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Little Mike back to defend his Million title - By Tom Krish

Posted on - 15 Aug 2013

Little Mike back to defend his Million title
By Tom Krish
Chicago
 
Thirteen horses go postward in the  Arlington Million. The crown jewel in Arlington Park’s racing calendar, the 2000-metre turf contest, now in its 31st year, was the first $1,000,000 thoroughbred race run in the world. The inaugural running was by John Henry. The winning rider was the legendary Bill Shoemaker. John Henry beat The Bart, Eddie Delahoussaye up, by the narrowest of verdicts. John Henry, as a matter of fact, is the only dual winner of the Arlington Million.
 
The winner of the Million gets a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. In 2012, Little Mike won the Arlington Million and won the coveted Breeders’ Cup Turf to complete a prestigious double. The Dale Romans-trained Little Mike is back this year to defend his title. Ramon Dominguez, Little Mike’s rider last year, suffered an injury and has retired from racing. Joel Rosario, who won the Dubai World Cup with Animal Kingdom and the Kentucky Derby with Orb in 2013, will be aboard Little Mike. A trip to Dubai did not yield results and more recenty, Little Mike was a disappointment in the United Nations Handicap at Monmouth Park.
 
Let us take a look at the other runners. Finnegan’s Wake, another Dale Romans pupil, is yet to win in three starts this year. Powerscourt, Finnegan’s Wake’s sire, won the Million in 2004 and was disqualified. In 2005, however, Powerscourt, with the help of a flawless steer from Kieren Fallon, made amends. Robby Albarado will be aboard Finnegan’s Wake.
 
Grandeur has been second once in two 2013 appearances. There is reason for optimism. On July 27, 2013, Grandeur was three parts of a length off in the Group II Skybet York Stakes at the Knavesmire. William Buick comes in to ride the Verglas gelding.
 
Martin Harley, an up and coming star in the British riding horizon, will ride Guest of Honour. The four year-old Cape Cross colt, trained by Marco Botti, has had only four lifetime outings and has won two of them.
 
We have Hunter’s Light, a Godolphin runner. When seeking four wins in a row, the Dubawi five year-old, failed to fire as the public choice in the Dubai World Cup. In a subsequent race at Munich, Hunter’s Light took third. The incomparable Ryan Moore will be on the Sheikh Mohammed standardbearer.
 
Indy Point came from Argentina and made his American debut at Del Mar on July 24, 2013. In the care of Richard Mandella, Indy Point carried the public purse to a facile victory. The Million is a step-up for Indy Point who will have the services of Gary Stevens.
 
England-based Jane Chapple-Hyam has brought Mull Of Killough for a tilt at Chicago’s biggest prize. Joseph O’Brien flies in from Dublin to partner the seven year-old.
 
Nates Mineshaft, a $25,000 claimer in December 2011, has risen through the ranks. A son of Mineshaft, the four year-old Nates Mineshaft comes off an impressive win over Arlington’s turf course. E T Baird, a local riding star who rode Holding Court for trainer Paddy in 2007, has the call.
 
Rahystrada won the Grade III Arlington Handicap on the grass last time out. A nine year-old Rahy gelding, Rahystrada will be ridden by Rosie Napravnik.
 
Real Solution carries the colors of the Ramseys. Alan Garcia is the jockey. In two Belmont Park starts this year, Real Solution, a colt by Kitten’s Joy, has shown he is on an upward curve.
 
Side Glance, an Andrew Balding trainee, will have Jamie Spencer in the saddle. In three races in 2013, Side Glance has not done enough to suggest that he is a frontline contender. Incidentally, Side Glance is by Passing Glance. The latter was one of Martin Dwyer’s three winners on Epsom Oaks Day in 2003. Jockey Dwyer was victorious aboard Casual Look in the Oaks that Friday.
 
Temeraine lacks the glittering credentials that some of his adversaries bring to the table. The Tom Proctor-trained Temeraine is by Arch and has won once in four 2013 ventures. Jockey Eddie Castro gets the call.
 
The Apache completes the field. Mike de Kock trains The Apache. It was only days ago that de Kock saddled a winner for Dr Cyrus Poonawalla at Haydock in England. The Apache was fourth in the Skybet York Stakes in his most recent race. Christophe Soumillon, the France-based Belgian reinsman, will ride.
 
Beverly D, the Secretariat Stakes and the American St Leger are the major events in the undercard. There are 12 races. The first race is at 12 45 PM. Post time for the Million is 5 44 PM. A General Admission ticket is 20 dollars.

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