Betting the Arlington Million on a Budget

Gambling

The Pizza Man steps up to Grade 1 company in Saturday's Arlington Million at Arlington Park. (Photo by Eclipse Sportswire)

Thirteen horses will enter the gate in Saturday’s 33rd running of the Arlington Million at Arlington Park with no true standouts among them, leaving us with a prime wagering opportunity. It’s no secret that handicapping the Million presents some unique challenges, with globe-trotting horses invading the Arlington oval to see how they stack up against some of America’s best.

Chad Brown trainees Big Blue Kitten and Slumber are familiar names to those who follow the American circuit and they will also be your likely favorites, having taken the top two spots in this year’s United Nations Stakes and the Manhattan Stakes.

Here are three horses—one locally based, one American shipper and one European shipper —I have an eye on and will be playing in a few ways:

#4 Big Blue Kitten – He put on a clinic last out the United Nations Stakes at Monmouth and he’s consistently hit the top two spots on the board in all but one of his last eight starts. It’s remarkable because this horse is a late closer, which often can lead to unpredictable trips down the stretch. Big Blue Kitten’s owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey also own the likely pace horse, Shining Copper. Shinning Copper set a blistering pace in the UN, which Big Blue Kitten took advantage of with his closing ability. I could see this race setting up in a similar fashion.

#7 The Pizza Man - Jockey Florent Geroux had a breakthrough performance with a Illinois-bred Work All Week in the Breeders’ Cup. Could this be his second of the sort? The Pizza Man has yet to run at the 1 ¼-mile distance. Instead trainer Roger Brueggemann has targeted 1 1/16 and 1 ½ mile distances. After being considered for both the Million and the American St. Leger on the undercard, he chose this race and that indicates something … he believes he has a chance to get a piece of the pie. I’m drinking The Pizza Man Kool-Aid!

MAVERICK WAVE

Photo by Melissa Bauer-Herzog/America's Best Racing

#11 Maverick Wave – This jockey-trainer tandem of William Buick and John Gosden teamed up to take the 2010 Million, won by Debussy. The horse is suited for the 1¼-mile distance and has been training well on the Arlington grounds by all accounts since shipping over from England. A layoff since May of this year is a tad bit concerning, but I’m hoping that means we’ll have a rested horse who is ready to fire once the gates open.

This race is wide open, and I will be playing it as such.

Betting Strategy:

$ 1 Exacta: All/4 ($12)

$1 Exacta Box: 4,7,11 ($6)

$1-million Arlington Million Stakes

Saturday, Arlington Park, Race 10, 6:48 p.m. ET

1 ¼ miles, turf, 3-year-olds and older 

PP

Horse

Jockey

Trainer

Owner

ML Odds

1

Up With the Birds

Drayden Van Dyke

Graham Motion

Sam-Son Farm

12-1

2

Slumber

Irad Ortiz Jr.

Chad Brown

Michael Dubb, Sheep Pond Partners and Bethlehem Stables

7-2

3

Bookrunner

Gerald Mosse

Mikel Delzangles

Papillon Stables and Tony Chedraoui

15-1

4

Big Blue Kitten

Joe Bravo

Chad Brown

Ken and Sarah Ramsey

3-1

5

Wake Forest

Eduardo Pedroza

Andreas Wohler

Klaus Allofs and Gestut Fahrhof

12-1

6

Legendary

Sheldon Russell

Niall Saville

Walter R. Swinburn

15-1

7

The Pizza Man

Florent Geroux

Roger Brueggemann

Midwest Thoroughbreds

10-1

8

Quiet Force

Robby Albarado

Mike Maker

Warner Thoroughbreds

15-1

9

Shining Copper

Chris Emigh

Chad Brown

Ken and Sarah Ramsey

30-1

10

Triple Threat

Jose Lezcano

Bill Mott

Team Valor International and Gary Barber

6-1

11

Maverick Wave

William Buick

John Gosden

Godolphin Racing

8-1

12

Elleval

Patrick Smullen

David Marnane

Damian Lavelle

30-1

13

Belgian Bill

Jamie Spencer

George Baker

PJL (George Baker)

30-1

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