2023 Arlington Million Stakes & Secretariat Stakes Odds

All the action is on the lawn at Colonial Downs on Saturday, when the G1 2023 Arlington Million Stakes heads a big-purse weekend. Last year’s Million winner Santin goes up against progressive G3 one-two Catnip and Never Explain, while the supporting G2 Secretariat could feature up-and-coming More Than Looks and the 2-3-4 from the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf in Silver Knott, Nagirroc and Mo Stash.

Breeders Cup Odds

Arlington Million

G1, $1,000,000, 1m 2f turf, 3yo+, 6.40pm ET

The Arlington Million used to be famous for international competition, but although the seven-figure purse is still intact there are no overseas shippers for the marquee contest at Colonial Downs on Saturday, and the local line-up is disappointingly light on recent winning form.

A case in point is the 2022 Million winner Santin, who has not hit the board in six starts since he won the equivalent contest over a mile-eighth at Churchill Downs, with Set Piece a long way back in fourth.

Santin has totally lost his mojo and is not at home stretching out to the tenth furlong, while the inconsistent Set Piece has proved often that he is no G1 player and also operates best over shorter distances, as he showed when taking down the mile-sixteenth 2023 G3 Arlington at Churchill Downs in June.

There is far more promise in Catnip, who has moved through the gears impressively this year. He won the 2023 G3 Monmouth over a mile-eighth at Monmouth Park when surging late to catch and beat Never Explain by a half-length, and the extra yardage was probably to blame in the 2023 G1 United Nations over a mile and three-eighths at the same track, when his finishing kick was blunted and he could only claim the place slot.

This distance should suit well and he is still progressive, while Never Explain turned in a decent effort when hitting the show spot in the 2023 G2 Bowling Green at Saratoga, a mile and three-eighths race run at a dawdle, and could figure again.

Pace will come from Strong Quality, who set the fractions as far as he could when fifth in the ten-furlong 2023 G1 Manhattan at Belmont Park on his stakes debut. This looks an easier spot to go from the gun and a similar performance would put him right in the mix.

Atone started the year in storming fashion when rallying hard to get the money in the 2023 G1 Pegasus World Cup Turf over a mile-eighth at Gulfstream Park, with the generally underpowered Master Piece seventh, beaten three and a quarter lengths. Two off-the-board finishes at Graded level since then do not advertise Atone’s chances much, but he does go well fresh and could move back up on this first start for almost three months.

Chad Brown loads both barrels but neither appears bullseye material. Adhamo has been on the sidelines for ten months, and although he won the 2022 G1 United Nations it was a moderate contest. He has plenty of questions to answer, as does barnmate Rockemperor, who looks regressive and was four and a half lengths behind Strong Quality in the Manhattan.

The only last-time winner in the field is Strong Quality’s barnmate Win For The Money, who nailed an allowance here over a mile-sixteenth. Even allowing for the shabby form of many of his rivals, this could be too much of a class hike.

2023 Arlington Million Stakes Betting Odds

There is less here than meets the eye, but CATNIP will appreciate the slight cutback and is progressive while several of his rivals are well out of form.

Strong TideHoracio Karamanos+1500
Never ExplainVincent Cheminaud+600
Set Piece (GB)Florent Geroux+600
AtoneKendrick Carmouche+350
Rockemperor (IRE)John R. Velazquez+500
Master Piece (CHI)Jose Lezcano+1200
Strong QualityJavier Castellano+1200
CatnipBrian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.+800
Adhamo (IRE)Flavien Prat+1000
Win for the MoneyJorge Ruiz+2000
SantinTyler Gaffalione+800

Secretariat Stakes

G2, $500,000, 1m turf, 3yo, 5.10pm ET

The condition of the turf track at Saratoga may have a bearing on the Secretariat, as one of the leading contenders is cross-entered at the Spa on Friday and, depending on circumstances there, may be a late scratch at Colonial Downs.

That horse is More Than Looks, who would have a strong chance here based on his last-time victory in the 2023 G3 Manila at Belmont Park over a mile, when he recovered well from a slow start and finished off strongly for an impressive success. He pulled a length and three-quarters clear of Nagirroc in third and another six and three-quarters ahead of Major Dude – winner of the 2023 G2 Penn Mile on his previous start – in fourth.

More Than Looks was making his stakes debut there and is open to a stack of improvement. If he runs at the Spa instead, trainer Cherie DeVaux has a ready-made substitute in the shape of Northern Invader, who broke his maiden at the third attempt when hosing the field by eight lengths over a mile at Belmont. It is evidently a big step up but he could be ready for a class hike.

Whatever happens with More Than Looks, that Manila form puts Nagirroc right in the picture. He has never missed the board and his consistency will always make him a threat, and he cruised to victory in a mile stakes at Pimlico in May.

The 2022 G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf over a mile at Keeneland is a key factor here, with British shipper Silver Knott missing out by just a nose when caught in the last two jumps. The longshots Nagirroc and Mo Stash were third and fourth, separated by three-quarters of a length but two and a quarter lengths behind Silver Knott, with Major Dude ninth.

Silver Knott has failed to recapture that level of form in three starts in 2023, and found the ten furlongs too far when a fading fifth in the 2023 G1 Belmont Derby last time. The cutback may help, but his barn is not firing on all cylinders.

The front-running Mo Stash is closely matched with Nagirroc, there was a length between them when they filled the exacta in the 2023 G3 Transylvania at Keeneland in April. Last time out Mo Stash tried to go gate-to-wire in a mile-sixteenth stakes at Ellis Park but was caught late and beaten a length, with Gigante almost seven lengths back last of six. Again, the slightly shorter distance may suit.

Tee At One cuts right back after finishing second in a Delaware Park stakes over a mile and three-eighths; this distance should help but he could be out of his depth.

2023 Secretariat Stakes Betting Odds

If More Than Looks goes elsewhere this could fall to MO STASH, who will be suited by coming back to a mile and could get his own way out front.

Silver Knott (GB)Jamie P. Spencer+300
GiganteJavier Castellano+1500
NagirrocFlavien Prat+250
Mo StashFlorent Geroux+500
Northern InvaderJohn R. Velazquez+800
Major DudeTyler Gaffalione+600
More Than LooksJose Lezcano+500
Tee At OneMychel J. Sanchez+1200

Check out the Arlington Million Stakes & Secretariat Stakes Recap

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