leger, finished a distant ninth this time around. According to jockey Javier Castellano, “He was flat today…I watched the replay last time and he looked loaded, today he didn’t have anything, didn’t fight at all. He was off the bridle by the ⅜ pole.”

THE PIZZA MAN stopped the clock in 2:47.44, delivering the fastest time yet in the American St. Leger. He paid his backers $12.60. The $2 exacta over DANDINO returned $65.50. The trifecta with 15/1 shot HAVANA BEAT slotted third returned $255.00 for a $0.50 wager. The superfecta with MOMENT IN TIME below those three returned $485.77 for each dime base bet on the permutation. — NN

Secretariat Stakes: Nothing For ADELAIDE To Lament

ADELAIDE and TOURIST headlined the Secretariat Stakes, a $500,000 Grade I race for three-year-olds run at a mile and a quarter over the grass. In fact, it was ADELAIDE who was a bit more of a tourist: the globetrotting Irish-bred had faced Group level company in Ireland, France, and Great Britain, and then headed stateside for the Belmont Derby (GI) last out. TOURIST, a Kentucky-bred, had only just broken his maiden three starts back. His maiden win was his first start on the grass at Gulfstream: his only race outside New York before the Secretariat. He advanced quickly, taking down an allowance at Belmont next, and then winning the restricted Sir Cat Stakes on the opening weekend at Saratoga. This was his first attempt in graded company.

In addition to these two, the field initially attracted seven others, though both CAN’THELPBELIEVING and BELISARIUS were scratched by their trainers. The rest of the field included Belmont Derby runners GLOBAL VIEW and SHELDON, American Derby (GIII) winner DIVINE OATH, American Derby third-place finisher HIGHBALL, and Centaur Stakes (Listed) winner GENERAL JACK. The early money liked ADELAIDE going into the race; he opened at 3/2. The later bettors liked him even more, and by post time ADELAIDE had fallen to even money, with TOURIST the clear second favourite at 2/1. The only horse in the field other than that pair who went off at single-digit odds was GLOBAL VIEW, who set sail at 6/1.

Despite his outside post, it was TOURIST who came in for the early lead, and was up front by the time the field came down the stretch the first time. GENERAL JACK and ADELAIDE settled a few lengths behind, but let TOURIST set the fractions on his own. They were honest enough, though not sizzling, for a ten furlong race: the quarter in 24.97, the half in 48.93. The race stayed that way through the backstretch, and TOURIST stretched out to a half-dozen length lead. Approaching the half-mile pole, GENERAL JACK and ADELAIDE made their moves in tandem. By the time they entered the far turn, they had closed up the distance between them and TOURIST to just a length. They came in on him in the far turn, with GENERAL JACK up beside and ADELAIDE three wide. As the field turned for home, GENERAL JACK could not keep up, but ADELAIDE and TOURIST broke away from the field. ADELAIDE drifted all the way out to the centre of the track. TOURIST, on the inside, fought on gamely. It was not quite enough; the Irish invader got up to win by a length and a half, stopping the clock in 2:02.31. SHELDON, midpack most of the way around, had made his way back along the rail in the final furlong, and was moving well. He surpassed the fading GENERAL JACK, stayed ahead of GLOBAL VIEW, and finished three lengths behind TOURIST for the show. GLOBAL VIEW, near the rear for much of the race, only made it as far as fourth, half a length behind SHELDON. HIGHBALL, DIVINE OATH, and GENERAL JACK completed the order of finish.

ADELAIDE, despite drifting to the far outside, wins the Secretariat Stakes.

ADELAIDE, despite having drifted to the far outside, wins the Secretariat Stakes.

ADELAIDE is a three-year-old Galileo colt out of the Elnadim mare Elletelle. He is trained by Aidan O’Brien, and owned by a group including Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, John Ingham, Bill Webb, John Murray, and Tom Magnier. Prominent international jockey Ryan Moore rode him in the race. He now has three wins and three second-place finishes in six starts. This was his second American start; last out, he went off as the favourite in the Belmont Derby (GI), but was nabbed late along the rail by longshot Mr. Speaker. His connections are currently up in the air about where he will race again, though another trip — to Australia, quite fitting given his name — is a possibility.

