Is Real Solution Vulnerable in Arlington Million?


Real Solution is coming into the Arlington Million off a win in the Manhattan Stakes. (Photo by Eclipse Sportswire)

The field for the 32nd running of the $1-million Arlington Million (a "Win and You're In" race for the Breeders' Cup Turf) is led by Real Solution, who although losing by a head on the wire in last year's running of the race was awarded first place after being bumped by the original winner in the stretch. Winner of the Grade 1 Manhattan Stakes in his most recent start, Real Solution meets a pretty tough bunch, led by last year's Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Turf winner Magician, with recent Grade 2 Nijinsky Stakes winner Up With the Birds, Grade 3 Arlington Handicap winner Finnegans Wake and Group 1 Singapore Airlines International Cup runner-up Smoking Sun also being strong contenders.

Main Contenders:

Smoking Sun is fairly lightly raced for a 5-year-old, having started 14 times. The most significant of his triumphs came in April when victorious in the Prix d'Harcourt in France at the distance of the Million. Two races later, Smoking Sun finished second at the distance of the Million in the prestigious $2-million Singapore Airlines International Cup, in which he showed a tremendous late kick in the stretch. Jockey Stephane Pasquier has ridden Smoking Sun in every one of his 14 races and rides again in the Million. Pasquier likely knows exactly what to do in order to have the horse in the right spot with about a quarter of a mile to go before putting him into high gear to post the mild upset.

Up With the Birds ran the best race of his career last month at Woodbine in Canada when victorious by four lengths in the Nijinsky Stakes, earning a career best 119 Equibase Speed Figure in the process. Having earned over $1.2 million winning seven of 12 career starts, Up With the Birds has also run well at the mile and one-quarter distance of the Million, finishing second last July in the $1-million Queen's Plate. Jockey Eurico Da Silva has been in the saddle for five of the colt's seven wins and will be aboard for the Million. With the lightly raced 4-year-old still having some room for improvement, he may be ripe for winning his second graded stakes in a row.

Real Solution rallied furiously from ninth to come up a head short of victory in last year's Million, but was placed first when the stewards decided the bump by original winner The Apache cost Real Solution the win. Earning a strong 120 with that effort, Real Solution was winless in four straight races after the Million until regaining top form in the Manhattan Stakes in June. Not only repeating his 120 figure in the Manhattan, Real Solution has been flattered by the runner-up and third place finishers, both who won grade 2 stakes races in their most recent starts. Before last year's Million, Real Solution finished third in the Manhattan and enters this year's Million off a win in that same race. Given that, he could win his second consecutive Million.

Notes about the rest: The public betting choice is likely to be Magician, winner of the Breeders' Cup Turf last fall in sensational fashion when rallying from 11th of 12, earning a 121 figure. This past May, Magician won the Mooresbridge Stakes before a pair of runner-up efforts in group 1 stakes. However, with a poor sixth place finish with no excuse whatsoever in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes last month in England, it may be difficult to back Magician with any confidence at low odds.

Side Glance finished third in the United Nations Stakes (118 figure) in his most recent race and won a Group 1 race in Australia last fall, but he was beaten easily when fifth behind runner-up Smoking Sun in Singapore in May. Finnegans Wake earned a 110 figure winning the Arlington Handicap last month on this course but would need to improve to get to the 120 figure level needed to win. Hardest Core also ran well winning a stakes race last month but the 109 figure earned is also short of what is likely to make him competitive in this situation.

My Selections:

Smoking Sun

Up With the Birds

Real Solution

$1-Million Arlington Million Stakes
Saturday, Arlington International Racecourse, Race 10, 6:36 p.m. ET
1 ¼ miles, turf, 3-year-olds and older







Hardest Core

Eriluis Vaz

Edward Graham



Smoking Sun

Stephane Pasquier

Pascal Bary



Magician (IRE)

Joseph O'Brien

Aidan O'Brien



Finnegans Wake

Ryan Moore

Dale Romans



Up With the Birds

Eurico Rosa Da Silva

Malcolm Pierce



Real Solution

Javier Castellano

Chad Brown



Side Glance (GB)

Jamie Spencer

Andrew Balding


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