Silver Max will be the favorite this Saturday when he goes for his sixth straight Stakes win—and seventh overall—at the 37th running of the Secretariat Stakes from Arlington Park.
Silver Max is trained by Dale Romans, who also trains Cozzetti and Finnegan's Wake; this gives him a trio of contenders with which to win the race.
The son of Badge of Silver is also unbeaten in seven starts on turf this year, and his only loss came at the Holy Bull (G3) where he was topped by both Algorithms and Hansen.
His seven wins have all been gate-to-wire jobs. Here he will be trying to press the pace early, and if anyone is to stand a chance, someone must press him early or else it will be Silver Max all the way.
He's had decent workouts for the race with his most recent being 1:00.40 for 5F last Saturday. Robbie Albarado will retain the mount on Saturday.
Summer Front is his main rival on the race. He was undefeated as a juvenile for trainer Christophe Clement and had an impressive victory in the Dania Beach Stakes on the Gulfstream Park turf.
He was given a four-month layoff and returned to racing on April and finished second at the Coolmore Lexington Stakes. He then tried dirt at Belmont for the Peter Pan but finished in a disappointing eighth place to Mark Valeski.
Clement returned Summer Front to turf for his last two races—both wins—and remains unbeaten on grass. He is clearly peaking and may be at his best on Saturday; his last workout on August 8 was a blazing 58.4 for 5F over a firm Saratoga turf.
The nation's leading jockey, Ramon Dominguez, will be aboard again.
The European invader Bayrir (FR) has his last two—three-of-four lifetime—including a G2 stakes in France at Saturday's 10 furlong distance. He will try to make it two in-a-row for the Euros at this race with jockey Christophe Lemaire keeping the mount.
Finnegans Wake squeezed in a win at an allowance race between losses to Silver Max. He is a deep closer that will benefit from the 10 furlong distance but needs some pace help with Silver Max up front, or he will fail again to get to the wire on time to beat him.
Handsome Mike needs to step up to be a contender here. His only chance here is for his jockey, Mario Gutierrez, to take advantage of his inside post position and try to wire the field. But with Silver Max here, his chances at doing so are slim-to-none.
Daddy Long Legs has been disappointing on both starts on the USA, but both, including the Kentucky Derby, have been on dirt. He is a much better turf runner, but he likes to go to the lead or at least be very near to it.
Like many others that show some speed up front here, he will have to deal with Silver Max, and the best chance for him is to stalk the pace and try to press midway to test where he stands. Better said than done, at least Colm O'Donoghue, who knows him perfectly, will be aboard again.
Cozzetti has been promising thus far. He is a talented horse that came from winning the G3 American Derby, but he has never threatened any of the top horses he's faced so far—he lost to Silver Max by almost seven lengths.
All Stormy completes the field. He finished a close second to Cozzetti in the G3 American Derby after almost wiring the field, but he needs to improve a lot to win here. He got very tired after chasing Silver Max at the Arlington Classic three races back.
Silver Max is the favorite and the horse to beat, but this will be the end of his streak. He will set the pace just as he has done on all his past seven wins, but this is a race where he will be pressed from the midway point on.
Every jockey knows it has to go that way or else he or she would be racing for second place. Expect Handsome Mike from the inside to try and go to the lead with Silver Max or follow him very close on Saturday, with Daddy Long Legs and All Stormy near.
Given that there will be unwanted pressure up front for Silver Max, the race should go to one of the closers.
Bayrir (FR), who has won at this distance and longer, and Finnegans Wake, who came close to catching Silver Max on his last, should be the two hitting the wire first.
Summer Front is called to challenge Silver Max and has a tremendous final kick, but you have to wonder if he can make the 10 furlong distance or if he is just a great miler.
Win - Bayrir (FR)
Place - Finnegans Wake
Show - Silver Max
The Secretariat Stakes will be the eighth race of Saturday's 12-race card, and the first of three Grade I stakes races as part of the Arlington International Festival of Racing.
8th Race | Secretariat Stakes | Grade One | Purse: $500,000 | Distance: 10 furlongs
Arlington Park - Turf | Post Time: 3:48 p.m. CT
|1||Handsome Mike||3/C||Mario Gutierrez||Doug F. O'Neill||119||15-1|
|2||Summer Front|| |
|Ramon A. Dominguez||Christophe Clement||123||5-2|
|3||Cozzetti||3/C||Shaun X. Bridgmohan||Dale L. Romans||123||10-1|
|4||Finnegans Wake||3/C||Jose Lezcano||Dale L. Romans||119||6-1|
|5||All Stormy||3/C||Rosemary B. Homeister||Greg Geier||119||20-1|
|6||Daddy Long Legs||3/C||Colm O'Donoghue||Aidan P. O'Brien||123||6-1|
|7||Bayrir||3/C||Christophe P. Lemaire||Alain De Royer-Dupre||121||6-1|
|8||Silver Max||3/C||Robbie J. Albarado||Dale L. Romans||126||9-5|
Morning Line odds by drf.com.