07/11/2013 4:41PM

Arlington Park: American Derby fairly wide open

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Four-Footed Fotos
General Election made his turf debut in the Arlington Classic and clearly handled the surface.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – General Election won the Arlington Classic, the first leg of Arlington’s loosely linked Mid-America Triple for 3-year-old grass horses, but Leg 2 of the series, Saturday’s American Derby, could play out any number of ways. General Election was only marginally better than three other Arlington Classic starters who run back Saturday, and the Arlington Classic as a whole might not have been all the great, leaving the door open for a newcomer to step forward.

Eleven were entered in the 1 3/16-mile American Derby, run on grass, but Coastal Breeze will be scratched, trainer Wayne Catalano said. Besides General Election, the Arlington Classic graduates in the American Derby are second-place Admiral Kitten; Dorsett, who was disqualified from third to fourth; and Procurement, who finished fifth. Maryland-based Infinite Magic ships in off a sixth-place finish in the Grade  3 Hill Prince, and was joined on a flight from the East Coast by New York-based Stormy Len. And not to be discounted is the locally based stakes-debuting Mongolian Saturday, the race’s only real speed.

General Election was making his turf debut in the Arlington Classic and clearly handled the new surface, finishing with good energy for a one-length win. But he did get a very favorable ground-saving journey, and was far from dominant in victory.

“He’s coming into this race in good shape, but I do think he will have to step up a little bit,” said trainer Kellyn Gorder. “I know there are some good horses we beat last time, but we barely beat them.”

Dorsett, who took a tough disqualification in the Arlington Classic, galloped out in front of the winner that day, and came back with a decisive score over older first-level allowance horses in a June 15 grass race. Stormy Len also exits a first-level allowance victory over older rivals, and his Belmont win came at 1 1/4 miles, making Stormy Len one of only two horses, along with Infinite Magic, to have raced as far as Saturday’s trip.

Mongolian Saturday, though, stepped outside his allowance conditions to crush good older foes in a third-level allowance race here June 29, his second blowout victory of this meet. Owned and trained by little-known Enebish Ganbat, Mongolian Saturday makes his turf, two-turn, and stakes debut Saturday, but his dam was a stakes winner who excelled in turf routes, and Mongolian Saturday should control the American Derby pace.

“I do think he can run on grass,” said Ganbat, who gave Mongolian Saturday a three-furlong turf breeze last weekend.

Admiral Kitten rallied from 11th to second in the Arlington Classic, but his complete lack of early speed could put him in a tough spot Saturday.

* an earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Stormy Len was the only member of the field to have previously raced at 1 3/16 miles or beyond.