It will be Million Preview Day on Saturday at Arlington Park, and for those who like to plan ahead for the big day, here's a little preview of the Preview's Big 3 races.
American Derby: Workin for Hops, winner of the $150,000 Arlington Classic, the first leg of the Mid-America Triple, returns to town in pursuit of that series' second leg, the Grade II $200,000 American Derby, a prep for the Secretariat Stakes on Million Day.
Workin For Hops would become only the fourth horse to sweep the Triple if he can take the American Derby and next month's Secretariat. The Mike Stidham-trained gelding will reunite with his Arlington Classic-winning rider Robby Albarado.
Gleam of Hope and Asphalt invade from Kentucky where they were the 1-3 finishers in the Grade III Jefferson Cup on June 12. E.T. Baird rides Gleam of Hope for trainer Tony Reinstedler, while Julien Leparoux has the mount aboard the Eddie Kenneally-trained Asphalt.
Arlington Handicap: General Quarters, winner of the Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs in May, faces 10 rivals, including Just as Well in the Grade III $150,000 Arlington Handicap, a prep for the Arlington Million.
As a 3-year-old last year, General Quarters he won Tampa's Grade III Sam F. Davis Stakes and Keeneland's Grade I Blue Grass on the road to the 2009 Triple Crown but was compromised by a rough trip in the Kentucky Derby and subsequently injured in the Preakness.
General Quarters will carry co-highweight of 122 pounds, including Rafael Bejarano.
Also in at 122 pounds is Marsh Side, winner of the Grade I Northern Dancer Stakes at Woodbine last year. The 7-year-old, trained by Hall of Fame conditioner Neil Drysdale, will be ridden by Robby Albarado.
Defending champion Just as Well returns to Arlington in search of his first win since last year's Arlington Handicap. Just as Well (119 pounds) will be ridden by Julien Leparoux.
Modesty Handicap: Grade I stakes winner Tuscan Evening, 5-for-5 in 2010, will put her undefeated season on the line as she accepts highweight of 124 pounds in the $150,000 Grade III Modesty, the prep race for the Beverly D. Stakes.
The California-based 5-year-old, trained by Jerry Holendorfer, won the Grade I Gamely at Hollywood Park. Regular rider Rafael Bejarano will have the mount.
Two other Grade/Group I winners are slated to go postward in the Modesty - Rainbow View and Hot Cha Cha. Rainbow View, trained by Jonathan Sheppard, is assigned second highweight of 122 pounds and will be ridden by Julien Leparoux.
The Philip Sims-trained Hot Cha Cha will carry 121 pounds and partner again with her regular jockey James Graham.
Jockeys honored: Two current jockeys and one recently retired jockey will all be honored during special ceremonies today.
Carlos Silva, who retired in April, heads the list after picking up win No. 3,500 last August for conditioner Richard Hazelton, Arlington's all-time leading trainer, who also has since retired.
Also to be honored are Chris Emigh, who recorded victory No. 3,000, and E.T. Baird, who earned No. 2,000 last summer at Arlington.