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Trainer Aidan O'Brien's group heads to the track on Thursday morning at Arlington

2017 Arlington International Festival of Racing Workouts

Date: 08/11/2017

The Arlington Million (G1), the world's first million-dollar race, celebrates its 35th renewal on Saturday with a field of 13 older horses going 1 1/4 miles over the turf course at Arlington International Racecourse in the Chicago suburbs. Two more Grade 1 turf events are on the undercard, the $600,000 Beverly D Stakes (G1) for older fillies and mares going 1 3/16 miles, and the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes (G1) for 3-year-olds at 1 1/4 miles. The fourth big event on the card is the $250,000 American St. Leger Stakes (G3) at a marathon distance of 1 11/16 miles around 3 turns of the course. Training hours on both Thursday and Friday were partly cloudy with temperatures in the low 70's.

Check out photos for 22 photos of the contenders from Thursday and Friday morning below. Click on the small photo to see a larger version.

horse racing
Permian (Million) cantered once around and schooled in the paddock. Charlie Johnston, assistant to his father Mark, said, “Back home he would go out for about an hour. So it’s very similar to his routine there. He always travels well; he’s very relaxed about it.” The multiple Group II-winner traveled to France last month to compete in the 1 1/2 mile Group I Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris. After leading from the start, Permian was headed in the stretch, dueled, and lost the photo by a nose. Saturday’s Secretariat should suit him with the cutback in distance to 1¼ miles, where he will break from post three with William Buick in the irons.
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Rainha da Bateria (Beverly D), is a multiple Grade 2 winner. The 5-year-old daughter of Broken Vow will be ridden by Jose Ortiz from post seven for trainer Chad Brown.
horse racing
Ascend (Million) is trainer Graham Motion's 4th runner in the Million. “The time off over the winter seemed to really help,” said Motion. “We brought him back to training in Florida, and the race at Laurel just seemed like a good fit.” The son of Candy Ride won the Manhattan by 1 1/4 lengths after stalking a slow pace. His last start, the Grade II Bowling Green Stakes at Saratoga on July 29 saw the gelding in a similar stalking position, but he failed to fire after sitting close early and finished fourth. “He was a little closer to the pace and just did too much,” said Motion. “Ortiz knows him well and how he likes to run, so we aren’t worried about that this time.”
horse racing
Oscar Performance (Secretariat) will likely play catch-me-if-you-can on the front end under Jose Ortiz from post four. Last out, the son of Kitten’s Joy was brilliant in victory, scoring a tour de force in the rich Grade I Belmont Derby Invitational at this trip. The homebred will try to improve upon his full-brother Oscar Nominated’s fifth-place finish in last year’s Secretariat, though said sibling was only beaten 1½ lengths and entered the event with considerably fewer accomplishments. 
horse racing
Afandam (Secretariat) drew the rail. Frankie Dettori will be in the irons for trainer Jean-Claude Rouget. He exercised in company with stablemate Mekhtaal, schooling in the gate and then blowing out through the stretch in a simulated duel.
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Mekhtaal (Million) drew the outside post 13. Frankie Dettori gets the call for trainer Jean-Claude Rouget. On Friday he worked 3f in 38 seconds flat.
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Dacita (Beverly D) will break from the rail under Irad Ortiz, Jr. The 6-year-old millionaire mare by Scat Daddy finished second in photos twice after winning the Grade I Diana last season but has the class of the field as she makes her third start of the season.
horse racing
Fanciful Angel (Million) is a multiple handicap winner for trainer Marco Botti and owner Touch Gold Racing. Dan Muscutt gets the call from post 6.
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Sarandia (Beverly D) drew post eight and will have Andrasch Starke in the irons for trainer Andrasch Starke and owner Gestuet Faerhhof. The 4-year-old daughter of Dansili, who sired 2013 Beverly D. winner Dank, was second in the German Oaks last year.
