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We’re Off To See The Tin Man

While it’s a shame we won’t be seeing Better Talk Now this weekend in the Sword Dancer (which, really, should make it a walkover for English Channel if he’s in good form), we do have an exciting Arlington Million to look forward to. It’s hard not to root for The Tin Man (and I’m not even going to try not to) but there is plenty of buzz around After Market as well. On something of a down note, there’s an article in the Chicago Sun-Times lamenting that the Arlington Million is not quite as much of a draw as it once was:

Added British racing writer Paul Haigh in The Guardian: ”This weekend, we have an American reminder of how the status of races change. When the Arlington Million was first run … the concept of a $1M race dropped jaws. Now the calendar is full of races worth far more, many of them in countries whose racing we took no notice of … back in the days when the Million provided the model for the Breeders’ Cup.”

In 2000, when the downward drift of the Million became powerfully evident, management upped the purse to $2 million. The one-year experiment resulted in a seven-horse starting field — still the lowest in race history — and endless outcries from local horsemen about the diminishment of their daily purse account. The pot has held at $1 million ever since, a sum now roughly equal to $665,000 in 1981 dollars.

Yet, as Richard Mandella said after his The Tin Man wired nine challengers last August to win Million XXIV: ”There’s not a trainer on the planet who wouldn’t relish winning any one of the three Arlington classics. The lure remains enormous.”

I would argue that if The Tin Man can pull it off again (at age nine, just like John Henry did), that would be a story to add some luster back to the race. And hey, Chicagoist picked up that it’s happening!

The Secretariat Stakes has a well-named headliner in Red Giant, but there’s always the possibility that Love Dubai could get it together (and at a great price) and pull an upset.

Speaking of walkovers, there’s a lot of talk that the Beverly D. will be one for Citronnade (who is rightly feared), but I still have my money on Honey Ryder. She might not be back at her best right now, but I think she can certainly get back there.

In some sad news, Hennessy has died in Argentina, where he was shuttling. Feel free to discuss the possibility of how breeding to hundreds of mares in two hemispheres every year could potentially bring about an early heart attack…

Finally, don’t forget to tune in to the ABC broadcast — there will be another installment of Dr. Dean Richardson’s horse health segments, as well as the public service announcement he filmed a while back (although it’s not clear where exactly in the broadcast that will air). Set your TiVos — and come on, The Tin Man! I’m off to see Crowded House in the meantime…

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