It’s not hard to imagine that Analyze It will feel a sense of relief when he heads to the starting gate for Saturday’s $400,000 Secretariat Stakes (gr. I) at Arlington Park and realizes that, for once, he will not be joined by Catholic Boy.
Analyze It is a head and a neck away from being undefeated in five starts, with those narrow losses coming against Catholic Boy in the Pennine Ridge Stakes (gr. III) and the Belmont Derby (gr. I) at Belmont Park. In both races, Analyze It led past the eighth pole and appeared on his way to victory, but each time he flattened out late and was caught in the closing strides by his newfound archrival.
Regardless, Analyze It has been running so well in defeat that he is the 2-1 morning line favorite for the Secretariat Stakes, a 1 ¼-mile grass race that has attracted a top-notch field of thirteen starters. Trained by Chad Brown, the son of Point of Entry has enough tactical speed to work out a great trip in a field comprised primarily of late-runners. As a result, Analyze It figures to work out an ideal trip stalking the front-running American Derby (gr. III) winner Real Story before pouncing in the homestretch.
But to prevail in the Secretariat Stakes, Analyze It will have to defeat and large and deep contingent of international challengers. First and foremost is the Group 3 winner Hunting Horn, who finished 1 ¾ lengths behind Analyze It when third in the Belmont Derby last time out. Trained by Aidan O’Brien, who has won this race on four previous occasions, Hunting Horn is perfectly-suited to the distance of the Secretariat and could enjoy the change from the rock-hard turf course at Belmont to the kinder course at Arlington, though starting from post thirteen could be a distinct disadvantage.
O’Brien also ships in Lucius Tiberius, a three-time winner going 1 ¼ miles in Ireland, while his son Joseph O’Brien is sending Ming, who won convincingly over this distance in Ireland four weeks ago. Bandua, eighth in the Irish Derby (Ire-I), looms as an interesting longshot for top trainer Dermot Weld, while Gallinule Stakes (Ire-III) winner Platinum Warrior completes the list of foreign raiders.
Captivating Moon, Dubby Dubbie, and Pont Du Gard—second, third, and fourth in the American Derby (gr. III) behind Real Story—are among the locally-based contenders looking to step up their game. The lightly-raced Carrick, third in the Kent Stakes (gr. III), could have room for improvement while making just his fourth start, and Untamed Domain—runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. II) last November—could step up as well after enduring a dreadful trip when sixth in the Kent Stakes. Completing the field is Sniper Kitten, whose current three-race win streak culminated with a late-running score in the Mystic Lake Derby on June 23rd.
The Secretariat Stakes is the ninth race of the day, with a post time of 4:48 p.m. Central.