The abandonment of Saratoga due to inclement weather robbed us of the grade 1 Fourstardave Handicap so our review will concentrate on the big turf action at Arlington, including the 34th running of the Arlington Million.
The first grade 1 on the Arlington card was the Secretariat Stakes, a $450,000 race 1 for 3 year olds over a mile and a quarter of the turf track. This was not the most talent-filled grade 1 and did include Cherry Wine, whose second in the Pimlico is looking very flattering. The modest quality of the race was demonstrated that just over a length covered the first five home.
Long Island Sound’s lack of finishing kick was notable once again in this race. He came to win his race coming into the straight but was outdueled by Beach Patrol in the finish. Beach Patrol had indicated his ability to win a race of this nature last time out and duly delivered but I have to say I think he will struggle against a classier field.
Next on the card was the Beverly D Stakes, a $700,000 Grade1 for fillies and mares over a mile and three sixteenths of the turf course. The race provided owner Martin Schwartz to notch up his 4th win following the victories of Angara, Gorella and Stacelita in 2005, 2006 and 2011 respectively. His entry this year was Sea Calisi, who was very popular with the backers, going off at a shade over even money.
The trip looked on the short side for Sea Calisi, whose best European form was over a mile and a half. Throw in a bad looking draw and her price looked a little on the thin side. However, the backers had no reason to be concerned. Settled off the pace for the first 6 furlongs, she made ground five wide coming into the stretch and took the lead under a strong hand ride in the last furlong to win by half a length, beating another closer in Al’s Gal.
The highlight of the card was the Arlington Million, a mile and a quarter turf race for three year olds and up. Added spice was given to this race due to the fact that the winner gained a free entry to the Breeders’ Cup Turf.
The first four horses in the Morning Line market were drawn in the four outside stalls, which the stats said were not a good place to be. No horse drawn 13 has ever won over this track and trip so the effort of Deauville to finish third (beaten ¾ length) was even more meritorious.
I had indicated that Mondialiste might prove best of the European shippers and so it proved. He had plenty of good Stateside form including a win in the Woodbine Mile and a second in the Breeders’ Cup Turf mile and a good recent run at York showed he was coming back to his best form.
As with the other grade 1 races, the winner was delivered late under a fine ride from Danny Tudhope. Held up in 5th/6th place throughout the first mile, he made his attack four wide in the deep stretch to prevail by a neck.