Ryan Moore had ultimate faith in the class of his mount. “He’s the best horse in the race going into it, just thought we would keep it simple,” Moore reflected. “The horse on the lead was getting a bit of a soft hand, so didn’t want to move up too early. Adelaide just had more class than the field, and got the job done.”

The Secretariat was TOURIST’s first trip past a mile and an eighth. His jockey, Joel Rosario, was pleased with the performance given that fact. “He ran well,” Rosario stated. “I had to move a little early and the horse that won the race was there with me, and he got me. It was his first time going a mile and a quarter and he did well.” Elliott Walden, a co-owner of TOURIST, noted that “he ran good for first time going 1 ¼ miles. I’m not sure where we’ll go from here: if longer, or if he’s a miler.”

ADELAIDE paid his backers $4.20 to win. The exacta over TOURIST paid $11.60 for each $2 base bet. A trifecta, with SHELDON in the lowest rung, returned $17.25 on a $0.50 wager. The dime superfecta slotting GLOBAL VIEW in fourth returned $8.45. — NN

Beverly D. Stakes: EURO CHARLINE Conquers States, Elders in Upset

There’s one nearly every year, a horse that comes from overseas that is disregarded on the tote, takes to the Arlington turf course, and shows up the big names on the brightest day.  Spirit One and Debussy in recent Millions come to mind.  The “B” European, if you will.

The “A” European was JUST THE JUDGE, and she’d run admirably to get on the podium of the Beverly D. at a mile and three-sixteenths on the Arlignton grass.  And it wasn’t JUST THE JUDGE that earned a victory in the Beverly D.  Instead, it was EURO CHARLINE, a three-year-old filly by Myboycharlie out of Common Grounds mare Eurolink Artemis.

As expected in the $750,000 G1 Beverly D., Illinois-bred LA TIA would be gunned for the lead, with her setting the early tempo. Local prep winner I’M ALREADY SEXY and SOMALI LEMONADE would be in close attendance as well, along with JUST THE JUDGE.  The four of them would compose the early lead group for most of the early and middle stages of the Arlington Million, and LA TIA would be the leader of the quartet and field as a whole.  The early and intermediate fractions were mild: :24.44 for the quarter, :49.90 for the half, 1:13.56 for three-quarters, and 1:37.73 for the mile.  And throughout, the closers remained at the back while the quartet of LA TIA, I’M ALREADY SEXY, JUST THE JUDGE, and SOMALI LEMONADE showed the way.  As the field of eleven turned for home, LA TIA gamely held on through the stretch while SOMALI LEMONADE and I’M ALREADY SEXY started to backpedal.  JUST THE JUDGE found some trouble at the rail, but was able to stay on.  Closers like STEPHANIE’S KITTEN were rallying in earnest.

Beverly D

Three-year-old filly EURO CHARLINE upsets in the Beverly D.

EURO CHARLINE, who was in mind-pack in the early stages, would be another closer rallying.   EURO CHARLINE started off in mid-pack, then dropped back slightly while the front end battles developed.  With an inside-outside trip, she was swung by her rider five-wide and would pull away in the lane to get the victory in the Beverly D. by three-quarters of a length over STEPHANIE’S KITTEN.  Another neck behind was JUST THE JUDGE, who was half a length to the better of LA TIA.

EURO CHARLINE was sent off at 11-1 odds and returned $23.60 to win, with Ryan Moore aboard for trainer Marco Botti and owner Team Valor International.  As mentioned, she’s a three-year-old filly by Myboycharlie and became the first sophomore filly to ever win the Beverly D.  Final time for the nine and one-half furlongs on “firm” turf was 1:55.52.

Winning rider Ryan Moore stated that “She traveled real sweet and kicked on nicely like a good filly would.”  Moore, who won the G1 Secretariat one race prior said that his latest foray to Arlington “has been a good day, not so bad so far.”

Lucci Botti, wife of trainer Marco Botti, remarked that “I knew she was going to have a good run.”

