Pam and Martin Wygod’s After Market, the 2-1 morning line favorite for Saturday’s Arlington Million XXV (gr. IT), was unexpectedly withdrawn the morning of the race due to the yielding condition of the turf course.
"Unfortunately, the weather in Chicago the previous week was so rainy, the turf course hasn’t completely dried out yet,” said After Market’s trainer John Shirreffs, speaking over the phone while still in Chicago. “The horse is doing great. He’s just fantastic, but Mr. Wygod recommended that we don’t run him on soft ground. I’ve been out on the course every day since I’ve been here. It’s drying out, but it’s not quite fast enough yet.”
During a conference call with reporters this week, Shirreffs hinted that the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I) might be an option later this year for the 4-year-old son of Storm Catout of the Wygods' multiple stakes winning star Tranquility Lake.
The temperature in Chicago heading into Saturday's race program was 81 degrees under mostly cloudy skies. Humidity stood at 54%.
After impressively winning Del Mar’s Eddie Read Handicap (gr. IT) July 22 over a Southern California course rated “firm,” After Market deservingly earned the favorite’s mantle for Arlington’s showcase race. In his previous effort, the dark bay colt had won Hollywood’s Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap June 9 (gr. IT) also over firm ground.
Defending Arlington Million champion The Tin Man will now inherit the morning line favorite’s role.
“Right now, I would call the turf course ‘yielding,’” said Arlington track superintendent Javier Barajas, “but with this sunshine we have today, by the time the first graded stakes goes off, I believe the course might be rated ‘good.’”