Godolphin Racing's Sulamani, the Arlington Million's defending champion through disqualification last year, heads a group of 97 internationally prominent Thoroughbreds nominated to the Aug. 14 renewal of Arlington Park's grade I signature grass test .The 22nd Arlington Million, which annually attracts the best grass horses throughout the world, will be run at its classic 1 1/4-mile distance.Should Sulamani's connections choose to participate in Arlington Million XXII, the 5-year-old Irish-bred could become the first back-to-back Arlington Million winner in history. The legendary John Henry is the only two-time Million winner to date, capturing the inaugural running in 1981 and repeating that winning effort three years later during the summer of 1984. John Henry also finished second in 1983's Arlington Million. Following last year's Arlington Million in which Storming Home was disqualified from first, Sulamani went to Belmont Park and captured the Turf Classic Invitational (gr. IT) Sept. 27, but finished fifth in the 12-furlong Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Oct. 25 after clipping heels with a rival. Trained by Saeed bin Suroor, Sulamani was scheduled to make his first start of the year in Ireland's Tattersalls Gold Cup (Ire-I) at The Curragh May 23, but was withdrawn due to discovery of a subcutaneous infection in the horse's left front fetlock. British-bred Meteor Storm, hero of the Belmont Park's Manhattan Handicap (gr. IT) on Belmont Stakes Day June 5, is another highly regarded nominee to Arlington Million XXII. The Horizon Stable color bearer was 1 1/4 lengths the best when capturing the Manhattan, run at the Million's 10-furlong distance.Meteor Storm, conditioned by Wally Dollase, won Santa Anita's grassy San Luis Rey Handicap (gr. IIT) at 12 furlongs March 20 and the San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap (gr. IIT) at about 1 3/4 miles April 18. Mrs. Carde Ostermann-Richter's Paolini and Mrs. Susan McCarthy's Kaieteur, who dead-heated for the third position under the wire in last year's Arlington Million but were subsequently improved to second following the disqualification, have both been nominated to the Million again this year.
German-bred Paolini, also a contestant in the 2002 Arlington Million when beaten less than a length for all of it, began his 2004 campaign with a dead-heat for the win in the Dubai Duty Free (UAE-I) at Nad al Sheba March 27. The globe trotting 7-year-old was subsequently unplaced in Hong Kong's Audemars Piquet Queen Elizabeth II Cup (HK-I) at Sha Tin and the Singapore Airlines International Cup at the Singapore Turf Club. The Hong Kong and Singapore races were the first two legs of the 2004 World Series Racing Championship. The Arlington Million will be the fourth leg in that series.