Bricks and Mortar stands out in 2019 Arlington Million
A leading candidate for Horse of the Year honors will take center stage in Saturday’s $1 million Arlington Million (G1) at Arlington Park.The horse in question is #3 Bricks and Mortar, a sensational 5-year-old with a 9-for-11 record. The son of Giant’s Causeway makes the extraordinary look ordinary. After he showed flashes of serious talent as a 3-year-old, he was sidelined by an injury for more than a year. His career was in doubt, but since he returned to action in December, Bricks and Mortar has been unstoppable.
With four graded stakes victories under his belt in 2019, Bricks and Mortar is perhaps the most accomplished North American racehorse in training. The Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1), the Muniz Memorial Handicap (G2), the Old Forester Turf Classic (G1) and the Manhattan Stakes (G1) have all gone his way by margins ranging from a nose to 2 1/2 lengths. His tremendous turn of foot has allowed him to repeatedly overcome unfavorable pace scenarios to defeat high-class rivals.
The most recent example of Bricks and Mortar’s abundant talent came in the Manhattan at Belmont Park. Racing over the same 1 1/4-mile distance as the Arlington Million, Bricks and Mortar settled well off the pace, advanced smoothly into contention during the second half of the race and rallied wide in the stretch to roll past the leaders and score by a comfortable 1 1/2 lengths. When you can sprint the final quarter-mile of a 1 1/4-mile race in :22.36, you can afford to take the scenic view around the course.
Second in the Manhattan Stakes was #1 Robert Bruce, winner of the 2018 Arlington Million. Like Bricks and Mortar, Robert Bruce is trained by Chad Brown, and the 5-year-old Chilean-bred has been known to unleash powerful finishes of his own. The Manhattan suggests he isn’t quite up to handling Bricks and Mortar when the latter brings his "A" game, but Robert Bruce is rounding back into peak form and should fire a big effort in the Million, his third start of the season.
On paper Bricks and Mortar and Robert Bruce appear to stand above their Arlington Million rivals, so my wagering strategy will be simple. Rather than try to sort out the rest of the evenly matched runners, I’ll just bet Bricks and Mortar and Robert Bruce in a cold exacta.
$20 exacta: 3 with 1
$20 exacta: 3 with 1