07/26/2011 1:27PM

Arlington Million Day shaping up huge

Four-Footed Fotos
Fantasia, with Rajiv Maragh riding, wins the Modesty.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – A little more than two weeks out, the Arlington Million is looking like the least compelling of the three Grade 1 turf races on the Aug. 13 Million Day card. That’s not to say the Million is coming up poorly, but both the Beverly D. and Secretariat Stakes have a chance to attract fairly awesome fields.

If the Beverly D. were to be drawn today, the race might attract more entries than there are starting stalls, so many fillies and mares are considered possible runners in the $750,000 race. On Saturday, one of the owners of Romin Robin bemoaned the fact that while the mare earned free entry into the Beverly D. by virtue of a second-place finish in the Modesty Handicap here, there was a chance Romin Robin could be excluded from the big race.

Modesty winner Fantasia is expected back for the Beverly D., but she will only be one of many contenders in what could turn out to be a very deep race. Stacelita, third in the Grade 1 United Nations Handicap and now based at Saratoga with trainer Chad Brown, is an expected entrant and probably will be favored if she comes. Others the Arlington racing office anticipates going into the Beverly D. are Grade 1 Gamely winner Dubawi Heights, as well as Cheetah, the highly impressive Christophe Clement-trained winner of the Dick Handicap at Delaware. Pachattack, sharp winner of the Arlington Matron in her most recent appearance, appears to be on track for the race, Graham Motion may have either Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf winner Shared Account or Check the Label ready for the trip, and Eclaire De Lune, the 2010 Beverly D. winner, could return to Arlington. Overseas possibilities include the capable River Jetez, John Gosden-trained Joviality, and a German filly named Royal Mary.

The Secretariat figures to draw fewer entries than the Beverly D. but still should come up strong, even if Air Support, winner of the Virginia Derby, passes the race. Air Support’s connections were said to be undecided on the colt’s participation at Arlington, but the second- and third-place finishers behind him, Banned and Casino Host, are expected runners in the Secretariat. Waiting for them here is Willcox Inn, who easily won the Arlington Classic and American Derby in his two races here this summer. Overseas possibilities are Saltas, Ziyarid, and Colombian, while Arlington-based Top Surprize is jumping into the fray after a third straight galloping turf win over the local course last weekend.

Heading the list of Million possible, as usual, is Gio Ponti, who won the race in 2009 and finished second last year. The American opposition could include Tajaaweed, Mission Approved, Bourbon Bay, and Deans Kitten, while Wigmore Hall, Zack Hall, and Ransom Note were said to be possible international ship-ins. Another European, Tazeez, finished third in the 2010 Million but turned in a somewhat disappointing performance last weekend in England. Wigmore Hall finished second to Paddy O’Prado in the Secretariat last summer.