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Real Solution winning the Arlington Million

Real Solution and The Apache (noseband) fight out the finish to the Million

  PICTURE: Four Footed Fotos  

Justice done in Arlington Million reversal

WORLD CLASS: an analysis of the international scene according to Racing Post Ratings

THREE decades of inflation has done little to dent the international appeal of the Arlington Million's million dollar purse. It was a lot of money in 1981 and it's still a lot of money now. It's also a lot to lose in the stewards' room.

Unfortunately the Arlington Park officials are developing a reputation for overturning results and on Saturday The Apache became the third horse to be thrown out after 'winning' the Million in the last 11 years.

The South African was demoted to second for “interference in the straight”. As with every inquiry there were upset parties on both sides, but of the three horses recently disqualified in the Million this was the least controversial.

Storming Home, who jinked and unseated Gary Stevens on the line in 2003, and Powerscourt, who won by daylight in 2004, each won the valuable turf prize on merit. They were disqualified because their actions affected the run of other horses.

That's the way America governs interference and the rule is different in other countries. In the UK, for instance, because they were the best on the day Powerscourt and Storming Home would have kept their share of the million dollar prize fund and kept the race.

In this year's Million, however, international stewards may have found harmony in the decision to throw out The Apache, with the demoted horse failing on both the American question: 'was there interference?' and the follow-up British question: 'did it make a difference?'.

A review of the tape shows two supporting facts for Real Solution being promoted to first. Firstly the side angle shows him come with a charging run and make up lots of ground on The Apache, but this momentum stops when The Apache starts to drift off the rail. Secondly the head-on shot shows something much more important.

The disqualified horse hangs to his right away from the whip and pushes the promoted horse (there was plenty of contact) a good four yards over to the right.

You don't need evening classes in geometry to tell you that if Real Solution was allowed to run in a straight line he would have crossed the line before The Apache. Perhaps not by two or three lengths, as Real Solution's rider Alan Garcia suggested, but the momentum and ground lost during that final furlong would certainly account for more than the head he was defeated.

Christophe Soumillon believed his mount (the first past the post) was clearly the best on the day, but Garcia says he might have won by two or three lengths if he hadn't been bumped in the straight.

As far as the stewards are concerned the decision on who was the better horse doesn't always come into it, but this time the horse who was the best on the day (probably) was awarded the race.

So there is harmony in the equine court of justice. The horse who suffered interference and should have won the race was awarded the race. Real Solution was the right solution.

Even South African trainer Mike de Kock, trainer of The Apache, felt his horse would get thrown out after he saw the head on, admitting “if it had happened to me, I'd have felt aggrieved.”

If justice was served by the stewards on the matter of the winner there was only really one unlucky horse to concentrate on – the tenth, Hunter's Light.

The Godolphin colt travelled very strongly up the rail and looked full of running turning for home. Ryan Moore reported he was hanging left all the way and as he switched right to make his run he seemed to run up the back of The Apache before lugging left again and finding himself in a pocket.

Then he clipped heels with Mull Of Killough, stumbled and was eased to the line. He should have hit the frame and was awarded an RPR of 112+.

The overall form of the race was not spectacular for the prize-money on offer. The first and second posted RPRs of 114 (and Real Solution gets a '+' because he was motoring along before The Apache made contact). The third, Side Glance, ran to his previous Prince Of Wales's Stakes RPR of 110, while the fourth and fifth ran to their best US figures.

The biggest RPR at Arlington Park on Saturday actually came in the Grade 1 fillies' race, the Beverly D Stakes, where Sir Michael Stoute's Dank (116) stormed clear in a good time to defeat Paul Cole's Listed winner Gifted Girl (107) by four-and-a-quarter lengths.

Japan hosted the richest race of the week, the Grade 2 Sapporo Kinen at Hakodate on Sunday, won by Tokei Halo (121+).

The winner has been a revelation since stepping up to 1m2f, landing a Grade 3, a Grade 3 handicap under top weight and now a Grade 2 by six-lengths.

He improved his RPR for each of those wins, although he did enjoy the run of the race on Sunday. He made all, was a few lengths clear from halfway and a long way clear turning for home.

He coasted in for a cosy success and looks capable of stepping up again when up against the big guns later in the campaign. That said, he will need to step up again to win a Grade 1 in Japan.

Over in France Wesley Ward's No Nay Never moved to the top of the juvenile pecking order with an RPR of 117 for his one length victory in the Prix Morny.

The American speedball is unbeaten in three starts, including a battling success in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot, and plans for the rest of the campaign are fluid.

An RPR of 117 will likely come under pressure when the class juveniles step up to 7f and 1m later in the year, although 117 was enough for Reckless Abandon to finish the year as champion sprint juvenile last year and No Nay Never looks a prime candidate for that award.

TOP OF THE CLASS: Tokei Halo 121 Hisashi Shimizu (Jap) (Sapporo Kinen, Hakodate, 1m2f, August 18)


Name (country trained) Race Rating
1 Toronado (GB) Sussex Stakes 130T
2 Dawn Approach (Ire) Sussex Stakes 129T
3 Black Caviar (Aus)
Lightning Stakes
  Fort Larned (US) Stephen Foster Hcap 128D

Game On Dude (US)
Santa Anita Hcap
6 Al Kazeem (GB) Eclipse 127T

Novellist (Ger) King George 127T

Verrazano Haskell Invitational 127D
10 Farhh (GB) Lockinge Stakes 126T
  Gold Ship (Jap) Takarazuka Kinen 126T
  Olympic Glory (GB) Jacques le Marois 126T

St Nicholas Abbey (Ire) Coronation Cup 126T



Name (country trained) Race Rating
1 Toronado (GB) Sussex Stakes 130
2 Dawn Approach (Ire) Sussex Stakes 129
3 Black Caviar (Aus)
Lightning Stakes
4 Al Kazeem (GB) Eclipse 127

Novellist (Ger) King George 127
6 Farhh (GB) Lockinge Stakes 126
  Olympic Glory (GB) Jacques le Marois 126
  Gold Ship (Jap) Takarazuka Kinen 126

St Nicholas Abbey (Ire) Coronation Cup 126
10 Moonlight Cloud (Fr) Jacques le Marois 125
  Orfevre (Jap) Osaka Hai 125



Name (country trained) Race Rating
Fort Larned (US) Stephen Foster Hcap 128
  Game On Dude (US) Santa Anita Hcap 128
3 Verrazano (US) Haskell Invitational 127
4 Ron The Greek  (US) Sunshine Millions Classic
5 Cross Traffic (US) Whitney Invitational 122
  Dreaming Of Julia (US) Florida Oaks 122
  Orb (US) Kentucky Derby 122
  Palace Malice (US) Belmont Stakes 122

Royal Delta (US) Sabin Stakes/Delaware Hcap

Sahara Sky (US) Met Mile 122



Name (country trained) Race Rating
1 Game On Dude (US) Hollywood Gold Cup 125
2 Animal Kingdom (US) Dubai World Cup 124
3 Mental (UAE) Al Shindagha Sprint 121
4 Red Cadeaux (GB) Dubai World Cup 119

African Story (UAE) Burj Nahar
6 Centralinteligence (US) Triple Bend Hcap 118
  Comma To The Top (US) Los Angeles Handicap 118

Goldencents (US) Bing Crosby 118
8 Delegation (Can) Dominion Day Stakes 117
Hunter's Light (UAE)
Al Maktoum Challenge R2/3
  Reynaldothewizard (UAE) Mahab Al Shimaal/Golden Shaheen 116
  Soft Falling Rain (SAF) Godolphin Mile 116
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