Hardest Core 'Happy' After Million Victory
Photo: Chad B. Harmon
Hardest Core
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Andrew Bentley Stable's upset Arlington Million (gr. IT) winner Hardest Core came out of the Aug. 16 race in good order and is consideration for the Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) this fall.
"He cooled out great," trainer Eddie Graham said of the 4-year-old Hard Spun   gelding, headed back to his Mid-Atlantic base early the morning of Aug. 17 after beating five group I or grade I winners in the Million at Arlington International Racecourse. "He ate up and he's happy. That's a great thing."
The Million was a Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win & You're In" event for the Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Park. Hardest Core earned an automatic starting berth to the 1 1/2-mile race after his one-length win at 11-1 odds over Magician   in the Arlington's signature race. 
"I won't know what's next for him until I evaluate him, but we'll look at the Breeders' Cup," Graham said. "It's a chance of a lifetime and we'll figure out the best way to maybe get there."
In the Million, Hardest Core had to close his final quarter in about :23.40 in order to run down favored last year's Breeders' Cup Turf winner Magician in the final yards.  
"When he ran at Delaware Park (in the $50,000 Cape Henlopen Stakes), he ran his last half-mile in :47 flat and he wasn't even being asked," Graham said. "He just has done everything right. We knew he was training well even if he was going up in class. All he knew (going in) was that he had won three in a row; he didn't know about the field and he ran his race.
"Arlington seems like a big galloping course. It didn't stop his momentum and he really liked it out there. He's a very straight forward horse. He'll let you know how he's doing just by how he acts. We all joke and call him the big strong beast."

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