Real Solution (left) and The Apache battle it out in the Arlington MillionPICTURE: Four Footed Fotos
Real Solution awarded Million by stewards
Report: USA, Saturday
Arlington Park: Arlington Million (Grade 1) 1m2f, turf, 3yo+
A CONTROVERSIAL chapter was added to the history of the fabled Arlington Million on Saturday when The Apache, representing Mike de Kock, was disqualified in favour of Real Solution (Chad Brown/Alan Garcia).
The Andrew Balding-trained Side Glance, a 24-1 outsider, did best of five British-trained runners taking third place, but other more fancied visitors fared less well, finishing in a bunch down the field.
The well-fancied Grandeur could do no better than seventh, racing wide under William Buick after exiting from the outside post in a 13-runner field. Mull Of Killough was eighth, with Guest Of Honour ninth and Hunter's Light only tenth under Ryan Moore, who had earlier completed a lucrative double on Dank and Dandino.
None of the British raiders ever looked likely to claim the $1 million feature but The Apache - officially representing South Africa, but prepared in Newmarket - was a clear winner on merit after re-rallying to hold off Real Solution's challenge inside the final furlong.
It was a tenacious effort, as Real Solution had arrived on the scene with what looked a winning challenge inside the final furlong, only for The Apache to fight him off and pass the post a head in front. Side Glance, who struggled for room in the stretch, was two lengths back in third.
However, The Apache shifted out under left-handed pressure from Christophe Soumillon, interfering enough with 8-1 shot Real Solution for that ex-Italian four-year-old to be awarded the race by the stewards.
While it is unlikely the result would have been changed in Britain, US rules do not favour such winners on merit to anything like the same degree and while this was not a clearcut decision, The Apache did bump Real Solution and there was always a likelihood the placings would be changed once Alan Garcia posted his objection.
"At the top of the stretch I had plenty of horse to go by. The other horse bumped us more than four times and made me lose my momentum," Garcia said. "If that didn't happen we might have won by two or three lengths."
Soumillon disagreed. "We were the better horse, but he got scared by the screen and shifted out," he said. "My horse was on the lead and got a little unbalanced. The screen scared him, but we were the best horse."
The amended result, the third in a decade at the Million, completed a remarkable Grade 1 turf treble for owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey with sons of their stallion Kitten's Joy.
Runner-up in the 2005 Arlington Million, Kitten's Joy was also responsible for Secretariat Stakes winner Admiral Kitten and Big Blue Kitten, who took the Sword Dancer at Saratoga.
After being challenged for the lead throughout by Mull Of Killough, Breeders' Cup Turf winner Little Mike faded to sixth as he attempted to repeat last year's victory. South American Grade 1 winner Indy Point, a surprise favourite, was last after racing wide at the rear.
Also on Saturday
Arlington Park: Secretariat Stakes (Grade 1) 1m2f, turf, 3yo
No joy for the European trio here as Rosie Napravnik drove home 5-1 chance Admiral Kitten (Mike Maker) from Stormy Len in a 1-2-3 for the home team.
"We were able to sit back and relax - that's kind of the horse's style," said Napravnik. "We got a clear trip around the second turn and he was just finishing fast. He's a very classy horse."
The Aga Khan's Visiyani did best of the Europeans in fifth, with Irish-trained First Cornerstone eighth, a couple of places ahead of recent Ascot winner Yeager. First Cornerstone will stay in the States as part of the Team Valor team.