The Tin Man, the remarkable 8-year-old winner of last month's Arlington Million (gr. IT) heads into Saturday's $250,000 Clement L. Hirsch Turf Championship at Oak Tree's Santa Anita meeting as a likely short-priced favorite.
The Richard Mandella-trained gelded son of Affirmed has won all three of his American starts this year after returning from an ankle injury sustained in 2004. In fact his only blemish was a second-place showing in the $5 million Dubai Duty Free (UAE-I) in March, and that was worth $1 million.
In the 1 1/4-mile Hirsch – the same distance as the Arlington Million – The Tin Man will face five rivals, led by T.H. Approval, who has won the longer San Juan Capistrano (gr. IIT), Sunset Breeders' Cup and Del Mar handicaps this year.
The Tin Man, owned and bred by Ralph and Aury Todd, won the Arlington Million in front-running fashion by one length over Cacique, who would return to win the Man o' War (gr. IT) at Belmont Park.
With similar victories in the San Marcos (gr. IIT) and American Handicap (gr. IIT) prior to the Million, The Tin Man figures to dominate the pace scenario once again Saturday.
A strong performance in the Hirsch would likely land The Tin Man a return trip to the 1 1/2-mile John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4.$250,000 Clement L. Hirsch Memorial Turf Championship (gr. IT, Race 5, 2:30 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/4 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey
1. Quinquin the King (FR), David R. Flores
2. Fantastic Spain (KY), Corey S. Nakatani
3. Artiste Royal (IRE), Patrick A. Valenzuela
4. The Tin Man (KY), Victor Espinoza
5. T.H. Approval (KY), Alex O. Solis
6. Sharp Writer, Aaron T. GryderEach assigned 124 pounds.