Horse Racing Betting: The Pizza Man Tops Arlington Million Picks

David Schwab

Wednesday, August 9, 2017 1:10 PM UTC

Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017 1:10 PM UTC

Saturday’s betting action at Arlington Park in Illinois features a full card of major graded turf events highlighted by the Arlington Million as part of the “Win and You’re In” series for the Turf in this fall’s Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar.

The field for Saturday’s Arlington Million is deep in talent with 13 of the top turf contenders in the nation listed as probable or possible by Horse Racing Nation. An automatic qualifying spot in the field for the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Turf is up for grabs, and the following are my top three horses that line up perfectly for a trifecta play.


2017 Arlington Million

The Arlington Million is a Grade 1 stakes race for 3-year-old thoroughbreds and up contested on the turf track at Arlington over a distance of 1 ¼ miles. The total prize purse for the main event Saturday at Arlington Park is set at $1 million.

I am going with a hometown favorite as my top choice to win this year’s Arlington Million in what would be his third straight appearance in this race. The Pizza Man is an 8-year-old Illinois-bred gelding who continues to show he still has what it takes to finish in the money in major graded events. Trained by Roger Brueggermann, he is coming off a solid second-place finish in the Grade 3 Stars and Stripes Stakes at Arlington on July 8 at a distance of 1 ½ miles. While he did fade to sixth in last year’s Arlington Mile, he bested the field with a winning time of 2:02.20 the year before in this event.

Ranked No. 54 by Horse Racing Nation with a rating of 7.79, this son of English Channel has finished in the money in three of his last five events dating back to a victory in the 2016 Grade 1 Northern Dancer Turf Stakes at Woodbine.

Trainer Chad Brown’s Beach Patrol has caught my eye as a second-favorite for Saturday’s race. Coming off a third-place finish in the Grade 1 United Nations Stakes at Monmouth Park on July 1, this 4-year-old Kentucky-bred colt is now ranked No. 162 by HRN with a 7.48 rating. In his last trip around the turf at Arlington last August, he won the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes at a distance of 1 ¼ miles, and since that victory he has placed inside the top three in five of his last seven races with a fourth-place finish in those other two events.

Sired by Lemon Drop Kid, Beach Patrol comes into this race with an eye towards competing in the Breeders’ Cup Turf for the first time in his career. One of his best runs this season was second to Divisidero in the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs over a distance of 1 1/8 miles.

It was tough task to fill the third and final spot in my Arlington Million trifecta play, but I am going with trainer William Bradley’s Divisidero, who comes in ranked No. 85 on the list at HRN with a 7.98 rating. The 5-year-old followed up that impressive victory at Churchill on Kentucky Derby Day with a disappointing sixth-place finish in the Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap at Belmont Park on June 10 at a distance of 1 ¼ miles, but the time off since then should serve him well for Saturday’s race.

A pedigree of Kitten’s Joy, this Kentucky-bred colt has been a solid money maker over the course of his entire career, and going back to his third-place finish in the Grade 3 Canadian Turf Stakes at Gulfstream Park to start the 2016 racing season, he has placed in the money in six of eight events.

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