Arlington Million Day: Full Card Analysis

Picks and Ponderings has gone into detail about the stakes races, but there are still five more races to be run today.  The races include allowances and claimers, maidens and more experienced types.  There are all kinds of races on Million Day, and we have you covered here from first post until the last horse crosses the wire.

A modified version of this has been published at Danonymous Racing.

Race 1:  $5,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, non-winners since February 16 OR N4L, seven furlongs on the synthetic

Selections: Mystic (1), Space Traveler (4), Ghetto Cat (2)

Mystic drops in for his lowest class level in about a year.  In that last try at this level, he won, but was claimed by Robert Dobbs and put against tougher company ever since.  This level should be more manageable, and the good amount of early pace should give him something to close into late.  Space Traveler runs for red-hot claiming trainer Tammy Domenosky.  He raced at this level last out, but was facing $25,000 company before that and not finishing far up the track.  His speed is strong for this field, and he has two wins and three seconds in seven starts on the Arlington poly.  Pacewise, he tends to come from a handful of lengths off, so he can also take advantage of the can’t-rate types in the field.  Ghetto Cat comes in here third off the lay.  He is a polytrack specialist — though he has won seven times in forty starts, six of those wins have come in just 18 starts over the Arlington main.  He has started twice at seven furlongs, with a win and a third to his name.  He will be near the front, but unlike Viola George and Ken’s Livingston, he has shown the capacity to rate.

Race 2: Allowance ($31,000 purse), three-year-olds and up, non-winners of $8,800 once other than maiden, claiming, starter, or state-bred allowance OR N2L, about five furlongs on the turf

Selections: Voodoo Spell (7), B Two Special (5), Mac West (1)

Voodoo Spell takes a class rise here, having raced for a tag in all but his first two career starts.  He has been in cracking form ever since breaking his maiden, though, and deserves the step up.  He is versatile pace-wise, and can come from either close off the pace or farther off the pace.  With four horses in this field who have yet to show any ability to rate (Melo Mason, Laythatpistoldown, Selz, and Pick Three Punchie), Voodoo Spell will be well set.  Finally, he loves turf dashes: in three starts at similar distance, he has won twice and finished second once — coming just a nose short of nabbing a Larry Rivelli runner on lone speed.  B Two Special comes in third off a very long lay for trainer Roger Brueggemann, who wins at 28% with horses off of long lays.  This will be his first try on the grass, but sire Kitalpha wins at 11% with first-time turfers.  He has worked twice since his last race, and both have been very sharp — he should be fit and back to form today.  Mac West is lightly raced, having broken his maiden last time out in just his second start.  Trainer Wayne Catalano wins at a 20% rate with horses coming straight off a maiden win.  This is his first try on grass, a situation in which Catalano wins 20% of the time.  Dam Caffe has produced one other turf winner, further bolstering Mac West’s chances.

Race 3: Allowance optional claiming ($36,000 purse), three-year-olds and up, non-winners of $8,800 three times other than maiden, claiming, starter, or state-bred OR non-winners of two races in 2014 OR claiming price $125,000, about one mile on the turf

Selections: Guilt Trip (10), Live In Joy (7), Cougar Ridge (1A)

Guilt Trip is trying the grass for the first time, but he races for a Wayne Catalano barn that wins at 20% with that move.  He can stalk fairly close to the pace or come from midpack, and the ability to come from close by is especially crucial in light of the scratches of the two biggest speedballs, Tazz and Whatthecatdrugin.  This horse has some back class (He won the Grade II Strub last year), and has run well at middle distances on the dirt.  Live In Joy is a turf mile aficionado, boasting a 12-3-3-2 career record over them.  He has won two of his five starts on the Arlington grass, showing some aptitude for the course.  Trainer Mike Maker wins at 23% on the turf, and he partners with prominent turf jockey Javier Castellano for this outing.  With the scratches of Tazz and Whatthecatdrugin, Cougar Ridge is the only speed left.  Florent Geroux rides, and the fact that Geroux actually shipped to Indiana Grand to ride him in his last race suggests that his connections see some promise in him.  He has strung two wins before, and with key scratches here, he has a chance to put two wins together again.

Race 4: Maiden special weight ($31,000 purse), two-year-olds, about one mile on the turf

Selections: Chadwick (7), Luck of the Kitten (9), Inavanti (4)

Chadwick is a second-time starter, and he finished up the track behind runaway winner Dom the Bomb last out.  However, he looked very fit and well-built in the paddock in that start, more than the average two-year-old first-time starter.  His breeding (by English Channel out of Almost Sma) suggests he wanted more than the five and a half furlongs of that initial start, and this will be his chance to prove that out.  English Channels win at 13% in their first run on the turf, and trainer Carlos Silva wins at 19% with second-time starters.  Channing Hill, a strong turf route runner, rides.  The morning line on him is 20/1; he is an overlay at even half that.  Luck of the Kitten drops in class here, having raced last out at 1 1/16 miles at the Spa.  He finished second in that race.  he cuts back in distance here; being by Kitten’s Joy out of a Giant’s Causeway mare, a mile should be good for him.  He is trained by Wesley Ward: with a 23% win rate for shippers, he means business when he sends a horse.  Inavanti (4) is another Kitten, though he is trained by Michael Stidham.  His dam, Winner’s Edge, has produced four turf winners.  He has been a regular on the worktab since May, and has done four and five furlong workouts over the last month and a half.  James Graham, winning at 28% in 29 starts with trainer Michael Stidham over the last sixty days, will ride.

