Trainer Chad Brown has become a top force in graded stakes races on turf and will send out a trio of runners in Saturday’s $1 million Arlington Million (G1) including the likely top two betting choices.
Brown will saddle Big Blue Kitten, the 3-1 morning line favorite. The seven-year-old ridgling won the United Nations (G1) at Monmouth Park in his last start. He beat his stablemate Slumber by 1 ½ lengths. That foe is the 7-2 second choice on the morning line.
Brown will also saddle longshot Shining Copper (30-1), who makes his first start for the barn. The gelding set the early fractions and weakened to finish fourth in the United Nations in his first start off the claim by the Mike Maker barn.
The Arlington Million is one of five graded stakes on an outstanding betting card at Arlington Park, with a pair of Grade 1 races the supporting features.
Three-year-olds take center stage in the $450,000 Secretariat (G1), with a field of seven going to the post. The Alan Goldberg trained Force the Pass is the 2-1 morning line favorite.
The colt won the Belmont Derby Invitational (G1) in his last outing on July 4. The son of Speightstown has won four of his six career starts and Joel Rosario has the return call.
He will have to defeat three overseas invaders including the Aiden O’Brien trained Highland Reef (5-2), who won the Gordon Stakes (G3) at Goodwood in his last outing on July 29.
The $700,000 Beverly D. (G1) drew a field of 10 fillies and mares that will go 1 3/16 miles on the turf. The winner earns an automatic starting spot in the gate for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) as part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge ‘Win and You’re In” series of races.
Brown will saddle Stephanie’s Kitten, runner up in last fall’s Filly & Mare Turf. She has not fired her best in her last two starts, a fourth in the New York (G2) and a fifth in her most recent outing in the Diana (G1).
The Arlington Million is also a ‘Win and You’re In” race, with the winner earning an all-expenses paid trip to Keeneland on Oct. 31 for the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1).
The Arlington Million has been a race that has given me nightmares ever since 2004 when Jamie Spencer aboard Powerscourt was disqualified from the win at 9-2 as my top pick in what can best be described as a bonehead ride. He was placed fourth by the stewards, costing us the win, exacta, trifecta, and the NTRA Pick 4.
My Best Plays Report for Saturday will include my strongest plays from Arlington Park and Saratoga.
Let’s head out to Arlington Park for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Arlington Park Race 10 The Arlington Million (G1) Post time 5:49 CT
4 Big Blue Kitten 3-1
11 Maverick Wave 8-1
2 Slumber 7-2
5 Wake Forest 12-1
Big Blue Kitten is one of three in here sent out by the Chad Brown barn that won this race in 2013 with Real Solution. Our top pick is coming off a victory in the United Nations (G1) at Monmouth Park in his last outing, his 13th win in 27 career starts and his third Grade 1 win, not bad for a runner that started his career running for a $35,000 claiming tag.
The seven-year-old ridgling has now run triple digit Beyer Speed Figures in each of his last eight starts and has landed in the exacta in seven of his last eight starts. He lost to his stablemate Slumber two back in the Manhattan (G1) at today’s 1 ¼ mile distance over ground labeled as good. It is tough to find any knocks on this guy except for a possible light price and lack of much pace in this spot.
Maverick Wave is one of five overseas invaders in the field. The colt is sent out by John Gosden, who won this race with Debussy in 2010 with William Buick aboard. Debussy used the same race as a prep as our second choice, who won the Huxley Stakes (G3) at Chester going 1 5/16 miles over soft ground.
His previous seven starts were on the all-weather. He has landed in the exacta in four of his six career starts on turf. He adds Lasix here for his U.S. debut and offers decent value if we catch most of the 8-1 morning line.
Slumber finished 1 ½ lengths back of our top pick last out in the United Nations. The seven-year-old stalked the early pace while saving ground, had to steady in traffic midway on the far turn, came off the rail and finished up well when angled toward the outside.
The Brown trainee won the Manhattan two back with a good late run, drawing off late to win by 2 ¾ lengths over his stablemate Big Blue Kitten, who then came back to win the United Nations, turning the tables. The seven-year-old has won five of his nine starts at the distance.
WIN: Big Blue Kitten to win at 5-2 or better.
EXACTA: 4,11 / 2,4,5,11
TRIFECTA: 4,11 / 2,4,5,11 / 2,4,5,7,11
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