Magic Man’s Race of the Week: The Arlington Million

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Another weekend of great horse racing around the country beckons, and this week the Magic Man takes you to Arlington Park outside of Chicago for their biggest day of racing Saturday with many good races on their card. But I am going to preview their center piece race, the Arlington Million for older colts and geldings on the turf.

The Million drew a field of 13 and it looks like a handicapper’s and bettors paradise because it is completely a wide-open race.

In the Whitney Handicap at Saratoga, I did pick the winning horse in Gun Runner as he drew off to an easy six-length win. Yet I missed on the exotics because Keen Ice was able to do what I didn’t think he could – reproduce the big effort he had two back in the Suburban.

As for the Million, this one is a lot tougher to decipher but having the moniker the Magic Man means I shall do my best to deliver a winning exacta. Let’s take a closer look at the field.

RACE 11 Arlington Million XXXV S. (Grade I) POST TIME – 6:19 PM



PP (RACE 11)

$2 Win / Place / Show / $1 Daily Double (11-12) / $1 Exacta / $0.50 Trifecta $0.10 Superfecta / $0.20 Jackpot High 5 (15% takeout)

Arlington STAKES

Purse $1,000,000. For Three-Year-Olds And Upward. One And One Fourth Miles. (Turf)

P# PP Horse  Virtual
A/S Med Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L
1 1 Oak Brook (IL) [ ] 5/G L S Sanjur 126 B Williamson 30/1
2 2 Oscar Nominated (KY) [ ] 4/R L F Geroux 126 M J Maker 15/1
3 3 Enterprising (FL) [ ] 6/G L C J Lanerie 126 M J Maker 30/1
4 4 Ghost Hunter (KY) [ ] 7/G L E Gonzalez 126 J Ness 30/1
5 5 Deauville (IRE) [ ] 4/C L R L Moore 126 A P O’Brien 7/2
6 6 Fanciful Angel (IRE) [ ] 5/G L1 D Muscutt 126 M Botti 30/1
7 7 The Pizza Man (IL) [ ] 8/G L I Ortiz, Jr. 126 R A Brueggemann 12/1
8 8 Kasaqui (ARG) [ ] 7/H L J Graham 126 I Correas, IV 10/1
9 9 Scottish (IRE) [ ] 5/G L1 W T Buick 126 C Appleby 8/1
10 10 Beach Patrol (KY) [ ] 4/C L J Rosario 126 C C Brown 5/1
11 11 Divisidero (KY) [ ] 5/H L J R Leparoux 126 W B Bradley 5/1
12 12 Ascend (KY) [ ] 5/G L J L Ortiz 126 H G Motion 10/1
13 13 Mekhtaal (GB) [ ] 4/C L Dettori 126 J Rouget 9/2

Owners: 1 – Virginia H. Tarra Trust (Virginia H. Tarra); 2 – Kenneth L. and Sarah K. Ramsey; 3 – Maxis Stable (Sidney Karmia); 4 – Triple K Stables (Curt Kobza); 5 – Mrs. Fitri Hay, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael B. Tabor and Derrick Smith; 6 – Touch Gold Racing (Fanciful) (Mike Kaye); 7 – Midwest Thoroughbreds (Richard and Karen Papiese); 8 – Wimborne Farm (Diane L. Perkins); 9 – Godolphin, LLC (Lessee) (James G. Bell, President); 10 -Covello, James, Sheep Pond Partners and Head of Plains Partners LLC; 11 – Gunpowder Farms, LLC (Thomas Keithley); 12 – Stone Farm (Arthur B. Hancock, III) and Madaket Stables, LLC (Sol Kumin); 13 – Al Shaqab Racing (Mohammed Abdulla A M Al-Mannai)

Breeders: 1 – Virginia H. Tarra Trust; 2 – Mrs. Jerry Amerman; 3 – Glen Hill Farm; 4 – Adena Springs; 5 – Mrs F. H. Hay; 6 – Berjis Desai; 7 – Midwest Thoroughbreds; 8 – San Francisco de Pilar; 9 – Knocktoran Stud; 10 – Nancy C. Shuford; 11 – Hinkle Farms; 12 – Stone Farm; 13 – Haras du Mezeray and Skymarc Farm