Race 5: Hatoof Stakes (Division I), three-year-old fillies, about one and one sixteenth miles on the turf

Selections: Colonel Joan (6), Zubi Zubi Zu (10), Tempers Flair (8)

Mizzen Miss was originally the top pick, as the only credible speed in this field.  She scratched this morning, leaving Fonepferesh (1) the only one on the front end.  She will likely be lone speed, but she is so far outclassed her that not even lone speed is likely to carry her home.  Colonel Joan has raced seven times, but only three on the turf.  She has never missed the board in those three grass starts, and it appears that trainer Eoin Harty is finally running with the grass prowess of this horse who finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf last year.  She dials back in distance from her last start over the poly, and has worked back three times from that race.  Zubi Zubi Zu returns to three-year-old company after facing older in her last two starts.  She has been second in both of those starts.  Last out was her first race on the grass.  She left herself a little too much to do late in that race, but has shown in previous polytrack starts that she can run well from a closer stalking place.  If Carlos Marquez gives her that trip here, her recent form suggests she has a good chance.  In light of the lack of early speed, take a look at Tempers Flair as a longer shot.  She is coming off just a maiden win, but stalked close to the pace in that triumph.  She is third off the lay, a situation in which trainer Dale Romans wins 23% of the time and is in the money over half the time.

For another perspective on the Hatoof Stakes, read Paul Mazur’s analysis here.

Race 6: Straight Line Stakes, three-year-olds, one mile on the synthetic

Selections: Bourbonize (5), I Got It All (10), Puppy Manners (3)

I previewed this race in detail at Picks and Ponderings earlier this week.

Race 7: American St. Leger Stakes, three-year-olds and up, one and eleven sixteenths miles on the turf

Selections: Eye of the Storm (9), Havana Beat (7), The Pizza Man (10)

I previewed this race in detail at Picks and Ponderings earlier this week.

Race 8: Secretariat Stakes (GI), three-year-olds, one and one fourth miles on the turf

Selections: Tourist (9), Adelaide (6), Divine Oath (7)

I previewed this race in detail at Picks and Ponderings earlier this week.

Race 9: Beverly D Stakes (GI), three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, one and three sixteenths miles on the turf

Selections: Tannery (6) — if it rains, Just The Judge (1), Somali Lemonade (11), I’m Already Sexy (8)

For another perspective, read Paul Mazur’s analysis here.

This race is wide open, and one in which small edges look to carry.  If the rain that is in the forecast comes to fruition, and in enough quantity to soften the turf, Tannery has a great chance to take this race at a bomb price.  Tannery is Irish-bred, a daughter of Dylan Thomas out of the Sadler’s Wells mare Danse Grecque. Last out in the Diana, she was rank, and got far closer to the front end than she prefers to go.  When she relaxes, though, she is a far better horse.  The distance of the Beverly D is right in her wheelhouse, and that is Tannery’s biggest differentiator.  She won the E. P. Taylor (GI – CAN) at a mile and a quarter last year, and also the 1 ⅜ mile Sheepshead Bay (GII).  Back in Ireland, she has stakes wins between 1 ⅛ miles and 1 ⅜ miles, including a Group III win at 1 ⅛.  All but one of her six grass victories, including all of her graded or group level ones, have been over turf rated soft or yielding, and her only firm turf win was in a listed stakes win stateside.  She has run some quality races on the firm turf, and might hit the board on a good day even if the rain holds off.  However, the combination of affinity for soft turf plus her ability to close the deal right at this sort of distance make her the choice if the rain comes.  If the rain holds off, Just The Judge looks best. All of her wins have been at distances shorter than the Beverly D, but she has hung with tougher European company at longer.  She has also shown her prowess on firmer turf: in her four career wins, two of them have been on turf rated good. The other two wins were on a yielding course, suggesting that she can still perform well if the rain comes.  Form-wise, her run last out in the Pretty Polly suggests she is rounding back into the promise she showed at age three.  Pace-wise, she tends to stalk just a few lengths off of the pace, something that should not leave her with much to do to mow down the pacesetter (likely La Tia) late.  Somali Lemonade has been in career form this year.  She has been a new horse with the blinkers added earlier this year.  Her first two wins with the blinkers were wire jobs, but it was in the Diana where she proved that she could rate with them on.  This will serve her in good stead here, as trying to go on a contested lead in a race of a mile and three-sixteenths would be a mission of mutually assured destruction against this field.  She has only gone past a mile and an eighth once, but she is a better racemare this year than last, and should handle the extra sixteenth today.  Somali Lemonade has worked well going into this race, she has looked fit in the mornings, and she has won on turf ranging from firm to yielding.  The Beverly D will be the toughest competition she has ever faced, but she is in the best form of her life. She is ready.

