Secretariat Stakes & Arlington Million

2013 Arlington Million & Secretariat

2013 Arlington MillionThe Arlington Million is back again and I am here to give my two cents worth on it. I will also be reviewing the Secretariat Stakes as well. My most vivid memory of the Million is of course when I had the winner of that race. Isn’t that the way it is with handicappers? You remember the times when you bet the winner, but when it comes to other editions of a certain race where you backed losers, they are but a distant speck of paint on the canvas of your mind. Totally insignificant. Oh, well…such is life.

Awad & the ’95 Arlington Million

Awad Winning '95 Arlington MillionMy memory of the Million was of the 1995 race and a horse by the name of Awad won it and set the record for the fastest time of 1:58.69 in the Arlington Million in doing so. That record still stands! I remember I was at an off track betting parlor (my bookie’s place), and there was a crowd of folks there. I told someone that I liked Awad and another player chirped up and said, “He hasn’t got a prayer”. People mouthed off that way all the time, so I paid no attention and went and bet the horse anyway. You should never let anyone sway you from your pick because it is your money you are risking and it should be won or lost on your selection. Of course I was ecstatic when he won and set the record to boot. The big mouth said, “Oh, you got lucky Lane.” To which I replied, “Yeah, track record lucky and now I am going to pick up a wad  of cash. How about you?” I didn’t hear from him the rest of the day. 😆

2013 Secretariat Stakes

Rydilluc Let’s look at the Secretariat Stakes first since that race will precede the Million. The Secretariat Stakes is a Grade 1 event for 3 year olds over 11/4 mile on the turf with a purse of  $500,000. Awad also won this race as a 3 year old marking his first Grade 1 win. The morning line favorite for Saturday is Todd Pletcher’s Jack Milton, a horse I picked to win the Virginia Derby and was third, beaten by a neck for all of it after being steadied at the 3/8 pole. That wound has not completely healed for me yet. He gets the services of Joel Rosario for this race. The second choice in the morning line is Rydilluc at 9/2.  After having no excuse in the Virginia Derby, he is coming off a brief layoff. He has some sharp works since that race.

Jack MiltonOne that has to be considered here is Admiral Kitten, the fast closing charge out of the Michael Maker barn with Rosie Napravnik up. This on just got beat a head after closing from next to last in the American Derby over this same racing surface at Arlington Park. The way I see it is Rydilluc, with Edgar Prado up, will set the pace and I believe he will be out there alone on the lead. Of course if he can reserve some speed and have anything left in the tank when they turn for home he will be tough. Jack Milton and Admiral Kitten will be coming at the end and could prove themselves at the wire. This is a tough race to handicap. But I believe that Edgar Prado is the most underrated jockey in America and he will prove it here. One more thing. There are a couple of foreign horses in here that are getting Lasix for the first time. I don’t have a clue how to handicap these horses but I know that first time users of Lasix tend to run well.

2013 Arlington Million

GrandeurNow let’s look at the Arlington Million. This is a Grade 1 event for three year olds and up going 11/4 mile over the turf course with a purse of $1,000,000. Let’s check out the line up. This race almost looks like one that is held in Great Britain or somewhere else overseas, there are so many foreign horses in here. Like I said previously, I just can’t seem to get a handle on these foreign horses. But I will take a stab at it anyway.

Finnegans WakeThe morning line favorite is one of those foreigners Grandeur. He ran two races at Hollywood Park that were credible with Gomez in the irons but today they are putting a car on his back, William Buick, a jock from their part of the world. Second in the ML is Indy Point with Gary Stevens up. He won a 1 mile event easily at Delmar as a prep for this race and I see that his 11/4 mile time in Argentina was the fastest of any in this race. Now that doesn’t necessarily translate into a win here because I have no idea what the surface was like there.

To be honest I just don’t like this race at all. I can’t get a handle on it but I was assigned to preview it so this is what I am going to do. I am going waaay out on a limb here and say that Dale Romans’ Finnegans Wake will upset this field of aliens with Little Mike second and Indy Point third. Just don’t bet the house on it. 😎

HHR’s All Stakes Mid Pick 4 Selections

There is a 5o cent pick 4 at Arlington Saturday that includes the Secretariat and the Arlington Million. Here are our selections for those races, 7-10.

American St. Leger: Ioya Bigtime, Dandino, Wigmore Hall

Secretariat: Rydilluc, Admiral Kitten, Jack Milton

Beverly D: Marketing Mix, Dank, Starformer

Arlington Million: Finnegans Wake, Little Mike, Indy Point


Remembering Awad

Awad at Old FriendsFinally, I want to take a moment to remember Awad as we get ready for this year’s Arlington Million. It seems to me that such a great horse should be better remembered on the Internet than what I have found in researching him. There are a lot of fans that loved this horse and I found a lot of information on him, but when trying to find a replay of the ’95 Arlington Million to share with you here, I could find nothing. He only set the record. Furthermore, even Wikipedia is lacking a page dedicated to him. Going forward, HHR will be creating pages on our site dedicated to great horses just like Awad who deserve a better presence on the Web as a part of our horse racing history.  This will take a lot of time, of course, but we hope that over the years these pages will grow and help newcomers to the sport understand and respect the effects horses like Awad have had in thoroughbred racing. Keep checking back with us as we start this project in the near future and be sure to show some love in the comments section for the horses you admire!

Although I couldn’t find a replay for that race, I did stumble upon this video of Awad when he resided at Old Friends in Kentucky, a retirement home for retired thoroughbreds.

If you haven’t already, be sure to visit Old Friends and check out what they are doing for some of your favorite retired horses. Awad died in 2011 of heart failure, but because of the people at Old friends, he enjoyed a great retirement that he might not have had otherwise. RIP Awad. You will be missed.



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Handicap Horses

Co-lead Author & Admin at Handicap Horse Racing
Mike Lane, Sr is co-lead author and administrator of With over 38 years of experience and a degree in the "School of Hard Knocks" for handicapping, Mike has seen it all when it comes to thoroughbred racing and wants to help other horse players learn how to handicap and avoid the mistakes he has made in the past.

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