The brilliant, yet somehow still underrated Gio Ponti, will once again enter the starting gate for the Arlington Million. The Cristophe Clement trainee took home top honors in the Million in 2009. In 2010, the son of Tale of the Cat finished second to European runner Debussy. It’s tough not to get excited about the likely favorite’s chances in the 2011 Arlington Million.
Although Clement has confirmed that the Million is a prep for Gio Ponti in his quest to take down Goldikova in the Breeders Cup Mile in the fall, Clement’s charge finished second to Goldikova in the 2010 BC Mile, the race appears to be for Gio Ponti’s taking.
The horse that appears to have the best shot of beating Gio Ponti in the Arlington Million is the same horse that beat the likely fave in the Grade I Man O’War Stakes on July 9th, Cape Blanco. Trained by the best horseman in the world, by more than just my account, Aidan O’Brien, Cape Blanco won the Group 1 Irish Champion over Rip Van Winkle and Twice Over last September. The horse finished fourth in the Dubai World Cup, the world’s richest horse race, and then fourth in the Prix Ganay before finishing 6th to Canford Cliffs, Goldikova finished second, in the Group 1 Queen Anne. Blanco appears to be rounding into top form after the victory over Gio Ponti. Any move forward will lead to a victory.
Mission Approved, who won the Grade I Manhattan and finished 4th to Cape Blanco, Gio Ponti and Boisterous in the Man O’War, figures to go off as the third choice on the board. Owner/trainer Naipul Chatterpaul has really done an excellent job with the With Approval sired equine, but taking down both Cape Blanco and Gio Ponti in the same race might be asking too much.
Rahystrada, Dean’s Kitten, and Tajaaweed will all get looks from horseplayers. Rahystrada goes into the Arlington Million off of a victory in the Colonial Turf Cup. Dean’s Kitten, although not showing a victory since March of 2010, has finished second in two Grade III races in a row while Tajaaweed won the Grade III Arlington Handicap, the prep race for the Arlington Million.
Below are the likely entrants for the Race of the Week, the Arlington Million.
- Rahystrada 12-1
- Tajaaweed 12-1
- Dean’s Kitten 25-1
- Zack Hall 10-1
- Gio Ponti 2-1
- Proceed Bee 40/1
- Cape Blanco 9/5
- Mission Approved 5/1
- Wigmore Hall 8/1
- General Perfect 35/1