Set Piece (GB) arrived in the United States two years ago to the care of multiple Eclipse Award-winning trainer Brad Cox and since then owner Juddmonte has been rewarded with seven victories. The one missing link in Set Piece’s résumé is a Grade I win but Cox hopes that could change in Saturday’s $1 million Arlington Million (Grade I) at Churchill Downs.
Set Piece recorded seven of his 10 lifetime victories in the barn of Cox, most notably winning last year’s $250,000 Wise Dan (GII) by a half-length over Somelikeithotbrown. The son of Dansili (GB) came 1 ½ lengths from Grade I glory in last year’s $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap (GI) at Saratoga but was defeated by the sensational mare Got Stormy.
“He’s been training very well up at Saratoga and we were between running him back in this year’s Fourstardave or going back to Churchill for the Arlington Million,” Cox said. “He’s had a lot of success at Churchill and hopefully on Saturday he can add a Grade I win to his résumé.”
Set Piece arrived to Churchill Downs early Tuesday morning and had a 1 ½-mile gallop Wednesday under exercise rider Fernando Espinoza.
In his last start, Set Piece finished a disappointing fifth in the $175,000 Forbidden Apple (GIII) as the 2-1 betting favorite. Through 15 starts with Cox, Set Piece has gone to post as the favorite 10 times. Set Piece was made the 4-1 third choice by morning line oddsmaker Mike Battaglia in the Arlington Million.
Here’s the complete Arlington Million field from the rail out (with jockey, trainer and morning line odds): Set Piece (GB) (Geroux, Cox, 4-1); Sacred Life (FR) (Manny Franco, Chad Brown, 9-2); Field Pass (Rey Gutierrez, Mike Maker, 8-1); Smooth Like Strait (John Velazquez, Michael McCarthy, 5-2); Megacity (Gerardo Corrales, Mike Maker, 15-1); Santin (Tyler Gaffalione, Brendan Walsh, 3-1); Admission Office (Brian Hernandez Jr., Brian Lynch, 10-1); Cavalry Charge (David Cohen, Dallas Stewart, 20-1); and Cellist (Corey Lanerie, Rusty Arnold, 15-1).
The Arlington Million will be conducted in Lane 1 on the Matt Winn Turf Course.
Saturday’s first post at Churchill Downs is 12:45 p.m. (all times Eastern) and the Arlington Million will go as the Race 11 finale at 6:25 p.m.
Thanks to cooperation from Ellis Park, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and Kentucky horsemen, the 1 1/8-mile Arlington Million, which annually attracts some of the nation’s elite turf stars age 3-years-old and up, will be staged at Churchill Downs for the first time in a special stand-alone, one-day, summertime event at the historic Louisville racetrack. Previously, it was run at Arlington Park until the racetrack closed in 2021.
Saturday will mark only the fifth time in Churchill Downs’ 148-year history that racing at the home of the Kentucky Derby will take place in August. In 1983-84, Churchill Downs hosted extended 93-day Spring Meets that ran from late April through Labor Day. The famed track also hosted Fall Meets in 1895 and 1922 that began on Aug. 24 and Aug. 30, respectively. (Editor’s note: the Churchill Downs communications team inadvertently left out the 1895 and 1922 meets in Tuesday’s Arlington Million advance).
Saturday’s unique 11-race program will be co-headlined by the $500,000 Beverly D. (GI) for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on turf. The Beverly D. is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In Filly & Mare Turf Division” race. The card will also include the $200,000 Fort Larned Stakes and the $200,000 Lady Tak Stakes.
Fans can still purchase tickets for Arlington Million Day. For ticket options and more information, visit www.churchilldowns.com.
Wagering is available for the Arlington Million and every race from Churchill Downs on www.TwinSpires.com, the official wagering provider of Churchill Downs Inc. and the Kentucky Derby.
