Kicken Kris Awarded Arlington Million Victory

Kicken Kris Awarded Arlington Million Victory
Photo: AP/Brian Kersey
Kent Desormeaux, aboard Kicken Kris, right, yells at Jamie Spencer aboard Powerscout (10) just after the finish of the Arlington Million.

For the second consecutive year, the winner of the Arlington Million (gr. IT) was disqualified when Powerscourt, ridden by Jamie Spencer, was taken down for starting a chain of events in the stretch that stewards ruled cost Kicken the race's 22nd running at Arlington Park.

``I had the best horse," said Spencer, whose use of the right- handed whip contributed to the mishap.

Before the decision was made he said, "If they take my numbers down, I think I'll cry.'' He declined comment afterward.

Kicken Kris, who hit the rail when struck by Epalo in mid-stretch, was moved up to first for jockey Kent Desormeaux after a 10-minute delay as stewards examined replays. Magistrettti was awarded second and Epalo, who finished fourth, gained third. Powerscourt, who won by two lengths, was placed fourth.

``Initially I was quite upset. For a stride or two I thought I was going through the fence,'' Desormeaux said. ``I was yelling from the back of my lungs.''

In last year's Million, Storming Home was disqualified for ducking out just before the wire and Godolphin's Sulamani was awarded the victory.

Desormeaux came up in his saddle and pointed at Spencer to lodge his complaint just past the finish line.

The final time for the 1 1/4-mile turf classic was 2:00 on a firm course.

Powerscourt soared past the leaders in the final furlong and won handily over Kicken Kris. However, in clearing the field, the 4-year-old English-bred son of Sadler's Wells, angled toward the rail sharply. Epalo's jockey Andrasch Starke, shied away from Powerscourt and struck Kicken Kris on his inside. Kicken Kris was knocked off stride into the rail. Kicken Kris gathered himself to finish second, gaining slightly on Powerscourt in the final strides, with Magistretti 1 1/2 lengths back in third.

Kicken Kris, who won the Secretariat (gr. IT) at Arlington exactly a year ago, is a 4-year-old son of Kris S.-Kicken Grass (Jade Hunter). He was coming off a 1 1/2-length win in the Bowling Green Handicap (gr. IIT) as a 6-5 favorite at Belmont Park July 17. The Brushwood Stable-owned Kicken Kris, trained by Michael Matz, improved his career record to 6-3-3 in 18 starts as the 9-1 underdog in the field of 13. His earnings improved to $1,319,100.

``I'd like to think so," Matz said when asked if believed Kicken Kris would have caught Powerscourt. "Nobody will know that. Thank God no one got hurt.''

Desormeaux certainly thought so.

``I was going to win very easily,'' Desormeaux said. ``If I don't have an interrupted run, I think I would have galloped. ...He was a deserving winner.''

Kicken Kris, well back in the pack, closed steadily along the inside in the stretch. However, it appeared Powerscourt would win as he ganged up on the leaders coming out of the far turn and stormed to the lead. He swept by Epalo, who had prompted pacesetters Vespone and Sabiango into the stretch and took the lead.

Vespone, with Sabiango on his flanks, set swift fractions -- :23 3/5, :47 2/5, 1:12 – before they fell back in the stretch.

Magistretti, who was ridden by Edgar Prado, also finished strongly to edge Epalo after the stretch-run incident.

Kicken Kris paid $21.40, $11.20 and $6.60. Magistretti, who was also making his United States debut for owner Michael Tabor and trainer Neville Callaghan, returned $25 and $11.60. Epalo's show was $4. The exacta was worth $678.80.

(Chart, Equibase)

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