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Sunday, 09 December, 2018

No joy for Europeans as champion trainer Chad Brown dominates at Arlington

Out of the gate: the Arlington Million field exits the starting gate for the 36th running of Chicago's signature contest
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Report: USA, Saturday

Arlington Park: Arlington Million XXXVI (Grade 1) 1m2f | turf | 3yo+

A double-figure team of European visitors fared dismally in Chicago on Saturday when the home team claimed all three Grade 1 events on the Arlington International Festival of Racing.

A single third place (from Bandua in the Secretariat Stakes) was the best the visitors could muster as they encountered America's champion trainer Chad Brown in especially intimidating form.

Brown, who largely made his name with ex-European turf runners, recorded a 1-2-3 in the Beverly D Stakes led home by the impressive Sistercharlie before former Chilean-trained Robert Bruce charged home on the wide outside to win by a half-length over stable companion Almanaar in the Arlington Million.

The Simon Crisford-trained Century Dream put up a fine effort in the $1m feature as he attempted to make all under William Buick, only to wander in the stretch and pass the post in third. However, he was later demoted to fourth behind US-trained Catcho En Die.

Buick reported: "Simon was always very confident of riding a horse positively and he's a real honest, game horse and I thought there was a chance that everyone was going to be looking at each other and that no one really wanted the lead. We were kind of an underdog in the race so I figured we'd try our best and make something of it."

On a miserable night for Ballydoyle, Deauville was a never-nearer sixth under Ryan Moore, while Jane Chapple-Hyam's Circus Couture was eighth, ahead of only US-trained favourite Oscar Performance, who finished distressed.

Beaten only once in nine career starts, Robert Bruce is a four-year-old son of Fast Company. He was sent off just a shade over 5-2 on the US pari-mutuel, having been available at much bigger with British bookmakers.

Celebration time: winning jockey Irad Ortiz enjoys the moment as Robert Bruce wins the Arlington Million
"The horse was doing so well, we were very positive, so thank God everything went perfect for us," said winning jockey Irad Ortiz, who was celebrating his 26th birthday. "I put him in the clear on the stretch. On the backside I didn’t want to fight with him, just wanted him to be happy on the backside, so when I turned to the backside and went to the 10-path I didn’t panic."

Brown added: "He's got an unbelievable kick but so did the losing horse. They both ran tremendous."

The Breeders' Cup Turf, via the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, is the end-of-season target for the Chilean-bred winner, a four-time Grade 1 victor in his native country for owners Convento Viejo LLC.

Arlington Million result

Also on Saturday

Arlington: Secretariat Stakes (Grade 1) 1m2f | turf | 3yo

A five-strong Irish team could do no better than third place as Carrick (Tom Morley/John Velazquez) ran out a shock 38-1 winner from odds-on favourite Analyze It in a one-two punch from the home team.

Carrick (John Velazquez) outfinishes odds-on favourite Analyze It to win the Grade 1 Secretariat

The Dermot Weld-trained Bandua did best of Irish visitors in the $400,000 contest, just touching off compatriot Platinum Warrior for third, nearly three lengths adrift of the principals.

The Joseph O'Brien-trained Ming was sixth, two places ahead of Ballydoyle's chief hope Hunting Horn, sent to chase the pace from his wide draw in gate 13 of 13 before fading in the stretch. His Ballydoyle stablemate Lucius Tiberius was never a factor in 12th.

A son of Giant's Causeway, Carrick scored by a neck after being produced four wide into the stretch and then outfinishing a tenacious Analyze It to score by a neck.

The victory was a notable triumph for trainer Tom Morley, a British expat who has been based in the US for several years. "He broke well and going past the wire for the first time he settled really well," said winning jockey John Velazquez.

"By the backstretch I was in a perfect position and I was very happy with the way he was doing things. After that, really, I was just waiting for the stretch run to see how he would respond for me and he responded, and he responded right away."

Speaking of third-placed Bandua, William Buick said: "He just got a little outpaced. The front two just kind of kicked clear of me and he was just getting his rhythm going. He’s a nice horse and he’s one that’s going to keep improving as well."

Full result

Arlington: Beverly D Stakes (Grade 1) 1m1½f | turf | 3yo+ f/m

Sistercharlie (John Velazquez) holds Chad Brown-trained stablemate Fourstar Crook to win the Grade 1 Beverly D at Arlington
Things did not improve for the visitors as Chad Brown completed a four-timer in the Beverly D as 8-5 favourite Sistercharlie (John Velazquez) led home a clean sweep for America's champion trainer, who was winning the $600,000 event for the fifth time overall.

The Mark Johnston-trained Nyaleti and Aidan O'Brien's Belmont Oaks winner Athena and were outrun in the stretch to finish sixth and seventh respectively.

Runner-up in last season's Prix de Diane for former trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre, Sistercharlie was produced from mid-division off a pedestrian gallop before holding stablemates Fourstar Crook and Thais.

Brown, who also saddled fifth-placed Inflexibility, is a former assistant to the late Bobby Frankel, himself a renowned trainer of top-class turf performers who won the Beverly D twice.

"My mentor - I'm thinking about him right now, Bobby Frankel," said Brown.  "He loved this race. He loved coming to Arlington, a big supporter. He taught me so much and to be able to come back and use his training techniques, everything he taught me, to come here and have success in this race is really special."

Sistercharlie is likely to start a leading fancy for the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf, for which the Beverly D is a 'Win and You're In' race, offering a fees-paid berth as part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge. "She's very consistent," added Brown. "She's the type of mare any trainer would love to have."

Full result

Saratoga: Fourstardave Hcap (Grade 1) 1m | turf | 3yo+

A front-running success for former claimer Voodoo Song (Linda Rice/Jose Lezcano), five lengths clear at halfway before holding off Delta Prince by a neck to take his Saratoga record to five out of five in this $500,000 contest.

Trainer Linda Rice also won the Grade 2 Adirondack earlier on the card with Sue's Fortune (Junior Alvarado).

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On the backside I didn’t want to fight with him, just wanted him to be happy on the backside, so when I turned and went to the 10-path I didn't panic
E.W. Terms
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