Mission Approved Arrives for Arlington Million XXIX
The first non Arlington-based starter for Arlington Million XXIX arrived on the grounds Friday afternoon at 1 p.m. when Naipaul & Terikchand Chatterpaul's Mission Approved was bedded down in Barn 18 on the local backstretch following a 16-hour van ride from Belmont Park.
"He usually travels very well," said trainer Naipaul Chatterpaul. "I'll have to see how he recovers from this travel."
Claimed for $35,000 a little more than a year ago, the son of With Approval paid immediate dividends for his new connections when he finished second beaten only a neck by 2009 Arlington Million winner and 2011 Million contender Gio Ponti in the Grade I Man o'War at Belmont Park barely 30 days later.
"After the Man o'War I was getting him ready for the (Grade I) Sword Dancer and he grabbed a quarter," Chatterpaul explained. "I let it heal on its own. By the time it healed up it was the end of the grass season in New York and I don't race anywhere else for the winter. So I sent him to the farm and brought him back this year."
In his first start of the year, the 7-year-old horse upset his rivals including Gio Ponti in the Grade I Manhattan Handicap on Belmont Stakes Day June 11. Last out, he ran fourth after making the pace in the Man o'War which was won by fellow Million hopeful Cape Blanco.
Chatterpaul was undecided if Mission Approved would have a workout over the Arlington turf before the Million but was planning at minimum to get him a gallop over the course prior to race day.
"A work would be great," the trainer said, "but if that's too much then we'll just gallop him."
Jose Espinoza is expected to ride Mission Approved in the Million. Pre-entries for the mile and a quarter turf race close today with post positions to be drawn Tuesday afternoon.