08/07/2017 3:36PM

Oak Brook, Prado's Sweet Ride represent home team on Arlington Million Day

Four-Footed Fotos
Oak Brook wins the Black Tie Affair in June.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – It probably will not be enough of an advantage to land either in the winner’s circle, but Arlington Million starter Oak Brook and Beverly D. runner Prado’s Sweet Ride are the only horses in those Grade 1 races Saturday at Arlington who will get to walk to the paddock from the stall they’ve inhabited all summer.

Those two are the entire home team in the three Grade 1 races Saturday at Arlington. Pre-entries for the Million, the Beverly D., the Grade 1 Secretariat, and the American St. Leger came last Friday, and the final fields were to be drawn Tuesday.

Two shipments of overseas runners arrived Saturday at Arlington, while trainer Aidan O’Brien’s three horses – Deauville for the Million, Rain Goddess for the Beverly D., and Taj Mahal for the Secretariat – were to come in Tuesday. Star European jockeys Ryan Moore, Frankie Dettori, and William Buick are expected to ride here Saturday.

Deauville could be favored over the French horse Mekhtaal in the Million, while Oak Brook looks like a 30-1 shot. But by finishing second last out in the Arlington Handicap, Oak Brook earned free entry into the Million, and since he is in career form and is based at Arlington, why not take a shot?

“He’s going to be a little bit of a longshot,” trainer Brian Williamson said. “The horse is in good form right now. He breezed real good a couple times since his last race; he went [five furlongs] in a minute on Saturday and galloped out good.”

Oak Brook is an Illinois homebred owned by the Virginia Tarra Trust, which campaigned his Grade 1-winning brother, Giant Oak, and his dam, Crafty Oak. Rudy Tarra, Virginia’s husband, has been in the game a long time.

“Rudy’s getting a little older. When’s he going to get another chance to run in the Arlington Million?” said Williamson, who will stick with the young local rider Santo Sanjur in the Million.

Prado’s Sweet Ride, another Illinois homebred, is campaigned by longtime local owners and breeders Darrell and Sadie Brommer. She ran below form on a very wet course two starts ago but bounced back with a solid second behind Dona Bruja in the Modesty Handicap.

“I wouldn’t ship to run in a race like this, but it’s right out her back door, and she’s doing very, very well,” trainer Chris Block said. “I don’t really have an alternative spot right now for her. If she were to step forward again, if another couple horses don’t fire or don’t get a trip, we could luck into getting third. So, I think we’ll give it a shot.”

Dona Bruja, Hawksmoor, and Dacita figure to be the three Beverly D. favorites. Chad Brown, who trains Dacita, also has Grand Jete and Rainha Da Bateria for the race.