PRINCESS GRACE COULD CAP BIG WEEK FOR DAM MASQUERADE IN BEVERLY D. – It’s already been a successful week for owners Susan and John Moore as their homebred 3-year-old colt Catnip broke his maiden impressively Tuesday at Colonial Downs. Now, the Moore family could complete a double Saturday with Catnip’s half-sister Princess Grace as one of the top choices in the $500,000 Beverly D. (Grade I) at Churchill Downs.
The Mike Stidham-trained Princess Grace, by Karakontie (JPN), is out of the Moore’s dam Masquerade. Stidham campaigned Masquerade for four of her six lifetime victories and jockey Florent Geroux, who will ride Princess Grace in the Beverly D., piloted the Silent Name (JPN) mare for two wins.
Princess Grace, a seven-time winner from 11 starts, won the last two runnings of the $200,000 Dr. James Penny Memorial Stakes (GIII) at Parx. Geroux was aboard Princess Grace for her win in the 1 1/16-mile turf event four weeks ago.
“You can tell she’s really matured over the winter and the Stidhams have done a good job getting her back to the races,” Geroux said after her three-length win. “She gets very comfortable on the front end when she’s able to make the lead but she’s pretty versatile and can come from off the pace, too.”
Geroux has been in the saddle for three of Princess Grace’s victories. He previously rode the 5-year-old mare to a win in last year’s $750,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf (GIII) and the $200,000 Mrs. Revere (GII) at Churchill Downs in 2020.
The 36-year-old Geroux is no stranger to success in the Beverly D. The French-born rider won the 2015 edition aboard the Chad Brown-trained and Martin Schwartz-owned Sea Calisi (FR).
The one trend in the Beverly D. that Princess Grace does not have on her side is that she was bred in Kentucky. In 19 of the last 20 runnings of the Beverly D. the winner was bred internationally: Ireland (6), France (5), Great Britain (4), Germany (2), Chile (1) and South Africa (1). The internationally-bred horses in this year’s Beverly D. are Dalika (GER), Lily Pond (IRE) and Rougir (FR).
The 1 1/8-mile Beverly D. will go as Race 5 of 11 on the Arlington Million Day program at 3:01 p.m. (all times Eastern). First post is 12:45 p.m. with the $1 million Arlington Million slated as the finale at 6:25 p.m.
The Beverly D. is part of the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” series. The winning horse will get an automatic berth into the $2 million Filly & Mare Turf (GI), which will be held Nov. 5 at Keeneland Race Course.
Here is the complete field for the Beverly D. from the rail out (with jockey and trainer): Dalika (GER) (Brian Hernandez Jr., Al Stall Jr., 8-1); Family Way (Tyler Gaffalione, Brendan Walsh, 3-1); Princess Grace (Geroux, Stidham, 3-1); Rougir (FR) (Manny Franco, Chad Brown, 2-1); and Lily Pond (IRE) (John Velazquez, Aidan O’Brien, 5-2).
The Beverly D. will be run in Lane 3 on the Matt Winn Turf Course, 24 feet from the inside rail.
SCONSIN EVEN-MONEY FAVORITE IN $200,000 LADY TAK, KING FURY 2-1 CHOICE IN $200,000 FORT LARNED – Morning line oddsmaker Mike Battaglia has tabbed multiple graded stakes-winning mare Sconsin as the even-money favorite in Saturday’s $200,000 Lady Tak Stakes and Grade III winner King Fury as the 2-1 choice in the $200,000 Fort Larned Stakes.
The first running of the $200,000 Lady Tak will go as Race 7 with a post time of 4:09 p.m. (all times Eastern) while the Fort Larned will go to post at 5:51 p.m. in Race 10.
Here’s the field for the Lady Tak from the rail out (with jockey, trainer and morning line odds): Bell’s the One (Corey Lanerie, Neil Pessin, 7-5); Sconsin (Tyler Gaffalione, Greg Foley, 1-1); Joyful Cadence (Rey Gutierrez, John Ortiz, 5-1); Lovemesomeme (Brian Hernandez Jr., Tommy Drury, 6-1); and Music City Star (Jose Lopez, Chris Davis, 20-1).
