The 1 3/8 mile turf fixture will be run for the 54th time and has been won by many really good turf runners including recent winners Cape Blanco, Gio Ponti, and Red Rocks, and all-time greats like Secretariat, Sunshine Forever, Theatrical, and Solar Splendor.
This year’s running did not draw the deepest of fields, with just one Grade or Group 1 winner in the field, the Aidan O’Brien shipper Treasure Beach, last year’s Irish Derby (G1) winner.
O’Brien shipped over Cape Blanco to win this race last year and he went on to win the Arlington Million (G1) and the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational (G1).
Cape Blanco fractured a knee and was retired after his Joe Hirsch win.
Treasure Beach comes into the race off losses in the Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) where he checked in fourth, followed by a ninth place finish in the Queen Elizabeth (G1) at Sha Tin in Hong Kong.
The colt is the 9-5 morning line favorite, with his biggest threat likely to come from Point of Entry, who comes into the race off a career best winning the Elkhorn (G2) at Keeneland going 1 ½ miles.
The colt has won three of six career starts on grass and the son of Dynaformer is the 5-2 second choice.
Completing the field are Tahoe Lake (15-1), Center Divider (10-1), Newsdad (4-1), Game Ball (30-1), Hudson Steele (5-1), and Philly Ace (15-1).
I will head out to Arlington Park and we will break down Arlington Million Preview Day. There are four stakes on the card and I will include my selections and analysis in Saturday’s Best Plays Report.
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Let’s head out to Belmont Park for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Belmont Park Race 8 The Man o’ War (G1) Post time 4:34 ET
3 Point of Entry 5-2
5 Treasure Beach 9-5
7 Hudson Steele 5-1
4 Newsdad 4-1
Point of Entry makes his first start since winning the Elkhorn (G2) at Keeneland for his first starts victory. The late developing son of Dynaformer was wheeling back off a two week break after beating Alw-2 foes two back. Three runners have exited the Elkhorn to win stakes in their next starts. Third place finisher Simmard won the Louisville Handicap (G3) at Churchill Downs on May 26, fourth place finisher Musketier won the Singspiel (G3) at Woodbine on June 24, and the sixth place finisher Wilkinson won the American Handicap (G2) at Betfair Hollywood Park on May 26. The Shug McGaughey barn is having a solid meeting and the colt has had a 2 ½ month break which should help prevent a regression off his back to back career tops. He is a half-brother to two-time Grade 1 winner Pine Island ($667K).
Treasure Beach invades from across the pond for trainer Aiden O’Brien who shipped in Cape Blanco to win this race last year. The colt has racked up the frequent flyer miles, in the last year shipping to Arlington Park to win the Secretariat (G1), shipped to Canada to run third in the Canadian International (G1), and this year made trips to Dubai and Hong Kong. The colt is the lone Grade or Group 1 winner in the field, taking the Irish Derby (G1) last June at the Curragh. He caught yielding turf last out in the Queen Elizabeth (G1) at Sha Tin and seems to like things firmer which he will get in this spot. He is an imposing shipper here for a barn that has won six Grade 1 races and over the past year in the U.S. and has won 7 races from 20 starters. Jamie Spencer is in to ride.
Hudson Steele set the early fractions and weakened inside the final furlong to finish fourth last out in the Manhattan (G1) going 1 ¼ miles. The gelding sat off the pace two back in winning the Dixie (G2) at Pimlico on Preakness Day. The gelding has landed in the exacta in seven of his eight trips on grass but the 1 3/8 miles may be a bit too far for this guy.
WIN: Point of Entry to win at 2-1 or better.
EXACTA: 3,5 / 3,4,5,7
TRIFECTA: 3,5 / 3,4,5,7 / 3,4,5,7,8