Eleven Entered for 30th Arlington Million; Boisterous, Crackerjack King Two Top Choices
North American-based Boisterous, owned by Phipps Stable, and Irish-bred invader Crackerjack King, owned by the Crackerjack King Syndicate, were set as the top two choices Wednesday when a field of 11 was drawn for Saturday's 30th anniversary edition of the Arlington Million – as always the centerpiece event of the Chicago Thoroughbred racing season.
Included along with the Arlington Million during this Saturday's one-day International Festival of Racing conducted over Arlington's world famous turf course are the $750,000 Beverly D. Stakes for some of the world's best turf-favoring fillies and mares, the $500,000 Secretariat Stakes, restricted to 3-year-olds of international caliber on the grass, as well as Saturday's inaugural running of the $400,000 American St. Leger Stakes.
The Arlington Million, Beverly D. and Secretariat Stakes are also the only three Grade I races run in Illinois on an annual basis.
Boisterous, conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, was pegged as the 4-1 slight choice in the Arlington Million morning line with jockey Jose Lezcano aboard, while the Irish-bred Crackerjack King, trained by Italian-born Marco Botti, was installed as the 5-1 second choice in the Million with Irish reinsman Colm O'Donoghue slated for the saddle.
Boisterous finished second by a neck in his most recent start in the Grade III Arlington Handicap July 14 after losing ground by racing six-wide, and before that was third in Belmont's Grade I Manhattan Handicap on Belmont Stakes Day June 9.
Crackerjack King disappointed in his last start in Great Britain's Group I Coral-Eclipse at Sandown July 7 but before that he captured Italy's Group I Premio Presidente della Repubblica at Capannelle on May 13.
Behind Boisterous, the choice among the half-dozen North American-based Million runners at 6-1 is Priscilla Vaccarezza's Little Mike, who won Churchill's Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic on Kentucky Derby Day May 5 and most recently finished third in the Grade I Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park June 30. Eclipse Award-winning rider Ramon Dominguez is named in the irons.
Also pegged at 6-1 are Darley Stud Management's British-bred Afsare and Mrs. Fitriani Hay, Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor's British-bred Treasure Beach. The latter won last year's Secretariat Stakes but most recently disappointed when fourth in Ireland's Group III Ballyroan Stakes at Leopardstown on Aug. 9.
Last year's Arlington Million winning rider Jamie Spencer gets the mount on Treasure Beach and Afsare has jockey Kieran Fallon listed.
Afsare was most recently second by a neck in Great Britain's Group II Sky Bet York Stakes at York July 28 but won Sandown's listed Ambant Gala Stakes before that on July 6.
Robert Courtney Jr.'s Rahystrada, who won this year's Arlington Handicap as well as its 2010 renewal, was fifth in last summer's Million and fourth in the 2010 Million, is 8-1 in the morning line, as is Darley Stud Management's Irish-bred Colombian, eighth in the Group I Prince of Wales's Stakes in his last start during Great Britain's prestigious Royal Ascot meeting June 20 but was the winner of Sandown's Group III Sir Gordon Richards Stakes April 28.
Riding assignments have Julien Leparoux aboard Rahystrada and William Buick astride Colombian.
Completing the Arlington Million XXX field is Mark Hawtin's Wigmore Hall (12-1) with Hayley Turner in the stirrups; Lael Stable and All In Stable's Willcox Inn (12-1), James Graham; Joseph Allen's Vertiformer, (20-1), Jeffrey Sanchez; and Millard Seldin Revocable Trust and the Estate of Hoss Inman's Cherokee Lord (30-1), Francisco Torres up.