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Jockey William Buick celebrates as Debussy heads to the winner's circle after the 2010 Arlington Million.
The $1 million Arlington Million Stakes (G1) celebrated its 28th renewal on Saturday afternoon at Arlington Park near Chicago. A field of 9 older horses went to post in this 1 1/4 mile turf feature, with defending champion Gio Ponti sent off as the 9-10 favorite, off his win in the Man o'War Stakes at Belmont Park. In to challenge him included 6-1 second choice Just as Well, runner-up in the Arlington Handicap (G3) last out, and 13-2 third choice Tazeez, third in his last two starts at home in England, the Prince of Wales's Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot and the Princess of Wales's Stakes (G2) at Newmarket.
Gio Ponti leads in the stretch with Debussy closing on the inside.
First time past the stands, Tazeez and 45-1 longest shot Quite a Handful battled for the early lead through an opening quarter in 25.30 and a half in 50.04 over the good turf course, with 10-1 General Quarters stalking the pacesetters in third. Down the backstretch, jockey Richard Hills asked Tazeez to open up on the field and he pulled away to a 4 1/2 length advantage at the top of the stretch, through 3/4 in 1:13.69 and a mile in 1:37.85. Favorite Gio Ponti, who raced at the back of the field 10 lengths off the pace through the early stages, came out 6 wide into the lane to take over the lead inside the 1/8 pole. However, 11-1 Debussy, who was 6th at the top of the stretch, found room on the inside and closed with a rush in the final 1/16 mile to nail Gio Ponti at the line by 1/2 a length, completing the trip in 2:03.01. It was another 2 lengths back to pacesetter Tazeez third.
# Horse Jockey Win Place Show 2 Debussy Buick 24.00 8.20 5.60 6 Gio Ponti Dominguez 2.80 2.40 9 Tazeez Hills 4.00 $2 Exacta (2-6) paid 77.20 $1 Trifecta (2-6-9) paid 171.30 $1 Superfecta (2-6-9-7) paid 1119.80 Winning Time: 2:03.01Results Chart
Left: Debussy in the winner's circle with trainer John Gosden in the beige suit. Gosden said, "He had nowhere to go. The pace was decent enough for this kind of ground. I think they just tired the last part and he dashed up the rail and done it really well. I've been trying to win this race for 28 years."
Right: The trophy presentation with trainer John Gosden on one side of jockey William Buick and Arlington Park Chairman Richard Duchossois on the other. It was the first Arlington Million winner for Gosden.
Left: Debussy in the post parade. His jockey William Buick said, "I feel very fortunate to have gotten this mount and John Gosden's horses. We were too tight for room early. I thought 'Oh no, I'm not going to have room,' but then we finally got clear and he was able to run his race."
Right: Debussy heads out to the track before the race.
Left: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Gio Ponti in the post parade. His jockey Ramon Dominguez said, "I thought I had enough to hang on. Once I got clear, the horse was idling a little bit, maybe looking at the stands or something. The trip was great. I had a lot of horse turning for home. He couldn't hang on the last sixteenth when he was looking around."
Right: Third place finisher Tazeez returns after the race. His jockey Richard Hills said, "He didn't break clean like I wanted him to. I was going to take control of the race right from the start. It's unfortunate because he bunny hopped coming out. I just tried to make of it what I could then, he ran a credible third. The mistake at the start cost me."
On to the Beverly D. won by Eclair de Lune
On to the Secretariat Stakes won by Paddy O'Prado
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