The Irish-bred Cape Blanco won Saturday’s Grade 1 $1,000,000 Arlington Million at Arlington Park over a yielding turf course. This was one of two Breeders’ Cup “Win & You’re In” races held at Arlington Park Saturday. In the race prior to the Million, the French-bred Stacelita won the Grade 1 Beverly D and earned herself a spot in the Emirate Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
Mission Approved and Proceed Bee led the Arlington Million field of ten through much of the race. The post-time favorite, Cape Blanco, sat off the leaders in fourth, just behind Dean’s Kitten. At the quarter pole Cape Blanco began to make his move and quickly gobbled up Mission Approved and Proceed Bee, who faded to finish seventh and eighth respectively. Cape Blanco had a 2 ½ length lead going into the stretch that he never relinquished.
Gio Ponti, the two-time American Turf champion, was tucked in on the rail in seventh place before moving to the outside into the stretch. The Christophe Clement trained runner closed sharply to take second by a neck over Dean’s Kitten, but was unable to catch the winner. He remains winless in four starts this year.
Rounding out the field were Wigmore Hall, Rahystrada, Tajaaweed, Mission Approved, Proceed Bee, Zack Hall, and General Perfect.
Trainer Aidan O’Brien has found great success this year with the four-year-old Cape Blanco since shipping him to the U.S. Prior to his win last month in the Grade 1 Man O’War at Belmont Park, Cape Blanco was unable to fare better than fourth in races abroad this year.
As winner of the Arlington Million, Cape Blanco has earned his way to the Emirate Airlines Breeders’ Cup Turf to be held at Churchill Downs in November. It appears this Irish runner has an affinity for our American turf and would have no problem shipping back to the U.S. in a couple of months.
Cape Blanco returned $6.20, $3.80 and $3.40; Gio Ponti paid $3.40 and $2.80; and Dean’s Kitten returned $7.00 for show. The $2 exacta paid $16.60 and the $0.50 trifecta paid $61.10.
Photo: Courtesy Breeders’ Cup