Bricks and Mortar Set for Arlington Million Stakes
Courtesy of Aaron Halterman of the Racing Dudes
Ten horses will line up to contest this Saturday’s 37th running of the $1,000,000 Arlington Million Stakes (G1) at Arlington Park. The Million is the track’s feature race of the meet and has once again attracted a solid international field.
This year’s number one-ranked horse in the country has arrived. Bricks and Mortar, undefeated in 2019, is the current favorite to be named Horse of the Year. He has won five straight, including three Grade 1 events, beginning with the inaugural Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational Stakes (G1). Last time out, he was the easiest of winners in the Manhattan Stakes (G1), beating the toughest field that he had faced all year by a widening 1 1/2 lengths. Trainer Chad Brown also sent over the defending champion Robert Bruce, giving him a formidable 1-2 punch.
The winner of the Arlington Million will receive an automatic position in the $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) this fall at Santa Anita Park. Pre-entry and entry fees will be paid and a nominator award of $10,000 will be given to the nominating person. Also, all Breeders’ Cup starters based outside of the state of California will receive a travel allowance of $10,000 if based in North America and $40,000 if based Internationally.
Here is a look at the full field:
#1 Robert Bruce – The defending champion is back for more after running the best of his career in last season’s spot. Since then, while he has performed well, he has not been able to pick up another victory. His year started rough with a fifth in the Fort Marcy Stakes (G3), but he did improve quite a bit last time out, finishing a solid second in the Manhattan Stakes (G1). This will be his third start off of the layoff, so he could be ready for a peak effort.
#2 Magic Wand – The field’s lone filly is cross-entered between this and the Beverly D. Stakes (G1) against her own gender, so we’ll have to wait and see where her connections choose to run. She has gone toe to toe with some of the best horses in the world, which is why she has just two career victories. She has come to the United States twice this year, finishing second in the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) and third in the Man o’ War Stakes (G1). Both of those were against the males, so perhaps she’ll try to take them on once again this Saturday.
#3 Bricks and Mortar – The number one-ranked horse in the country will try to add to his resume and strengthen his chances of winning Horse of the Year when all is said and done. His five-race win streak began with the Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) before including the Muniz Memorial Handicap (G2) at Fair Grounds, the Old Forster Turf Classic Stakes (G1) at Churchill Downs, and the Manhattan Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park. The Arlington Million would be another huge feather in his cap.
#4 Catcho En Die – He has run his best at Arlington Park, so there’s hope for him here. Last year, he won the local Stars and Stripes Stakes (G3) before running a very solid third in the Arlington Million (G1). He had a rough start to 2019, with three off-the-board finishes in tough spots, and the competition here isn’t easy.
#5 Hunting Horn – Trainer Aidan O’Brien brings over Hunting Horn, who is no stranger to this track. After finishing third last year in the Belmont Derby (G1), he then raced here in the Secretariat Stakes (G1), where he finished eighth. It has been over a year since Hunting Horn has won, but he has faced some of the best in the world during that stretch. He once again will be up against a stellar field in this spot.
#6 The Great Day – After a solid career in the southern hemisphere, The Great Day came to the United States for his last two starts. The first one did not go well, as he finished fifth in the Prince George’s County Stakes at Laurel Park. However, he was much better last time out, finishing second over this track in the Arlington Handicap (G3). This will be his third start in America, so he could be ready for a peak performance.
#7 Pivoine – This international shipper will take a major step up in class while making his United States debut. He won a Handicap race at York last time out, but like all European shippers, his ability to adapt to new conditions and race tactics will play the biggest factor in the amount of success that he can achieve. His new trainer Andrew Balding’s Side Glance finished third in the 2012 and 2013 Millions.
#8 Captivating Moon – A third in the Arlington Handicap (G3) earned this horse a shot at bigger and better company. His only prior Grade 1 try came at this track last year when he was fifth in the Secretariat Stakes (G1). He always seems to put in a solid run when racing at Arlington Park, which gives his connections reasons to be optimistic.
#9 Intellogent – Last year’s Qatar Prix Jean Prat (G1) winner will try his luck in the United States for the first time after running fourth in the Prix d’Ispahan (G1) last time out at Longchamp. Since his win, he has hit the board only once, though he has been facing top-notch competition. A move to the United States might do him some good.
#10 Bandua – He enters this race off of his first win in over a year, which came in the Arlington Handicap (G3). He is also no stranger to tough races in the United States, which should have him prepared for a race of this caliber. Last year, he made his United States debut at Arlington Park in the Secretariat Stakes (G1), where he finished a solid third. He likes this track and seems to be improving heading into this event.
The Arlington Million serves as one of two Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” events this Saturday at Arlington Park. The other race is the Beverly D. Stakes (G1), which features defending champion Sistercharlie. That race will be a “Win and You’re In” for the Marker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1). These two contests have been quality producers of Breeders’ Cup contenders for several years, making them must watch events. The American-based Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” events continue on August 17th at Del Mar with the running of the Del Mar Handicap and TVG Pacific Classic.
For more coverage of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series, head over to racingdudes.com.
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