AP Million To Live On At CD

AP Million (Grade 1)- $1,000.000 Purse
CD- For Three Year Olds and Upward
One Mile and One Eighth on the Turf
August 13, 2022

For decades in the real world, and for the lifespan of our virtual world, the AP Million has been known as one of the more prestigious turf races of the year. Our version has seen the likes of Dogma, Bronze Sabre (twice), and Spanish Showboat win this great race, but the real Arlington Park would close it’s doors for good. The life of the AP Million, therefore, was going to be over. Or, was it? To the rescue of this great race would be CD, making an agreement to host this race and letting it live on, and take place on one of the best tracks in the world. In order for this to work, the track would hold a special one-day event of racing, centered around the AP Million. On HRP, we won’t get the full eleven race card, but we get to have the AP Million, as well as three other graded stakes that the track was known for. As we move the venue south, we will cut the distance of the race by a furlong, but the traditional $1,000.000 purse will remain. Of course, the 2021 version did see a reduction to $600.000. Thanks a ton to CD for stepping up! One trainer to be particularly happy about this is John Henry, as he has won the last three editions of the race. In 2019 and 2020, it was with Dead Madness, and last year, it was with Winter Solstice. However, he is giving others a chance to win this year as he does not have an entry. Here is a look at the nine that will be in the race!

#1- Cold Weather Rider (Night Rider Stables, ridden by J J Castellano)- This is a horse that you need to be looking out for in the stretch, as he is able to make the closing style work. Two of his last four races saw him utilize this method and win, and the others saw him finish within a length of the winner. All of them would earned a triple digit SRF. Hard to believe that in his 55 race career, those are the only four races that he has run long in. Makes you wonder what might have been, but the eight year old is clicking and peaking at the moment. He’s well rested and ready to roll.

#2- Spoonz (Gdp Inc., ridden by E Maldonado)- Making the job into graded competition after finishing second in a $127.000 N1X allowance here at the start of July. It was a near miss, and overall he has won two times in fourteen starts. That result showed that he was able to make jumps in class, since he had been in a $7.500 claimer the race before. His SRF’s look a little low for this level of race, but they don’t have to mean anything, either. He’s here for a reason, but I will pass on making him one of my picks.

#3- Immoral (Mb Stables, ridden by E Jaramillo)- Before John Henry went on a three race winning streak, Mb Stables won the previous two editions, so has not been left out of the winners circle. In 2020, Immoral raced in the AP Million for him, and ended up running second to Dead Madness. The success has continued this year with three wins in five starts, highlighted by winning the Forester Turf Classic over this surface in May. All seems well for this winner of over $5,500.000 to get back to the BC for the third straight year.

#4- Last Way To The Beac (Maxmillion Farm, ridden by P Lopez)- Between last September and this June, this gelding won five out of seven races, with the other two being eleventh place finishes. Unfortunately for the trainer, those two were the BC Turf and the Pegasus World Cup Turf, but when looking past those races, he’s been great. You knew it would be a matter of time before he got that Grade 1 win, and that happened in the Manhattan. Now, he comes off one of those duds, but he’s always been able to bounce back. I expect that he will here as well and be one of the ones to watch.

#5- Raj The Magician (Wood Duck Stables, ridden by Mar Garcia)- Wood Duck Stables has worked magic with this one, turning him from a claimer two years ago to a graded winner. 2022 has been a career year for him, starting with consecutive strong runs, including a win, in ungraded stakes then carrying it into the Grade 3 Arlington Stakes (not to be confused with this race, obviously!) right here. From a Grade 3, his next win was in a Grade 2, the Wise Dan. So, we know what should come next, and maybe the Arlington Stakes winner would make a good Arlington Million winner.

#6- Starship Candlestick (TwinTowersRacing, ridden by M J Sanchez)- Still an unproven horse, with just $55.910 in career earnings, and two wins in ten starts. He’s had a couple of ungraded stakes attempts, but neither are the highlights of his past performances. Last run on turf didn’t really excite, either, so nothing really says that the horse is about to win the AP Million. That doesn’t mean he can’t or won’t, but in this field, I couldn’t put money on him.

#7- The Godfather (Smokey Stover, ridden by A Cedillo)- The winner of the BC Juvenile Turf is still looking for his first major win of the season. His lone victory in 2022 came in the $60.000 Startac Stakes, which is good and all, but you’re hoping for more from a BC winner. He could be on the verge of it, with three straight runner ups, including the Grade 2 Pennine Ridge and the $300.000 Texas Turf. Maybe today will be the day, but he must be at his best.

#8- Mr Scratch (Nakamura Stables, ridden by L Luzzi)- Speaking of the $300.000 Texas Turf, if you were wondering who may have won that race, well look no further. For Mr Scratch, it was his second win in a row, coming on the heels of the Grade 3 American Stakes at SA. In all, the five year old gelding has won ten of 26 and very rarely runs a bad race. Others might be known more within the game, but there is no reason to think that Mr Scratch can’t beat ‘em all.

#9- Burning (Lanfranco Stable, ridden by J Alvarado)- After a dismal performance in an optional claimer, Burning’s prior trainer was aching to get rid of him. Lanfranco picked him up in private sales for just $2.000 a few weeks later, but would not run him for four months. The rest did him good, as he would emphatically win a FL-bred allowance by eight lengths at the end of June. He has not raced since, and jumping into the AP Million is a big ask, but looking at his last race, I don’t think it’s a complete reach.

Prediction: 1-8-3-4

— NS

Categories: Grade I, STAKES ARTICLES

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