Representing winning ownership of Team Valor International, Barry Irwin reported that “She’ll stay here [in the United States] with Todd Pletcher.  The [current] trainer [Marco Botti] talked me into running here. He’s been bugging me a month, and I finally gave in. He thought she’d get the [1 3/16-mile] trip, but I wasn’t sure because three-year-olds normally don’t do as well in this race, and this filly is nuts. What really convinced me was getting a direct flight here.”

While the G1 Beverly D. is an automatic qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf, and EURO CHARLINE has a spot there if she wants it, the connections disclosed to Picks and Ponderings that they are more inclined to choose the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (against strictly sophomores) in October at Keeneland.

The two dollar 2-5 exacta of EURO CHARLINE and STEPHANIE’S KITTEN yielded $131.40.  The fifty-cent 2-5-1  of EURO CHARLINE, STEPHANIE’S KITTEN, and JUST THE JUDGE netted $167.55.  Dime superfectas with Illinois-bred LA TIA in the fourth slot returned $367.78 –PM

Arlington Million: HARDEST CORE shakes up the Arlington Million

Only seven runners saw the starter in the Grade One Arlington Million, with its seven figure purse and ten furlong on the grass test awaiting the announced crowd of 31,164 that came to the northwest suburbs.  While MAGICIAN was lined as the 7-5 morning line favorite, his tote price was a lot cooler than that, as he hovered at around 2-1 for most of the pre-race wagering.  Run for the thirty-second time, the Million favorite had been deciphered correctly.  MAGICIAN would be the favorite, 9-5 the final price, and he’d settle behind SIDE GLANCE in the early stages of the Arlington Million.  The connections of SIDE GLANCE had tipped their hand that their contingent would be near the lead in the Arlington Million.  Their plan unfolded for all, with him in front at the first quarter clock in :25.00.  The field bunched up behind SIDE GLANCE as he continued to dictate the terms, a half in :49.45 and three-quarters in 1:13.67.  When the septet straightened for home, MAGICIAN had his move on the turn, and surged to the front, taking the lead from SIDE GLANCE with the rest of the field – UP WITH THE BIRDS, REAL SOLUTION, SMOKING SUN, and FINNEGANS WAKE – not offering much resistance.  MAGICIAN had taken the lead in the stretch, and appeared to give Aidan O’Brien his second G1 training victory of the International Festival.


HARDEST CORE surprises in the Arlington Million.

Yet, HARDEST CORE, heretofore not mentioned and mostly disregarded despite his 11-1 odds, would be the one with the spoils and the G1 race victory.  Never mind his last race was a minor stakes for a twentieth of today’s purse at Delaware Park.  Never mind that his win killed many an intra-race ticket and created a six-figure carryover for the Sunday August 17th program.  HARDEST CORE wasn’t phased by the covered trip, and his rider, Eriluis Vaz, gave him to a pocket trip behind SIDE GLANCE and waited for MAGICIAN’s run to lose its sustainability.  By now, the mile time of 1:37.72 was on the toteboard.  Never more than three lengths off SIDE GLANCE’s tepid fractions, HARDEST CORE was another horse among the bunched up group behind SIDE GLANCE at the start of the race.  In the stretch he had still had the stamina, having been able to settle into a rhythm.  At the end of it, he was a Grade One winner of the biggest race of the Arlington International meet and earned his share of the seven-figure purse.

Eriluis Vaz was the winning rider for trainer Edward Graham, the pair making their first ever starts at Arlington and coming away with a win in the 2014 Arlington Million.  Sent off at 11-1 odds, he returned $25.00 to win for each two dollar investment.  HARDEST CORE, a four-year-old gelding by Hard Spun out of the Housebuster mare Lillybuster, won by a length and stopped the clock for a mile and a quarter on “firm” turf in 2:01.51.

Winning pilot Eriluis Vaz commented that “HARDEST CORE is a good horse, he’s a nice horse, and I knew he was going to make his run. I have to thank the owner and trainer, they have been so supportive, and it’s amazing.  It’s thrilling.”

