ARLINGTON HEIGHTS – On Saturday, trainer Chad Brown put on the finest performance in the history of Arlington International Racecourse, which dates back to Oct. 13, 1927.
The 39-year-old trainer, whose powerful stable is based out of Saratoga, had eight horses in the three lucrative and prestigious Grade I international races on the grass course and turned them into a virtual monopoly game:
• Robert Bruce and Almanaar ran 1-2 for him in the main event, the 36th running of the Arlington Million.
• His damsels Sistercharlie, Fourstar Crook and Thais finished first, second and third in the 29th running of the $600,000 Beverly D. Stakes for fillies and mares.
• His colt Analyze It was an ultra-close second in the 42nd running of the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes for 3-year-olds.
It was the second straight year Brown won the Million and the fourth year in a row that he won the Beverly D. Stakes.
“I love this place,” said Brown. “It’s one of the greatest places in the world to race horses.”
There were 11 starters in the Million, and Brown had three of them. His third starter, Money Multiplier, came in fifth, as did Inflexibility, his fourth starter in the nine-horse Beverly D. Stakes.
Analyze It was his only representative in the Secretariat, which had a field of 13, and the 4-5 favorite lost the 1-mile race by a neck to Carrick, a 38-to-1 longshot who paid $78.20, $16.80 and $9.20.
John Velazquez rode Carrick for trainer Thomas Marley and piloted Sistercharlie in the 13/16-mile Beverly D. Stakes.
In the 1-mile Million, Robert Bruce left from the No. 8 post position as the 2.60-1 second favorite with Irad Ortiz Jr. at the reins.
The 4-year-old colt bumped into even-money favorite Oscar Performance in the outside stall at the start. Then, he went to the outside and raced near the rear before going six-wide in the stretch. He gained the lead with a 16th of a mile remaining and went on to defeat Almanaar by a length, celebrating his jockey’s 26th birthday and giving owner-breeder Carlos Lavin the Million’s first Chilean-bred winner.
“The jockey was fantastic,” Lavin said of Ortiz. “When he entered the straight and was in last place, I said, ‘Maybe he’s too far back.’ But this horse has a change of speed that’s fantastic.”
Robert Bruce began his career in Chile, where he won his first six races before coming to the U.S. this year and finishing first and sixth for Brown in two graded stakes races at Belmont Park, prefacing his triumphant appearance in the Million that saw him pay $7.20, $3.80 and $3.20.
Third-place finisher Century Dream, who set the pace and stayed in front until the final 16th, was disqualified for interfering with Catcho En Die. The latter horse was promoted to fourth. After spending most of the race stalking Century Dream, Oscar Performance’s jockey pulled the horse up near the finish line and vanned off the course.
Carrying the forest-green colors of owner Peter Brant, Sistercharlie returned $5.20, $2.80 and $2.40 for her victory over Fourstar Crook. She came from sixth to make a sweeping stretch move.
“It was a perfect trip,” said Velazquez. “We broke a little slow as always. I looked for the position I wanted and got it. From the half-mile pole there was just one horse to beat (Thais), so I put her right behind that one, and she responded.”
In the Secretariat, Velazquez and Carrick spent the first three-quarters racing fifth, swung four-wide in the stretch and won the stretch duel with Analyze It.
“Johnny rode the perfect race,” said Jerry Crawford, managing partner of Donegal Racing, the colt’s 55-member ownership group.