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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, August 11, 2023 — Turf racing is the order of the day. Saratoga offers the Grade 1 Fourstardave, but of greater import is the Arlington Million troika that includes the fabled Grade 1, along with the G1 Beverly D for distaffers and the always significant G2 Secretariat for three-year-olds going a mile.

While the weather forecast is dicey for Saturday at the Spa, two days of sunshine should assure fair conditions for these transplanted graded features. We’re happy to see that the Million tradition continues–and at a venue whose turf courses are as special as those at Arlington Park back in the day.

The Secretariat begins the sequence with a scheduled post time of 5: 14 pm. With an eye toward the $1 Pick, we will mention all viable contenders in each of the three races and will wrap it up with the Spa’s one mile Grade 1. Horses listed in post order from the inside out:



Today appears to be the day where the table is set for Nagirroc (5-2) to finally break through for Graham Motion. Middle-moving into a strong, heating-up pace in the G3 Kelso, he did all the heavy lifetime but had to settle for third behind good-tripping breakthrough winner More Than Looks (5-1, also running here.

Nagirroc stayed gamely for third despite tiring and an inside draw with Prat can make for a pocket trip en route to victory. In addition to more than looks, Cherie DeVaux’s other entrant, Northern Invader (8-1) was an uber impressive maiden breaker at Belmont Park in June.

Stabled in Saratoga, he could have run in Friday’s rescheduled Hall of Fame but looks for bigger game here, a sure sign of confidence. Johnny V. riders her back. And we know that Major Dude (6-1) is far better than his last suggests.


Fev Rover (2-1) and Didia (3-1) are going to take a lot of beating in here. Fev Rover powered home on yielding ground to win a Canadian Grade 2 then got locked in a Chad Brown box in the G1 Diana, flying late after getting clearance but ran out of ground; superior figures on anyone’s scale. Didia win five straight then finished strongly late for place in a pace-less G1 New York.

Romagna Mia (4-1), especially, and the Chad pair of Gina Romantica (5-1) and Rocky Sky (6-1) are not without a chance. ‘Mia’ is a Group winner from Italy and ships here for the bi-continent Team Valor and attracts Johnny. Gina Romantica chased the pace throughout her four-year-old debut in the Eatontown, dueled through stretch but tired in final strides as if in need of the run.; should benefit. Rocky Sky is working bullets against type for Chad for her five-year-old debut; interesting.


Not the most compelling edition of this fabled Grade 1 as there are no standouts. But there are hard-hitting Grade 1 types, of course, but they generally have one style, they want to make the last run a winning one. It will be the trip and the headiest ride to decide this. Absolutely anyone could take this.

We’ve whittled it down a a reasonable five: Never Explain, (6-1), Atone (7-2), Master Piece (10-1), Catnip (8-1and Adhamo (10-1). And on second thought, we’re including the good Santin (8-1), if we get that on a return to his preferred surface; Tyler for Brendan Walsh,

Never Explain was used in a mid-race move going longer after placing gamely in his Grade 3 prior; the switch to patient turf ace Vincent Chaminaud might prove the difference. Atone had no excuse when fifth beaten a length last out but is a better horse if given a target.

Master Piece finished well late for place in his prep over a yielding ground with a good deal of cut to it. Makes second start for Dutrow–just like White Abarrio. Catnip finished strongly to win the Monmouth then moved prematurely in longer G1 United Nations. Mini turnback suits and has won beneath Brian Hernandez. Adhamo makes five-year-old debut for Chad and has trained aggressively for this, going against type; interesting with Prat back aboard.

this live column will be updated


By Dave Zenner, Godolphin’s Silver Knott arrived at Colonial Downs Thursday morning around 3 a.m. following a nine-hour van ride from Saratoga Race Course. The British-bred son of Lope de Vega is the 3-1 second choice in the morning line for Saturday’s Grade 2 $500,000 Secretariat Stakes which is being held in Virginia for the first time as part of the inaugural Colonial Downs Festival of Racing.

“We got in this morning from Saratoga after a fun nine-hour ride down,” said Chris Connett, assistant to Silver Knott’s trainer Charlie Appleby. “Charlie’s motto always is to try to get the best chance possible, to get down here nice and early and get him climatized to his surroundings. We’ll get to the track (Friday) morning and have a bit of a canter around and get a feel of it then go out and do it a little bit Saturday morning as well – and hopefully run a big race.”

Silver Knott has made three starts this year – the two most recent at Belmont Park, finishing third in the G2 Pennine Ridge in June and fifth in the G1 Belmont Derby the following month.

“I think the two races he’s run in the Pennine Ridge and the Belmont Derby, he’s in and around that (top) level so even though the class is down to a Grade 2 (in the Secretariat) there’s still going to be tough horses in there,” Connett said, “but we think from his work and off of that form, he should be a player. He was very close in the Breeders’ Cup (Juvenile Turf, finishing second beaten just a nose) last year and if we can bring that form back, we’ll be right in amongst it.

“There seems to be a bit of pace in the race and if we can break handily and just get a nice rhythm, I’m sure Jamie (jockey Spencer) will be able to do that and pick up the pieces from there. He’s a tough horse. And we’d like to think he’s up to winning at this kind of level.”


