Updated on 09/15/2011 12:52PM

Europeans conquer Chicago

Benoit & Associates
German-bred Silvano, racing for Stiftung Geshut Farhrof, draws clear to a 3-length victory in the 19th running of the Arlington Million on Saturday.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Andreas Suborics had never ridden in the United States. Trainer Andreas Wohler had never started a horse in the United States. And no German horse had ever captured the Arlington Million.

But Wohler brought Silvano to the Million in perfect fashion, Suborics gave the horse a perfect ride, and Silvano gave his German owners, Gestut Fahrhof Siftung, a Million trophy, with an authoritative three-length win over Hap. Pacesetting Redattore finished third, and for the second straight year, Bienamado finished unplaced as the Million favorite.

Chicago's biggest afternoon of Thoroughbred racing was a day for Europeans and soft-turf specialists after steady morning rains turned the course yielding. In addition to Silvano ($14.60), England's Legend ($11), bred in France and making her fourth start in the United States, won the Beverly D. in a romp. In the Secretariat, the day's third Grade 1 turf race, Startac ($24.40) salvaged the day for the Americans and for trainer Simon Bray, who had seen Astra finish last as the odds-on favorite in the Beverly D.

The three Grade 1 winners combined for a pick three payoff of $1,263.20, with the wager handling $291,397.

The globetrotting Silvano stole the show in the Million, becoming the fifth foreign shipper to win the race in 19 runnings, and the first since Dear Doctor in 1992. With his win in the Million, Silvano has won races in four different countries. Wohler sent Silvano on an extended trip to the Far East and Dubai this winter and spring, when he won the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth Cup in Hong Kong.

"At first he didn't take to traveling," Wohler said, "but flight by flight he got better."

Silvano was one of the first Europeans to arrive in Chicago, and the horse trained here all week, breezing over the dirt on Wednesday. A 1 1/4-mile specialist, Silvano showed surprisingly good early foot, stalking the early pace of Redattore.

"There wasn't too much pace, so we were right behind the leaders," said Suborics, Germany's second-leading rider.

Silvano ran along comfortably under a snug hold from Suborics, hugging the rail throughout the race. On the lead, Redattore went clear, pursued by Quiet Resolve, and on the far outside, Bienamado, usually a pace factor, but unable to challenge for the lead through tepid fractions of 24.27 seconds for a quarter-mile, 48.59, and a moderate 1:12.83.

"Normally he just jumps right away," said jockey Chris McCarron. "I was losing confidence as we went around the track. I don't think he struggled over the track, I know he struggled over the track. He was struggling right from the word go."

As Bienamado faded on the far turn, it opened up paths to the outside of Silvano. Suborics smoothly took the horse off the rail, and in a matter of strides he had pounced on Redattore. "When we got to the straight, he was still on the bridle, and I started to feel pretty good," Suborics said.

Silvano opened up at the stretch call, and though Hap emerged from the pack, he never threatened the winner. Silvano, the third choice at 6-1, covered 10 furlongs in 2:02.64. Behind Redattore came Caitano, White Heart, Muakaad, Bienamado, Senure, Takarian, Quiet Resolve, Compton Bolter, and Make No Mistake.

Silvano will make his next start at Belmont in the Man o' War Stakes, provided he comes out of the Million in good order. After that, he will return to Germany for a short rest, then travel to Australia to contest the Cox Plate. That race, like the Million, is part of the Emirates World Series, an international series of races that awards a $1 million bonus to the winner. With his win Saturday, Silvano tied for the lead with Captain Steve and Galileo, who each have won one Emirates series race.