2023 Arlington Million at a Glance

2023 Arlington Million, Colonial Downs
Colonial Downs in Virginia is the new home of the Arlington Million beginning in 2023. (Eclipse Sportswire)

The Grade 1 Arlington Million has been one of the most important turf stakes in the United States since John Henry won the inaugural edition back in 1981 in an unforgettable thriller over The Bart.

In 2023, the Arlington Million will be held for the first time at Colonial Downs after being hosted for one year at Churchill Downs following the closing of Arlington International Racecourse. This year’s Arlington Million drew a field of 11 that includes 2022 victor Santin and 2023 Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational presented by Qatar Racing winner Atone.


Racetrack: Colonial Downs, New Kent, Va.

Date: Aug. 12

Purse: $1 million

Distance: 1 1/4 miles, turf

Race: 10

Post Time: 6:40 p.m. ET

Notable winners: Bricks and Mortar (2019), Gio Ponti (2009), Sulamani (2003), Steinlen (1989), Manila (1987), John Henry (1981, 1984).

First held: 1981

1. Strong Tide (15-1 morning-line odds): This is a tough spot for a 6-year-old in search of his first graded stakes win whose most recent stakes win came in the To Much Coffee Stakes back in November 2020. Ran third in the Grade 1 Man o’War Stakes in May, but looks more like a candidate to round out the trifecta than to win this race.

JOCKEY: Horacio Karamanos; TRAINER: Michael Lauer

2. Never Explain (6-1): Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey brings him back on two weeks rest after running third in the Grade 2 Bowling Green Stakes July 30 at Saratoga. He’s been terrific and consistent in five races this year with three wins, one second, and a third. Should be in the mix in deep stretch.

JOCKEY: Vincent Cheminaud; TRAINER: Shug McGaughey

3. Set Piece (6-1): Deep closer is not as consistent as he was earlier in his career but his win two starts back in the Grade 3 Arlington Stakes in June at Churchill Downs serves as a reminder that he is still capable at 7 years old of monster races. He earned a 117 Equibase Speed Figure in that race and a repeat would make Set Piece tough to beat.

JOCKEY: Florent Geroux; TRAINER: Brad Cox

4. Atone (7-2): Tepid morning-line favorite is winless in two starts since a career-best win in the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational Stakes. It’s also his first try in a race longer than 1 1/8 miles on any surface. A win candidate for sure, but prefer others given some of the questions and probable short price.

JOCKEY: Kendrick Carmouche; TRAINER: Mike Maker

5. Rockemperor (5-1): Grade 1 winner tends to space his victories. While he has not shown much in two starts in 2023, he is eligible to improve at his best distance in his third start off a long layoff for an elite turf trainer. Worthy of consideration if the price drifts up from his morning-line odds.

JOCKEY: John Velazquez; TRAINER: Chad Brown

6. Master Piece (12-1): Won the 2022 Eddie Read Stakes last July. He has not returned to the winner’s circle in six starts since then but has a pair of seconds and two thirds in that stretch and makes his first start for a new trainer here. Expect him to outrun his odds in his first race for Rick Dutrow.

JOCKEY: Jose Lezcano; TRAINER: Rick Dutrow

7. Strong Quality (12-1): Logical pacesetter could lead this field a long way with only Atone having shown much in the way of early speed among the other 10 entrants. Won his first two tries on grass in February and April against allowance competition before fading for fifth in the Grade 1, 1 ¼-mile Resorts World Casino Manhattan Stakes in June. Capable of filling out the trifecta or superfecta at a nice price.

JOCKEY: Javier Castellano; TRAINER: Mark Casse

8. Catnip (8-1): One of only two in the field with a win on this turf course, Catnip scored his first graded stakes win in the Grade 3 Monmouth Stakes in June and battled gamely most recently in a runner-up finish in the Grade 1 United Nations Stakes July 22. Should be just in behind the pacesetters and he’s in career-best form.

JOCKEY: Brian Hernandez Jr.; TRAINER: Mike Stidham

Grass racing at Colonial Downs. (Eclipse Sportswire)

9. Adhamo (10-1): Returns from a 10-month layoff, which is a major concern and probably a big reason he’s 10-1 on the morning line. But trainer in Chad Brown excels in these scenarios — 29% win rate according to Daily Racing Form off a layoff of 180 or more days — and this Grade 1 winner should relish the 1 ¼-mile trip. Major player.

JOCKEY: Flavien Prat; TRAINER: Chad Brown

10. Win for the Money (20-1): The Arlington Million is a difficult spot for his graded stakes debut, but he does have tactical speed and a win on the turf at Colonial. A promising 4-year-old but tough to endorse while facing such a huge class test.

JOCKEY: Jorge Ruiz; TRAINER: Mark Casse

11. Santin (8-1): Winless and unplaced in six races since winning the 2022 Arlington Million. Obviously capable but would need a significant reversal of form having been beaten by more than five lengths in all four of his races in 2023.

JOCKEY: Tyler Gaffalione; TRAINER: Brendan Walsh

THE PICK: Adhamo

LIVE LONGSHOTS: Adhamo / Master Piece


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