The connections of Secretariat Stakes morning line choice Nagirroc, Little Red Feather Racing, Madaket Stables and William Strauss, are looking for redemption after their charge was beaten as the 8-5 favorite in the G3 Manila Stakes at Belmont Park last month, finishing third in that one-mile turf test.

“Graham (trainer Motion) has been pointing to this race for a while,” said Billy Koch of Little Red Feather Racing.  “He’s coming into the race in great shape. We thought he was a little too keen last time out and they went pretty fast early on.   We expect a good race with a good stalking trip. Flavien (jockey Prat) is riding amazing right now.”


Beverly D. Stakes morning line favorite Merribelle Stable’s Didia, a Grade 1 winner in Argentina, was unable to duplicate that in her only United States start at that level, finishing a good second in the G1 New York Stakes in her last start.

“She is doing very well coming into this race and it has been a race we have been pointing to for the season,” said trainer Ignacio Correas, IV. “We know it isn’t always an easy task, but she is a G1 winner in her native Argentina and we are trying to get her one here in America, too.”

The Argentine-bred daughter of Orpen won her four previous U.S. starts including two over the Colonial Downs turf course last season as well as a score in the G3 Modesty Stakes at Churchill Downs in May.


Dual hall-of-fame trainer Mark Casse has a string at Colonial Downs for the first time ever but his biggest chance for glory at the Colonial Downs Festival of Racing comes from a horse shipping in from Saratoga who has made the bulk of her starts the last two years at Woodbine in Canada. That horse is the Irish-bred Tracy Farmer’s Fev Rover, the 2-1 morning line favorite in the Grade 1 $500,000 Beverly D. Stakes to be run here on Saturday over 1 3/16 miles on the turf.

She was an easy winner in the G2 Nassau Stakes at Woodbine in Canada on July 1 but in her most recent start two weeks later at Saratoga, the 5-year-old mare finished third in the G1 Diana, beaten only a half a length.

“Obviously her race at Woodbine was extremely good as was her race at Saratoga,” Casse said. “She drew inside (there) as she did again (here) which is a little disappointing. (In her last,) it was four against one. Chad (trainer Brown) had four in there. We had the one. We got stuck behind a slow pace. I thought Flavien (jockey Prat, aboard the victorious Whitebeam) did a great job of keeping us boxed in. When (Fev Rover) finally did get out, she came with a run and was probably finishing better than anybody at the end. I was proud of her. She ran a good race. She comes to play every time.”

Casse has two starters for the Million – Gary Barber and Kinsman Stable’s Strong Quality and Live Oak Plantation’s Win for the Money.

“I thought (Strong Quality) ran really well last time in the Manhattan,” Casse said. “He missed some time and probably wasn’t at his very best. He comes into this race on top of his game, so I expect a big effort from him.”

As far as Win for the Money Casse said: “We’re (already) there. Obviously, this is a big step up for him. But he’s a talented horse. Even though he got DQ’d that one time (in April at GP) he’s two-for-two (as far as first through the line) on the turf. I think he’ll run well. We’ll see how he fits in. It’s a tall task but he does have a bit of a home field advantage.”

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8 Responses

  1. Find an even field in this Arlington Million, and without looking at the ML odds, here are my picks : Strong Quality, Master Piece, Atone, Rock Emp. and the somewhat unfortunate Santin on top and exacta boxed . Santin, one of these days…

    1. Wide, wide open. Indeed, threw Santin in my mix at the last moment. A safe and seedy journey to all.

  2. Secretariat race: More Than Looks. After that last race I find it hard to go against. ****Dave: Casa Creed & Annapolis. Nobody else comes close to their # s .

    1. Raced yesterday in the Hall of Fame at Saratoga, lost. But Cherie De Vaux has recent maiden breaker Northern Invader in here. Won like a nice prospect. Favorite should win it…

  3. What a day x illogical stuff ! Went to a store with a $5 coupon and the people there could not handle the transaction. On the way home, I tried to get some fast food x my wife and the middle age woman gave me the wrong change, in my favor, and yes, she had a tag on, she was the ” area mgr” ! Now that I was ready for some 7-8 Saratoga races and having hit the early DDouble, as I’m eating they re switching, or supposed to, the main FOX station… where the Simpsons or Beavis& Butt Head cartoons are showing,,,, as the schedule says “Saturday At Saratoga from 3-6 pm”.. It’s 3:30 while the Fox sports channels are showing a replay of a ladies soccer game and a meaningless basketball game, respectively on Fox 1, and 2 .” Saratoga Saturday” my butt ! That’s worse than ordering dinner # 54 on a Chinese menu and getting something obscure , uninviting. What Is going on with this putrid way of running a simple television schedule? Three channels and they cannot show a ‘ scheduled’ Saratoga Saturday with several good races, in favor of cartoons and replays of games ?? I complained last week, and they had technical, -weather problems, but today? Is this anyway to run a sport schedule? Is this anyway that Saratoga should be treated,,,, on a big $$$ and traditional Saturday ?? Yep, SNAFU, nothing but SNAFU .

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