Race 10: Arlington Million (GI), three-year-olds and up, one and one-fourth miles on the turf

Selections: Smoking Sun (2), Magician (3), Real Solution (6)

For another perspective, read Paul Mazur’s analysis here.

The top selection in this race is Smoking Sun.  This five-year-old son of Smart Strike has always been solid enough, winning some smaller stakes at Longchamp at ages three and four, and placing in a trio of ten-furlong Group III events in France last year.  He is hitting his stride at five.  Smoking Sun is keeping better company this year than ever before, and last out he finished a strong second in a Group I race in Singapore.  His form has been the best of his career, and he loves the distance.  He doesn’t need to come from the clouds, so he should not have too much trouble pacewise.  Magician has great speed for the field, and he is a proven competitor at the highest levels of worldwide grass racing.  He faltered last out, but his previous cycles of form suggest positive things here. Magician has always run strongly next out after a drubbing.  This includes last year’s Breeders’ Cup: he finished a distant ninth in the St. James’s Palace (GI – GB) at Ascot last June, took some time off, shipped stateside, and nailed The Fugue.  The biggest question is the pace: there is very little early speed in this race, and Magician tends to come from farther off.  Use him in multi-race exotics, but the win odds will be awful for a horse who may be pace compromised.  Real Solution, the defending champion, returns as a real contender.  The five-year-old son of Kitten’s Joy comes in with a better resume than last year.  Last time out he won the Manhattan (GI) at this distance, finally proving that he had not forgotten how to cross the wire first on the ship back over to the States from Italy.  (His Arlington Million win last year came on a disqualification.)  Other than those two races, his only other attempt at a mile and a quarter netted him a third-place finish in the Manhattan last year, behind Point of Entry.  He should be fit and ready to enter this race, and has shown an ability to run fairly close to the pace.

Race 11: Hatoof Stakes (Division II), three-year-old fillies, about one and one sixteenth miles on the turf

Selections: Battlefield Angel (9), Maria Maria (4), Kiss Moon (3)

For another perspective on the Hatoof Stakes, read Paul Mazur’s analysis here.

Unlike the other division of the Hatoof, where there is almost no early speed to speak of, this division has far more of it.  There are no dyed-in-the-wool can’t-rate types, but there are enough who have shown the propensity to send forth that it looks ripe for a horse coming off the pace.  Battlefield Angel has found her stride this year, winning her last two starts.  Last out, in the one-mile Christiana Stakes over the Delaware grass, she stalked off the pace, made her move in the far turn, and carried to the wire.  Her start before that was an allowance win over the Arlington turf, showing she likes the surface here.  Maria Maria faltered last out in the Arlington Oaks (GIII), but returns to the turf here.  She has yet to win in two starts on the green stuff, but has shown some aptitude: this spring, she finished third in a grass allowance behind Bobby’s Kitten and serious Secretariat Stakes contender Global View.  A mile and a sixteenth should not be a problem for a horse by Curlin out of a With Approval mare, and she finished fourth beaten just two lengths against older at the distance two back.  Kiss Moon takes off the blinkers here, a fortunate move given the presence of speedballs Phaniebdancing, Lovely Loyree, and Afsana.  She has come from off the pace before adding the blinkers; she broke her maiden from off the pace.  She has only started on turf once, but had a troubled trip: she got bumped around in the stretch by A Little Bit Sassy, had to steady, and still finished fourth beaten less than two lengths in the Regret (GIII).  If she progresses from there today, she will be right in it.

Race 12: $7,500 maiden claiming, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, six furlongs on the synthetic

Selections: Hubbala Hubbala (7), Little Bit o’ Soup (10), Hypatia (8)

Hubbala Hubbala was close last out at this level, missing by just a length at six and a half furlongs.  She comes in third off the lay for the Michael Stidham barn, which wins at 23% third off.  Ususally it is good to look for some kind of change in maiden races, especially at this lower level.  Hubbala Hubbala does make a big change her: she puts on blinkers for the first time.  That may get her the extra bit of speed to graduate.  Little Bit o’ Soup takes a big drop here, an almost suspicious one.  She was claimed at the $25,000 level in July by the Christine Janks barn, but returns first off the claim for a $7,500 tag.  Despite the suspicious class drop, there is so much pointing to her that she must be used: her speed is very good for the field, she is working well, and she is going first-time Lasix.  Hypatia is a first-time starter, starting for the lowest possible level on this circuit.  However, she is half to two sprint-distance winners, and six furlongs hits this daughter of Tribal Rule square between the eyes, breeding-wise.  She has been working through the spring and the summer, doing four- and five-furlong works leading up to the race.  She is a paddock play: if she looks fit and alert before the race, then anything near her 12/1 morning line makes her appealing in this field so rife with career maidens.

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