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Deauville (Million) is the morning line favorite in the main event and led the Aidan O'Brien contingent on Thursday morning, their first time out since arriving on Tuesday afternoon. The 2016 Grade I Belmont Derby winner finished third in last year’s running of the Million as a 3-year-old facing elders, crossing the line less than a length behind the winner. Now a 4-year-old, the colt is likely to be the wagering favorite after a very strong runner-up effort in the Group III Meld Stakes at Leopardstown on July 20.
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Oak Brook (Million) drew the rail in the main event. Santo Sanjur gets the call for trainer Brian Williamson and owner Virginia H. Tarra Trust.
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Grand Jete (Beverly D) winner in all three of her starts this season, the 4-year-old Dansili (GB) filly will start from post five with Joel Rosario aboard.
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Taj Mahal (Secretariat) was Grade III-placed as a juvenile. The 3-year-old colt has two placings this season, but has been unlucky not to hit the board in any of his Group I efforts. The O'Brien team walked through the paddock and winner's circle, jogged the wrong way on the outside of the clubhouse turn, turned around at the chute, then cantered 1 1/8 miles (1 lap) of the Polytrack before returning to the quarantine barn.
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Rain Goddess (Beverly D) exercised with her O'Brien stablemates. She has played bridesmaid in her last two Group I efforts, most recently to the talented filly Enable in the Group I Irish Oaks last month.  The 3-year-old filly is still seeking a victory against winners.
horse racing
Lipstick City (Pucker Up Stakes) drew post 3 in Saturday's nightcap race. Trainer Chad Brown said, “She’s a lightly raced horse that’s improving. She stepped up and ran a nice race at Monmouth last time, and I think she deserves a look at the Grade 3 level.” Joel Rosario gets the call from post 3 in the about 1 1/8 mile Grade 3 turf contest.
horse racing
Kasaqui (Million) was 2nd in this race last year. Trained by Ignacio Correas, IV, the 7-year-old son of Lasting Approval easily won the Grade II Wise Dan at Churchill Downs in June before a close, third-place finish in last month's Grade III Arlington Handicap. James Graham, aboard for the gelding's last two starts, will retain the mount from post eight.
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Zipessa (Beverly D) 5-year-old daughter of City Zip was third last year in this race and has been showing improvement with her recent form. Frankie Dettori gets the call for trainer Mike Stidham from post 6.
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Beach Patrol (Million) winner of last year's Grade I Secretariat Stakes for trainer Chad Brown, has gone winless since his local triumph last August but has remained consistent, landing three Grade I-placings since. Most recently third as the favorite in the Grade I United Nations at Monmouth, the 4-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid will be piloted by Joel Rosario from post 10.
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Hawksmoor (Beverly D) was third as a juvenile in the Group I Dubai Fillies Mile behind Minding, and was a winner in the Group II German 1000 Guineas last June. Third in her first North American start at Keeneland last fall, Hawksmoor has won both Grade III and Grade II events this season and will be trying to secure an elusive Grade I victory under Julien Leparoux as they start from post nine.
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Postulation (St. Leger) comes here off a win in the Cape Henlopen Stakes. This proved to be a good move in 2014 for trainer Edward Graham when he used the same race as preparation for Arlington Million winner Hardest Core. Jorge Vargas, Jr. gets the call from post 7 for owner Runnymede Racing.
horse racing
Dona Bruja (Beverly D) is undefeated in her two North American starts, including the Grade III Modesty over this course on July 8 when the Argentine-bred showed a powerful turn of foot to overtake the leaders late in a seemingly effortless move. She has never finished worse than second in her 12 lifetime starts, holding 10 wins with six of those victories coming in graded stakes. With Declan Cannon aboard from post four, Dona Bruja will try to equal her final performance last year at San Isidro in Argentina where she won the Group I Copa de Plata Roberto Vasquez Masilla Internacional.
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Ghost Hunter (Million) will have Edwin Gonzalez in the irons from post 4 for trainer Jamie Ness and owner Triple K Stables. He comes here off a win in the Arlington Handicap.

Previous runnings of the Arlington Million:

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