Pedigrees (Sire – Dam, by Dam Sire): 1 – Giant’s Causeway – Crafty Oak , by Crafty Prospector ; 2 – Kitten’s Joy – Devine Actress , by Theatrical (IRE); 3 – Elusive Quality – Indy Blaze , by A.P. Indy ; 4 – Ghostzapper – Hartfelt , by Kafwain ; 5 – Galileo (IRE) – Walklikeanegyptian (IRE) , by Danehill ; 6 -Dark Angel (IRE) – Fanciful Dancer (GB) , by Groom Dancer ; 7 – English Channel – I Can Fan Fan , by Lear Fan ; 8 – Lasting Approval – Kemosheba , by Alysheba ; 9 – Teofilo (IRE) – Zeiting (IRE) , by Zieten ; 10 – Lemon Drop Kid – Bashful Bertie , by Quiet American ; 11 – Kitten’s Joy – Madame Du Lac, by Lemon Drop Kid ; 12 – Candy Ride (ARG) – Ghost Dancing , by Silver Ghost ; 13 – Sea The Stars (IRE) – Aiglonne , by Silver Hawk ;

Sire of Oscar Nominated standing at Ramsey Farm

Sire of Beach Patrol standing at Lane’s End

Sire of Divisidero standing at Ramsey Farm

Sire of Ascend standing at Lane’s End

Equipment Changes: 5 – Deauville (IRE) – Cheek Piece


1-Oak Brook ran second in the Arlington Handicap in his most recent start but he does not have the class to compete against a much deeper field of more accomplished horses here. I do not see him anywhere on my gimmicks.

2-Oscar Nominated, like the horse on the rail, does not have the class foundation needed to compete against these types so he also will not be on my tickets.

3-Enterprising is another who would need to run faster than he ever has to compete. Also not on any of my gimmicks.

4-Ghost Hunter won the Arlington Handicap in his last but he would also have to take a quantum leap forward to impact with a much better field.

5-Deauville, who ran third in this race last year as a 3 year old, is an absolute major contender on form. He will get a fast and firm course, the type where he thrives. His last out, he carried 138 pounds so the weight break makes him that much tougher. An absolute must use.

6-Fanciful Angel is a European shipper who has absolutely no chance in here. Just not one to consider with inferior numbers against lower class animals than what he will face here

7-The Pizza Man, winner of the 2015 Arlington Million, is making his third start of his form cycle. The the sentimental choice in here has his best days seem behind him but you never know. I think if he can fire a big race, he has a puncher’s chance in this one.

8-Kasaqui had a rough trip in last year’s edition of this race and could have won with a cleaner trip. His comeback race in the Arlington Handicap also was a trouble trip where he grabbed a quarter yet still managed to be third. You suspect a move forward but his connections said earlier this week they are not looking for improvement, just to maintain. I do not think maintaining gets it done so he is a late throw-out here.

9-Scottish was scratched on Thursday morning

10-Beach Patrol won the Secretariat here last year ,and I can forgive his third in the United Nations at Monmouth because he made a very premature move to the front mid race and chased a speed duel. I think a more tractable trip gets him in the mix for the win. An interesting prospect to say the least.

11-Divisidero might be an underlay here and here is why. He loves Churchill Downs  (three wins from as many starts) but at other venues he is only 2-for-11. He is a very quality horse but could he be a sucker bet here? Also consider he has not hit the board at this distance so the signs say do not use him.

12-Ascend wheels back off a strange trip in the Bowling Green at Saratoga two weeks ago in which he finished towards the rear of the field. He sat off a moderate first quarter and inexplicably went to the front chasing a hot pace. I like the price because he shows you he can compete with these types. A more patient ride could find him in the mix late.

13-Mekhtaal has tough post to overcome but has won a Group 1 race in his career. If he can somehow work out a trip, he could be one to consider late.

My Selections

1-Beach Patrol-when figuring out this race, a handful of horses were in my consideration but I feel he has the best chance with a good trip. Offers attractive value.

2-Deauville-strictly the one to beat and would be foolish to leave off of any exotics or multi-race wagers here. 

3-The Pizza Man-though he will not be the favorite here he is going to be a sentimental choice. With this field I suspect he can compete at least for a board finish.

4-Ascend-I like the fact he bounces back quickly off of such a weird race in his last out so in that respect he can be right in the mix. He is part of my exacta box.

That will do it for my look at this edition of the Arlington Million. As I said at the beginning, this race will be a wide open and exciting one. As a handicapper, this is the kind of race that if you hit it will be a great reward.

I will be back next week with another edition of the Magic Man’s Race of the Week so until then may your winners be plentiful and your wallets be fat.

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George Pepis

Horse Racing Analyst

George Pepis provides racing analysis during each Fair Grounds racing season. He also shares commentary and selections for major stakes events and prep races around the country. In the past, George has hosted sports talk programming on WGSO 990am in New Orleans. He has served as both play-by-play and color analyst on Louisiana high school football radio and internet broadcasts.

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