May 19, 2022

Mondialiste expected to defend Arlington Million crown after near-miss at York

Mondialiste (left) and Deauville (center) are among the European invaders in the Woodbine Mile (Four Footed Fotos)

Reigning Arlington Million (G1) hero Mondialiste hadn’t struck top form yet this campaign, but the seven-year-old proved he’s still got it with a near-miss to Success Days in Saturday’s York S. (G2). Runner-up in this same event before invading Arlington a year ago, the David O’Meara trainee is now set to return to Chicago for a Million title defense.

Mondialiste had gone unplaced in six straight since last August’s Arlington Million, including a fourth in the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1), a last-of-12 in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1), an 11th in the Dubai Turf (G1) on World Cup night, and most recently a sixth in the June 17 Ganton at York.

If his uninspiring results left a cloud of uncertainty about his Million status, Mondialiste dispelled them here. The 12-1 chance bided his time in the rear of the seven-horse field as 3-1 favorite Success Days dictated terms on the front end. Angled out wide by stable jockey Danny Tudhope, Mondialiste delivered a strong rally to draw up to the leader. Success Days was brave, however, and kept his nose in front at the wire.

Trained by Ken Condon and well handled by Shane Foley, Success Days was earning his first Group 2 laurel after a trio of Group 3 victories and fine efforts in defeat versus top company. A commanding winner of the 2015 Ballysax (G3) and Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial (G3), he was injured in the Derby (G1) at Epsom and needed plenty of time to regroup. Success Days returned to form over the course of 2016, placing to Found, Zhukova, and Fascinating Rock and regaining the winning thread by beating Fascinating Rock in the Royal Whip (G3). The gray opened 2017 with three solid performances. Just denied by Air Pilot in the Alleged (G3), he was fourth to Decorated Knight, Somehow, and Deauville in the Tattersalls Gold Cup (G1) and collared late by Johannes Vermeer in the International (G3) on July 2.

Success Days is ground-dependent, so the rain on the Knavesmire played a supporting role here. The “good-to-soft” going is to a certain extent reflected in the final time of 2:10.59 for 10 1/2 furlongs. For that same reason, Success Days may not proceed to the Juddmonte International (G1) over this same course and distance on August 23.  Condon mentioned Irish Champions Weekend, the Champion S. (G1) at Ascot, and the Grosser Preis von Bayern (G1) as potential autumn targets, ground-permitting.

Mondialiste’s next destination was broadcast on Twitter by Fearghal Davis from O’Meara’s yard:

Mondialiste is likely to renew rivalry with last year’s Million third, Deauville. As of this writing, other international candidates for the Million are France’s Mekhtaal and Godolphin’s Scottish.