What a racing day. The Arlington Million card at the gorgeous Arlington Park in Chicago. International flavor. Some of the America’s best. Great grass races make for great handicapping and possible outstanding bets. Let’s go make some money today.
First, here is a look at the Arlington Park card:
1st: 4-8-5-7…I’m the Best I Know (4) is a second time starter for Wayne Catalano and gets a nice rider switch to Channing Hill. Made a good run in the first effort before tiring. Should be more fit for this one. Richiesonarampage (8) is a first time starter for Larry Rivelli, who is having a terrific meet and a great year, overall. Strikes often with firsters and this one has some works that indicate talent. Can’t dismiss. Call to Arms (5) is a won of Into Mischief, who is having a super year. Trainer does not crank them up for first out, normally. I bet the 4 to win/place and then box the 4-8 solid. Take the 4-8 soft over the 5-7, in case of split.
2nd: 6-2-5-1-3…Good Bye Greg (6) is another Rivelli horse and this one is on top of his game. In the last six outs, he has four wins and 2 seconds. Hard to argue with those results. Western Elegance (2) is now 7YO, and has a second and a third in only two starts this year. Ran a good one at Woodbine in his last, but may be losing a step. Hunka Burning Love (5) is my buddy, Dave Baker’s, top horse. Got to include if you throw out the G3 effort in the last. I bet the 6 to win/place and then key over/under all the other numbers listed.
3rd: 2-1-5-6-3…Triple Chelsea (2) should dominate this field. She ran a solid one against Lady Aurelia two back and nearly won the Unbridled Sydney at Churchill in May. Freshened after that and this will be her first run since May, but she has been training lights out. Daddy’s Boo (1) is 3-for-3 this year — all on this track. Hard to argue with those numbers, too. But she has not faced the comp that the preferred choice has been. Seeking Treasure (5) has only 2 thirds to show for 7 tries this year, but the old, 7YO girl has some back class. If it shows up? One Liz (6) ran against Dona Bruja (you will see her later today) two back and then nearly won on the drop down in the last. Don’t dismiss. I bet the 2 to win/place and then key over/under all the rest. One of my Best Bets of the Day. I will also key her in Doubles, Pick 3s, and other horizontal bets, too.
4th: 2-5-3-10-7-4…Dona Sprey (2) nearly broke her maiden here in the last out on June 11. Goes for a good barn operation that knows how to get them ready. Picks up a solid rider change, too. Should be ready to graduate today. Savage Battle (5) is a first time starter for Chris Block and has been training very well here. He is by War Front and that, alone, makes him dangerous in this spot. One Last Strike (3) is a Smart Strike colt who had a horrible trip in his debut at Ellis Park on July 2. Gets Jose Ortiz today and that should help steer him a little closer to the rail. I bet the 2 to win/place and then box the 2-5-3 in one exacta and then key the 2-5-3 over the 10-7-4, looking for some odds makers.
5th: 8-9-1-6-4…Electrifying (8) is 5-1 ML and may drift up the tote board. If so, I latch on to this one. Gets the drop down today and may like the softer group. Tiree (9) moves up the ladder after a troubled trip. Gets a nice rider change in this one. Profluent (1) has hit the board in 13 of 29 starts and has been ITM in 4 of 7 this year. Doesn’t like to win, though. I go with the 8 to win/place/show and then box the 8-9-1 in one exacta and then key them over the 6-4 in another.
6th: 6-1-7-12-10…Dreamofjean E. (6) is my pick, and why not? The name, right? Another Rivelli one in today and she has not been worse than second in her last five and not off the board in the last seven. Why not, indeed. Gentle Kitten (1) is one that is sitting on a break-out race at some point, I think. Today may be the day. Gets Oritz in the saddle and will be closing with a purpose. Love on Tides (7) has been hitting good, but there’s a question about the switch to synthetic. Don’t dismiss Sark Lady (12) — who is 15-1 ML. Could make some nice noise in this one with Corey Lanerie up. I bet the 6 to win/place and then box the 6-1-7 in one exacta and then key the 6 over/under the 12-10, as well.
7th: 3-1-6-4…G1 The Secretariat Stakes…I go with the Irish-bred Permian, who will be making his NA debut for trainer Mark Johnston. This one nearly pulled off a Group 1 win in France in his last out and couldn’t be doing any better. Afandem (1) is a French-bred that I like, as well. In 4 lifetime starts, he has 3 wins and a second. Gorgeous Kitten (5) — and not Oscar Performance (4) — is the best American hope, I think. The former can stalk the pace, which appears on paper to be a good one, that just may compromise the latter. I bet the 3-1 to win/place; box the 3-1 in one exacta; and then play the 3-1 over/under the other two listed.
8th: 10-8-5-7-3-4…Bruce D Memorial…I love Society Beau (10) is this spot, if he can handle the switch to the syn…He has hooked some real good ones this year and ran very well against both McCraken and Colonelsdarktemper two back. We know what those two have done lately. My 2nd Best Bet of the Day. Uncontested (8) has been banging heads with the likes of Wild Shot, Malagacy, One Liner, Petrov, and McCraken, too. Should benefit from a little softer spot in here and a little less ground to cover, too. Another one trying the surface for the first time. Kitten’s Cat (5) comes off the turf to try the syn and that’s a good angle for some. I bet the 10 to win/place/show and then key over/under all the others in here.
