The American Derby will be run at 1 3/16 miles over Arlington's turf course and serves as the final local prep for the $500,000 Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT), which will be held Aug. 17 during the Chicagoland oval's International Festival of Racing.
As an added bonus, the one-two-three finishers in the American Derby will have their entry and starting fees waived for the Secretariat should they elect to run in that event next month.
Based in Kentucky with conditioner Kellyn Gorder, General Election has been aimed toward this event since his Arlington Classic victory by a length at 13-1 going 1 1/16 miles in his turf debut. The Keeneland-based son of Harlan's Holiday has been working steadily for his connections, who are confident he will enjoy the additional furlong.
General Election breaks from post 2 under Joe Rocco Jr. as the 121-pound highweight in a field of 11. All others carry 119 pounds.
Looking forward to the additional furlong in distance this time will be late-closing Arlington Classic runner-up and beaten 9-5 favorite Admiral Kitten, who has been given seven weeks off since that defeat. After racking up three second-place finishes at 1 1/16-miles within six weeks' time, including a second to Noble Tune in the May 3 American Turf Stakes (gr. IIT) at Churchill Downs, Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey's homebred son of Kitten's Joy seeks the victory from post 3 under Julien Leparoux.
Trainer Mike Maker will also start the improving Moro Tap for owners Skychai Racing, Sand Dollar Stable, Terry Raymond, and Jana Wagner. The sleek, gray Tapit colt was a fast-closing third last out in the $200,000 Centaur Stakes at Indiana Downs on June 15. Rosie Napravnik picks up the mount from the 10 hole.
Glen Hill Farm's Procurement suffered a wide trip in the Arlington Classic but made a strong bid to finish fifth in a field of 12, beaten only 1 1/2 lengths for trainer Tom Proctor. The son of Milwaukee Brew has been training locally since then. Prior to the Arlington Classic, he won the listed La Puente Stakes going nine furlongs at Santa Anita Park.
A formidable new challenger comes in the form of Team Valor International's Infinite Magic, who exits a rough trip in the June 15 Hill Prince Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Belmont Park. Bumped hard in the stretch while rallying from a dozen lengths off the pace, the deep-closing More Than Ready sophomore rallied to finish sixth. Trainer Rick Mettee, the new private conditioner for Team Valor, has retained the services of Channing Hill aboard Infinite Magic, who will break from post 6.
Dorsett looks to avenge his disqualification from third to fourth in the Arlington Classic with a win here for trainer Mike Stidham and owner Terry Hamilton. The improving son of Artie Schiller has since impressively defeated seven elders in a second-level allowance over nine furlongs June 15 on the local turf, and retains rider E.T. Baird from that race in post 7.
"He's doing really well. He came out of that allowance race in good shape, and he's improving," Stidham said. "His numbers are progressively moving forward in slow increments. He is making steady progress, has a good foundation, and is putting good races back-to-back."
"We didn't like the idea of eight or nine weeks between (the Arlington Classic and American Derby)," Stidham continued. "We felt like why not put a race in between, since he was still eligible for the a-other-than. Hopefully he would move forward toward the big race (American Derby) and then take another step forward in that one."
Stidham believes the colt will hold his own in a tough field as he steps back to graded company for just the second time.
"My horse fits the mold," he said. "He's bred to like the distance. He's a big and maturing 3-year-old and I think he's moving forward. He's an Artie Schiller and they love the grass, obviously...there are a lot of things that point into the right direction. I do not think we've seen the best of him yet."