One of four overseas invaders, Deauville has been installed as the 7-2 morning line favorite among 13 horses in Saturday’s 35th running of the Arlington Million (G1). The Irish-based colt is trained by Aidan O’Brien, who can equal record-setting Hall of Famers Ron McAnally and Charlie Whittingham with a third Million victory, and leading European rider Ryan Moore will be in for the mount.
Deauville captured the Belmont Derby (G1) when making his U.S. debut last summer and followed with a close third in the Million, striking the lead in the stretch only to be overhauled by a half-length in the latter stages. The 4-year-old son of Galileo captured a Group 3 Irish event earlier this year and finished a good third in the Queen Anne (G1) at Royal Ascot two months ago. He exits a head second in a Group 3 at Leopardstown in Ireland.
French Group 1 winner Mekhtaal is certainly eligible to factor with his best. Beaten 3 ½ lengths in sixth by Highland Reel in the Prince of Wales’s (G1) at Royal Ascot last out, the top-class colt is based in France with Jean-Claude Rouget and Frankie Dettori will be in to ride the 4-year-old son of Sea the Stars. However, Mekhtaal must overcome the far outside post.
Runner-up in Australia’s Caulfield Cup (G1) last fall, Scottish opened 2017 with a respectable fifth in the Prince of Wales’s and will make his U.S. bow for Godolphin. The 5-year-old gelding is an intriguing 8-1 on the morning line with William Buick. English stakes winner Fanciful Angel, a 30-1 outsider, completes the international quartet.
The American team features Grade 1 winners Beach Patrol and Dividisero, who have been installed as the 5-1 co-third choices.
Turf titan Chad Brown is responsible for Beach Patrol, who showed an affinity for Arlington’s turf when capturing last year’s Secretariat (G1). Runner-up to Dividisero in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1) earlier this season, Beach Patrol exits a third in the United Nations (G1) at Monmouth Park and figures to be forwardly-placed with Joel Rosario. Dividisero, a four-time stakes victor for Buff Bradley, will try to rebound from a sixth in the Manhattan (G1) at Belmont Park and Julien Leparoux has the assignment.
Manhattan upsetter Ascend is eligible to show more after experiencing a less-than-favorable trip finishing fourth in the July 29 Bowling Green (G2) at Saratoga, but he faces a tough starting spot in post 12. Kasaqui finished a good second in last year’s Million and won the Wise Dan (G2) at Churchill Downs two back. He’s looking to improve upon a third as the favorite in the July 8 Arlington (G3). Ghost Hunter, who upset the Arlington H., is also back for the Million.
The Pizza Man captured the 2015 Million and recorded a fast-closing sixth last year, but the 8-year-old gelding hasn’t looked like his old self in recent starts, running his losing streak to four in the Stars and Stripes (G3) most recently. The Illinois-bred gelding is 12-1 on the morning line.
Rounding out the field are longshots Enterprising, Oak Brook and Oscar Nominated.
Wow, Oscar Nominated only gets an honorable mention? Seems rather harsh for a fellow who could steal the race