Defending Arlington Million (gr. IT) champion Little Mike, trained by Dale Romans, was pre-entered along with 13 others for the 31st renewal of the prestigious race Aug. 17.
If the son of Spanish Steps proves victorious again in the 1 1/4-mile grass test for owner Priscilla Vaccarezza, he will have to defeat up to seven foreign interests, including three group I winners. They are GusMay-Fer’s Indy Point (Richard Mandella) from Argentina via California, Godolphin Racing’s Hunter's Light (Saeed bin Suroor) from the United Arab Emirates, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum’s The Apache (Mike De Kock).
Also pre-entered from across the pond were Yvonne Jacques’ multiple group II-winning Grandeur (Jeremy Noseda), Giuliano Manfredini’s lightly raced Guest of Honour (Marco Botti), Pearl Bloodstock’s battle-tested gelding Side Glance (Andrew Balding), and Invictus’ improving Mull of Killough (Jane Chapple-Hyam).
The American contingent to challenge Little Mike is also talented. Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s Real Solution (Chad Brown) exits a strong third-place finish behind the brilliant Point of Entry in the Manhattan Handicap (gr. IT), while Robert E. Courtney, Jr.’s Rahystrada (Byron Hughes) and Windy Hill Farm’s Nates Mineshaft (Anne Smith) have also posted recent victories over the local course.
Nates Mineshaft won a classy turf allowance, while Rahystrada took down the course and distance prep, the Arlington Handicap (gr. IIIT). Second in that race was Niall Racing’s fellow Million pre-entry Temeraine (Tom Proctor), an improving horse who outran his long odds. Romans also pre-entered Donegal Racing’s Finnegans Wake, whose closing style would complement his stablemate if both run.