Winning trainer Edward Graham noted how HARDEST CORE, under consideration for the American St. Leger earlier in the day and tomorrow’s G1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga, went for the Arlington MIllion on account of a “shorter field would be better and the horse was trained [sic] so well.”  Graham later expressed how “Words can’t explain what a great feeling this is. He’s gone through a lot…had to cut 18 inches of intestines at one point and didn’t know if he’d make it. I looked at the Sword Dancer, looked at the Leger, all three races were tough. He didn’t know what he was going against but he showed it today.”  Graham additionally remarked post-race how he wanted his rider to settle his mount during the race, and such plan was carried out to the highest fruition.

The Arlington Million is an automatic qualifier for the G1 Breeders’ Cup Turf in November, and the connections of now qualified HARDEST CORE at publish time are entertaining plans for a trip to the West Coast.

HARDEST CORE was a length to the better of 9-5 favorite MAGICIAN.  Early pacesetter SIDE GLANCE reported home third, a length behind the top two and 2 ¼ lengths to the better of UP WITH THE BIRDS, who rounded out the superfecta.  The order of finish was completed by FINNEGANS WAKE, SMOKING SUN, and last year’s winner REAL SOLUTION.

The two dollar 1-3 exacta of HARDEST CORE and MAGICIAN paid $101.60.  The fifty-cent 1-3-7 trifecta of HARDEST CORE, MAGICIAN, and SIDE GLANCE netted $165.50.  Dime superfectas with UP WITH THE BIRDS in the fourth position yielded $166.89.  The Arlington Million was the final leg of a $200,000 guaranteed (fifty-cent base) all stakes pick four that spanned races seven through ten, the American St. Leger, Secretariat, Beverly D., and Arlington Million.  The winning ticket paid $2,163.70.  –PM

Hatoof Stakes (Second Division):  KISS MOON scores in Pucker Up Prep

The final stakes on the Arlington International Festival program was the same as the first, a division of the Hatoof Stakes for a pot of seventy-five thousand and restricted to three-year-old fillies.  Like the first division, it serves as the local feeder to the G3 Pucker Up Stakes in September at Arlington International.  Unlike the first division, however, the pace here was much quicker and much more genuine.

That front-end pace came from BONITA SONG, who went to the front from her outside post in a carbon copy of the first division.  This time around, the front end pace was a lot more honest, to the tune of :23.64 for the opening quarter and :48.37 for the opening half-mile.  BONITA SONG had the lead until the the top of the stretch, when she wilted and passed by nearly everyone in the field.  She still had the lead when the three-quarters time of 1:13.68 was posted, but it wouldn’t hold for long.  LOVELY LOYREE was stalking from second and she’d gamely stay on in the stretch.  KISS MOON was just behind LOVELY LOYREE for most of the first six furlongs of the Hatoof.  Closers like MARIA MARIA and TOO COOL were rallying at the top of the lane.

Hatoof Division 2

KISS MOON triumphs in the Second Division of the Hatoof.

In the stretch, KISS MOON used a rail-hugging ground-saving rally to get past the backpedaling BONITA SONG and split fellow foes at the quarter pole.  She passed BONITA SONG and LOVELY LOYREE, then maintained her margin in deep stretch.  The final margin was a length and the final time for about one and one-sixteenth miles on “firm” turf was 1:42.83.  KISS MOON was piloted to victory by Robby Albarado and trained by David Vance.  She’s a three-year-old filly by Malibu Moon out of Kris S. mare Kiss the Devil.  KISS MOON was the 2-1 favorite when the gates opened and returned $6.20 for winning followers.

KISS MOON was a length to the better of closing MARIA MARIA, who was in mid-pack and rallied down the middle of the northwest suburban grass course.  She was three lengths clear of LOVELY LOYREE, who rounded out the trifecta.  A neck behind them and closing quickly was TOO COOL, last early and reporting home in fourth.

The two dollar 3-4 exacta of KISS MOON and MARIA MARIA netted $31.40.  The fifty-cent 3-4-6 trifecta of KISS MOON, MARIA MARIA, and LOVELY LYREE yielded $56.15.  Dime 3-4-6-2 superfectas with TOO COOL in the fourth position returned $66.09. –PM

Stakes recap authors are denoted above by initials, PM for Paul Mazur and NN for Nicolle Neulist.  All photos courtesy of Four Footed Fotos.


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