The three-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown will be expected to win the Beverly D. Stakes (G1) and Arlington Million (G1) on Saturday at Arlington Park.
With a bit of racing luck, Brown might sweep all three of the grade 1 races at Arlington on Saturday. In addition to his strong contingents in the Beverly D. and Arlington Million, he’s set to saddle two of the eight starters in the $500,000 Secretariat Stakes (G1), including the 3-1 morning-line favorite #6 Fog of War.
Fog of War boasts imposing credentials for the one-mile grass race. A well-bred son of War Front out of a Galileo mare, Fog of War compiled a 2-for-2 record as a juvenile, and most notably defeated eventual Preakness Stakes (G1) winner War of Will in the one-mile Summer Stakes (G1) at Woodbine.
After some time off with an injury, Fog of War returned to action in the May 25 Paradise Creek Stakes at Belmont Park, where he unexpectedly faded to finish sixth as the odds-on favorite. Despite this setback, he showed improvement in the July 4 Manila Stakes going a mile at Belmont, where he made an early move into a hot pace but settled for second place in a fast race. The final time of 1:31.56 missed the course record by just 0.33 seconds.
But as much talent as Fog of War has displayed, I wonder if his stablemate #7 Valid Point might be even better. A son of Scat Daddy, Valid Point is 2-for-2 so far, with both victories coming at a mile. In his debut at Gulfstream Park, Valid Point unleashed a big finish from just off the pace to win by a length over the next-out winner Bar Harbor and ran the final quarter in less than :23.
Valid Point subsequently contested an optional-claiming allowance at Belmont, where he tracked the pace and rocketed the final half-mile in :44.50 to win by 3 1/2 lengths in 1:33.09.
Valid Point is stepping up sharply in class, but this doesn’t appear to be the toughest field assembled for the Secretariat Stakes, and his tactical speed should come in handy. I’m optimistic he can spring a mild surprise at a better price than his more heralded stablemate.
Among the rest, #8 Faraway Kitten—the late-running winner of the American Derby (G3) at Arlington—looms as the most likely to hit the board, along with the Irish shipper #3 Never No More. Conditioned by trainer Aidan O’Brien, who has won the Secretariat Stakes four times, Never No More has won three of his five starts sprinting and has shown no difficulty negotiating reasonably sharp left-handed turns at Dundalk, Naas and Leopardwstown. His 2-for-2 record going seven furlongs suggests he has enough speed to be competitive traveling a mile over a tight-turning U.S. turf course.
$9 to win on #7 Valid Point
$1 trifecta: 7 with 3,6,8 with 3,6,8 ($6)
$1 trifecta: 7 with 3,6,8 with 3,4,5,6,8,9 ($15)