9th: 1-2-8-7-6…G3 American St. Ledger Stakes…Keystoneforvictory (1) is hard to knock. He has four wins and two thirds in his last six outs and looks to love this track, as well. Taghleeb (2) has been facing tougher, but has not been as sharp. Gets Jose Ortiz up today and that may break out some old memories. The duo teamed up to run second in the G1 Man o’ War back in May. Don’t leave this boy out. Bullards Alley (8) is 6-1 ML and probably will drift up the odds board. I don’t like his chances to win, but he could split the exacta up with a nice price. I bet the 2 (take note) to win/place and then key the 1-2 over/under the numbers listed.
10th: 10-1-4-3-7-9…G1 Beverly D Stakes…I love Rain Goddess (10) in this spot. This 3YO filly by Gailileo had an unusual run to finish second in the Group 1 Darley Irish Oaks in her last and picks up a significant rider switch to Ryan Moore today. Watch out here. Dacita (1) was my original pick and I still like her chances, too. But the more I looked, the more I gravitated to the preferred choice. Dacita, now at age 6, may have lost just a bit of her closing kick, but she is the class of the race and the horse to beat. Dona Bruja (4) may be the bettor’s choice, and she has won 10 and been second twice in 12 career starts. Plus, she is 2-for-2 this year, with a win over the track. Hard to knock. Kitten’s Roar (3) may just close with a purpose today, too. I go with my Best Bet #3 of the day, 10…I bet the 10 to win/place/show and then key over/under all the numbers listed. I box the 10-1-4 in one other exacta and take a solid 10-1 in a third.
11th: 11-5-13-12-10-8-4…G1 Arlington Million…I go with one of my favorite horses and one of my favorite people in Divisidero (11) and trainer Buff Bradley. The trainer is super good with getting horses like this one to their best form and he looks the part; acts the part; and can be the leading part in an International Field of superstars today. I look for him to have a better pace scenario to run into today, and he needs that to come with his traditional and powerful closing kick. Back to regular rider Julien Leparoux today and that certainly will help. Deauville (5) is an Irish bred who nearly won this race a year ago as a 3YO against olders. Back to give it another try today. And, he comes into this one is very nice form, too. Mekhtaal (13) is a true closer who has a nice finishing kick. He was bested by Highland Reel (one of the world’s best) in his last, and don’t dismiss this one today. Ascend (12) got a perfect trip two back and not a great one in the last. He is still good enough to hit he board in this spot with the right spot. I bet the 11 to win/place/show and then key over/under all the rest. I box the 11-5-13, as well, and then key those three over (only) the 12-10-8-4.
12th: 3-7-4-10-11-6-5…G3 Pucker Up Stakes…Wide open affair for 3YO fillies, most of whom are stepping up in class. So, I go with the ones that have proven their worth against the better competition already. Lipstick City (3) comes in here for trainer Chad Brown off a solid win in the Boiling Springs at Monmouth Park in her last. Lovely Bernadette (7) looks to have regained the same kind of form she displayed in winning the Rags To Riches Stakes at Churchill Downs last fall and appears to have taken to the grass very well in her last two. Like the odds and the rider. Journey Home (4) had a rough trip in her last and gets a huge, huge, huge rider switch to Jose Ortiz. No way a horse should ever be parked 7 to 8 wide in the upper stretch, but this one was in her last. I bet the 3-4 to win/place show and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I take one exacta where I wheel the top 3 over (only) the rest of the numbers, hunting a price candidate.
Here are my selections for Ellis Park. Races 5-9:
5th: 2-5-8-10-1…Kiss My Note (2) is my top choice in this one coming off two good runs in a row for rider Calvin Borel. Similar effort makes this one tough in here. Thamaan (5) ran a game second when claimed in the last out. Gets Jack Gilligan up today. Max Faktor (8) punched out early in his last, but had run three good ones before. I bet the 2 to win/place and then key over/under all the rest.
6th 6-7-5-2-3-8…Jinx Johnson is a first timer for Brad Cox, and gets jockey Joe Rocco up. These two have won half of their six tries together this meet. Downwind (7) is a second timer for Brendan Walsh and has been training well. Tired in last, but could find that race useful from a fitness perspective. Harbor Lights (5) goes for Steve Asmussen, who is running after Cox for the trainer’s title here. As I Please (2) goes for the Ian Wilkes barn, and they are having a good meet and a good year. Can’t dismiss. I bet the 6 to win/place and then box the top three. I wheel the top three over the bottom three in one other exacta, too.
7th: 9-6-4-10-1…Distortress (9) ran a winning race in the last and will be gunning from the get go in this one, too. Picks up a rider who knows how to finish a race. Missseventhirteen (6) is a stalker who gets a new rider, too, in Jon Court. Hot N Hectic (4) goes for Kenny McPeek, whose numbers nearly triple with second time starters over first outs. I bet the 9 to win/place and then box the top three. I then wheel the top three over the next two.
8th: 1-9-8-6-2-4…Sultry (1) didn’t give much of a run in her first out, but has been training great since. Have to give her another shot. Tiz a Treasure (9) and Flatout Happy (8) both warrant a shot, as well. But don’t leave out Enrage (6). Hernandez gets off the 1 to ride this one instead. Trainer not good with firsters, but this one may pull them home. I bet the 1 to win/place and then box the 1-9-8 in one exacta and the 1-9-6 in another.
9th: 3-1-4-5-9…My Best Bet of the Ellis card comes in the finale. Love the 3, Oh Dear Lord. This one is on the third race cycle off a long layoff and cuts back in distance. Fitness should not be an issue now. Hernandez gets up, too, and that is a huge plus. Should be ready for a score today. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then key over/under all the other numbers.
Good luck &
All the Best/Gene