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It’s a big day today. We are going to focus on Arlington, where’s it’s Arlington Million Day, but we'll also look at Saratoga and Del Mar, which combined run three graded stakes races. We expect fast and firm conditions everywhere; let’s go.
Arlington Park Race 9, 5:53 pm ET
Grade 1 Beverly D Stakes, 1 3/16 miles, turf, fillies & mares 3 & up
This is the most fascinating matchup of two headlining horses that we can remember. The 8/5 morning line favorite, 7-Sistercharlie, is an Irish-bred mare, trained by Chad Brown, who has won three straight races, all of them Grade 1: she won this race last year, then won the Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Turf, and won the Diana at Saratoga four weeks ago in her 2019 debut. Since coming to the U.S. from France in 2017, Sistercharlie has run seven times, all either Grade 1 or Grade 2 stakes, and has finished either first or second in all of them. She will carry the flag for the American-based runners, and she is very, very good. .
Leading the charge for Team Euro is 1-Fleeting, a Coolmore 3-year-old filly trained by Aidan O’Brien, who has won just two of eight career starts, but who has been running in the toughest 3-year-old filly turf races in the world, and who has shown some flashes of brilliance in them. It's not easy for a 3-year-old to beat elders at this time of the year, but she looks to have the ability to pull it off.
We like Fleeting. She looks to us like a runner who wants firm turf, which horses rarely get in Europe, but which she will get today. We think she moves forward on the firm footing, and an improvement off her Irish Oaks effort will leave the field running for second money. We will bet her to win at 5/2, and we will key her on top of a trifecta with Sistercharlie and 6-Magic Wand, another O'Brien trainee. The bets: Arlington Park, Race 9, $25 to win on 1-Fleeting; $5 Trifecta, 1-Fleeting on top with 6-Magic Wand and 7-Sister Charlie boxed underneath (two trifecta bets, $10 total).
Arlington Park Race 10, 6:28 pm ET
Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes, 1 mile, turf, 3-year-olds
This is a great betting race; there are nine entrants, and one can make a case for most of them to win. But we like another O'Brien runner here, 3-Never No More. This Irish-bred is another runner we think is looking for firm turf, and though he's not run farther than 7 furlongs in his brief career, we think he will like the stretch out to a mile -- in fact, we think he will absolutely love it. We doubt that we will get his 6-1 morning line price, but we think he's a good bet even at slightly lower odds. The bet: Arlington Park, Race 10, $30 to win on 3-Never No More.
Arlington Park Race 11, 7:12 pm ET
Grade 1 Arlington Million Stakes, 1 ¼ miles, turf, 3 & up
Any analysis of this race has to begin with 8/5 morning line favorite 3-Bricks and Mortar, who has racked up five wins in a row, with the last two being Grade 1 race on the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes undercards. He does not win by large margins, but he seems to time his strong stretch run to get up just in time.
There are some talented European horses entered here, however, and the question is the same as in the Beverly D and Secretariat: Are the best American turf horses better than the European shippers? We think that the answer here is the same as in the other Arlington stakes today, and that answer is no. We like another Euro in this one, 9-Intellogent. This 4-year-old Fabrice Chappet trainee has been running in France, where he's shown a preference for firmer going, as well as a late-running style that we think will be a fit here: We see the early pace in this race being fast, and that will set it up for a closer. We think Intellogent can out-kick Bricks and Mortar, and we will bet him to win at 12-1. The bet: Arlington Park, Race 11, $30 to win on 9-Intellogent.
Saratoga Race 8, 5:11 pm ET
Saratoga Special Stakes, 6 ½ furlongs, dirt, 2-year-olds
A very talented field of eight goes in the Saratoga Special. We like -- no, make that love -- 3-Green Light Go, a Jimmy Jerkins-trained colt who won a maiden race at Belmont Park on July 4. He earned a very fast 84 Beyer Speed Figure for that effort, and the quality of this victory was reinforced when runner-up Another Miracle came back to win his next start, a Maiden Special at Saratoga on July 24, in very fast time. This is, as the old saying goes, a big figure and a key races, and that makes Green Light Go a green light and a go. And as the cherry on top of the sundae, he has been sizzling in his recent morning workouts. We doubt we will get the 2-1 morning line price on him, but we will bet Green Light Go anyway, and we will do so enthusiastically. The bet: Saratoga, Race 8, $75 to win on 3-Green Light Go.
Saratoga Race 9, 5:46 pm ET
Fourstardave Stakes, 1 mile, turf, 3 & up
The Chad Brown JV team stars in this one, as Brown saddles three, 4-Raging Bull (3-1), 9-Made You Look (10-1), and 3-Uni, who is a 5-year-old mare taking on the boys in this one. Uni has run off five straight wins, all in stakes, and we think that she will be the winner of this one. The pace should be legitimate, which should set the table for Uni's late surge, which is sensational and worth watching. We like it when female horses take on the boys; we like it even better when we think they'll beat them. We will bet Uni to win at 5/2. The bet: Saratoga, Race 9, $40 to win on 3-Uni.
Del Mar, Race 8, 8:30 pm ET
Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes, 6 furlongs, dirt, 2-year-olds
The Best Pal drew seven entrants, and they appear to be pretty evenly matched, with all runners having a last-out Beyer Speed Figure within a few points of each other. There is no standout, at least going by the figs.
We like the outside horse, 7-Fore Left. He has won both of his career starts, a maiden race at Santa Anita in May and a minor stakes race at Belmont Park in June. But it was how he won those races that catches our eye: he earned virtually identical Beyer Speed Figures (69 and 70), and when a young horse runs identcal figs -- the Ragozin Sheet players call this a "paired top" -- it is a powerful sign that the horse is developing rapidly, and will run better the next time out. We see Fore Left running faster today than he ran last time, and that will put him in the winner's circle. That he is the fastest horse in the race, and draws the coveted outside post in this one-turn sprint, are unmitigated positives too. We will bet him to win at 5/2. The bet: Del Mar, Race 8, $40 to win on 7-Fore Left.
That's all for today. Enjoy the racing, and, as always, good luck at the windows.