Here’s the field for the Fort Larned from the rail out (with jockey, trainer and morning line odds): Artemus Eagle (Erica Herrforth, Waylon Cundiff, 30-1); King Fury (Julien Leparoux, Kenny McPeek, 2-1); Mr. Wireless (Deshawn Parker, Bret Calhoun, 3-1); Treasure Trove (Rafael Bejarano, Lynn Cash, 15-1); Twilight Blue (Brian Hernandez Jr., Joe Sharp, 5-2); Intrepid Heart (Tyler Gaffalione, Joe Sharp, 7-2); and Keystone Field (Manny Franco, Mike Maker, 15-1).
Wagering is available on www.TwinSpires.com, the official wagering provider of Churchill Downs Inc. and the Kentucky Derby.
SATURDAY’S RACES TO BE TELEVISED ON FOX SPORTS’ SARATOGA LIVE – All races from Saturday’s special Arlington Million Day card at Churchill Downs will be televised live as part of NYRA and FOX Sports’ Saratoga Live programming on FS1 from 12:30-3 p.m., FS2 from 3-6 p.m. and FS1 from 6-7 p.m. Paul Lo Duca will serve as the onsite reporter and analyst.
CHURCHILL DOWNS LIVE AVAILABLE ON SMART TVs – The Churchill Downs LIVE app is available free of charge on streaming services such as Amazon, Apple TV and Roku. Fans can download the Churchill Downs LIVE app for full access to a free HD live stream of the Churchill Downs simulcast signal and three additional angles including the saddling paddock.
Saturday’s Arlington Million broadcast will feature veteran host and former Arlington Park mainstay Joe Kristufek along with chief analyst Scott Shapiro and TwinSpires.com reporter James Scully.
Wagering is available on www.TwinSpires.com, the official ADW of Churchill Downs Inc. and the Kentucky Derby.
ARLINGTON MILLION DAY ON-TRACK EVENTS – On-track special events for Saturday’s Arlington Million Day card at Churchill Downs include a one-day, live money handicapping contest that will award horseplayers prize money and coveted berths to the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge; between-race musical performances from the Kentucky Derby Winner’s Circle presentation stand by Louisville’s renowned rhythm and blues and jazz artist Robbie Bartlett; and special Chicago-inspired concessions, including Chicago Dog, Italian Beef Sandwich, Polish Sausage and Shaved Italian Ice. There also will be a special “Chicago Handshake” alcohol beverage available at the I’ll Have Another and Behave Yourself bars on the second floor of the clubhouse.
For more information, go to www.churchilldowns.com/calendar/2022-08-13.
Tickets for general admission and first floor seating are $14. Reserved seating starts at $17 and reserved dining starts at $82. To purchase tickets, visit www.churchilldowns.com/tickets.
DOWN THE STRETCH – Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike returned to Churchill Downs late Tuesday night and had a five-furlong move in :59.40 early Wednesday morning. The 80-1 upset winner of the $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (GI) started two lengths behind stablemate Common Bond (five furlongs 1:00.80) and finished five lengths in front. Rich Strike recorded eighth-mile fractions of :23.60 and :35 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.40, according to Churchill Downs clocker John Nichols. Rich Strike is scheduled to run in $1.25 million Travers Stakes (GI) at Saratoga on Aug. 27. … Saturday’s National Weather Service forecast in Louisville calls for sunny skies with a high of 82 degrees. … Trainer Rusty Arnold II is two wins away from 400 career victories at Churchill Downs. The veteran horseman entered three horses Saturday: Baby Got Backspin (Race 1), Dre Me Less (Race 4) and Cellist (Race 11). Arnold ranks No. 10 in all-time wins at Churchill Downs with 398. Nine trainers have 400 or more wins at Churchill Downs: Steve Asmussen (846), Dale Romans (778), Bill Mott (754), D. Wayne Lukas (550), Tom Amoss (531), Kenny McPeek (514), Bernie Flint (500), Mike Maker (480) and Greg Foley (453).