A field of seven--all but one with international experience--was drawn Wednesday for Saturday's 18th running of the $2 million Arlington Million (gr. IT). The field shrank steadily through the week before the post-position draw. Honor Glide, a hero at Arlington three summers ago with four straight wins over the course, was a final defection.
The 5-2 morning-line favorite for the 1 1/4-mile race is Manndar, an Irish-bred son of Doyoun, owned by Columbine Stable and trained by C. Beau Greely. Manndar hasn't raced since winning the Manhattan Handicap (gr. IT) at Belmont Park on Belmont Stakes day. Earlier, he won the Woodford (gr. IT) at Churchill Downs. Manndar will start from Post Position No. 4 with Corey Nakatani up.
Bienamado, a son of Bien Bien and grandson of 1987 Million winner Manila, was listed at 3-1 as the second pick in the morning line. Bienamado, previously raced in England and France, won both his starts in California this summer, including a last-out victory in the Sunset Handicap (gr. 2T) at Hollywood Park. Kent Desormeaux will send Bienamado from Post Position No. 5.
Godolphin Racing's Slickly, winner of five of his eight lifetime starts, was installed as the 7-2 third choice. Slickly, a gray, 4-year-old son of Linamix, starts from No. 3 with Frankie Dettori up. The only Million starter without experience on foreign soil is Mula Gula, a 4-year-old Lil E. Tee colt who earned his way into the field with a second-place finish in the Washington Park Handicap (gr. 2) on the main track at Arlington on July 22. Mula Gula is trained by Jerry Hollendorfer and local riding leader Mark Guidry will keep the mount.
Despite the extensive international experience of the field, only Slickly was shipped to the United States specifically for the Million, which is part of the Emirates World Series Racing Championship that Arlington International Racecourse owner Richard L. Duchossois played in forming. Nick Clarke of the International Racing Bureau, said the Arlington Million "is the race that set the standard for international racing." Duchossois, Clarke added, "was the first guy we talked to about the notion of a world series. And he had only one comment: 'Do it tomorrow.'"
Saturday's card at Arlington also includes the $500,000 Beverly D. (gr. IT) for fillies and mares at 1 3/16 mile, and the $400,000 Secretariat (gr. IT) for 3-year-olds at 1 1/4 mile. The Beverly D. drew a competitive field of 10; the Secretariat, eight. Both have significant foreign representation. The three races will be shown Saturday on ESPN from 4:00-5:30 p.m.
The field for the Arlington Million, with jockeys and morning-line odds, will consist of:
1--Asidero, Alex Solis, 5-1
2--Chester House, Jerry Bailey, 4-1
3--Slickly, Frankie Dettori, 7-2
4--Manndar, Corey Nakatani, 5-2
5--Bienamado, Kent Desormeaux, 3-1
6--Running Stag, Shane Sellers, 12-1
7--Mula Gula, Mark Guidry, 12-1