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Gio Ponti early favorite in Arlington Million repeat
8 local riders in this weekend's Festival races
By Mike Spellman | Daily Herald Staff

Gio Ponti with jockey Ramon Dominquez crosses the finish line and wins the 27th Arlington Million at Arlington Park on Aug. 8, 2009. Gio Ponti will be seeking to become a repeat winner in Saturday's 28th Arlington Million.


George LeClaire | Staff Photographer, 2009

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Published: 8/17/2010 3:16 PM

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Early lines for Festival of Racing

28th Arlington Million
Post Horse Jockey Odds
1 Marsh Side Corey Nakatani 12-1
2 Debussy William Buick 12-1
3 General Quarters James Graham 8-1
4 Just As Well Julien Leparoux 5-1
5 Quite A Handful Tanner Riggs 10-1
6 Gio Ponte Ramon Dominguez 7-5
7 Rahystrada Inez Karlsson 10-1
8 Tajaaweed Michael Baze 15-1
9 Tazeez Richard Hills 6-1
10 Summit Surge Kieren Fallon 10-1
21st Beverly D
Post Horse Jockey Odds
1 Pachattack Kieren Fallon 8-1
2 Hot Cha Cha James Graham 6-1
3 Acoma Jesus Castanon 8-1
4 Gypsy's Warning William Buick 10-1
5 Rainbow View Julien Leparoux 4-1
6 Eclair de Lune Junior Alvarado 5-1
7 Biased Gregory Benoist 20-1
8 Romacaca Michael Baze 20-1
9 Treat Gently Kent Desormeaux 9-2
10 Ave Ramon Dominguez 5-1
34th Secretariat Stakes
Post Horse Jockey Odds
1 Paddy O'Prado Kent Desormeaux 1-1
2 Mister Mardi Gras Eddie Perez 20-1
3 Cherokee Lord Julio Felix 30-1
4 Wigmore Hall Jamie Spencer 5-1
5 Dean's Kitten Julien Leparoux 8-1
6 Two Notch Road Michael Baze 12-1
7 Workin For Hops Francisco Torres 5-2

There will be a lot of familiar faces on hand - er, on horse - for this weekend's Festival of Racing at Arlington Park with locally based jockeys expected to make their presence felt more than in any Festival Day.

Although much of the attention will be focused on the repeat bid by heavily favored Gio Ponti in the Arlington Million, eight Arlington-based jockeys have 11 mounts in the Festival.

Leading the local charge is Michael Baze, who is currently second in the jockey standings at Arlington. Baze, who came to Arlington this summer after riding predominantly in Southern California, has a mount in all three Grade I races carded for Saturday.

Baze will ride Tajaaweed (15-1) in the Arlington Million, Romacaca (20-1) in the Beverly D and Two Notch Road (12-1) in the Secretariat Stakes.

James Graham, currently third in the standings, rides General Quarters (8-1) in the Million and Hot Cha Cha (6-1) in the Beverly D. Also riding in the Million are Tanner Riggs aboard Quite a Handful (30-1) and Inez Karlsson on Rahystrada (10-1). Karlsson is looking to become the first female jockey to win the Million.

Leading rider Junior Alvarado rides 5-1 Eclair De Lune in the wide-open Beverly D. Also in that race is Jesus Castanon aboard Acoma (8-1).

Eddie Perez will ride Mister Mardi Gras (10-1) and Julio Felix will be aboard Cherokee Lord (30-1) in the Secretariat Stakes.

Also returning to Arlington on Saturday is Gio Ponti, the defending Million champion. If the morning-line odds are any indication, Gio Ponti (7-5), trained by Christophe Clement and ridden by Ramon Dominguez, just might be making a return trip to the winner's circle, where he would join John Henry as a two-time winner of the race. Ten horses are entered in this year's running of the Million.

Gio Ponti is coming off a neck tally in Belmont's Grade I Man o' War Stakes in his last start July 10. Before that he had missed by a half-length when runner-up in Belmont's Grade I Manhattan Handicap June 5 on Belmont Stakes Day.

Rainbow View, who looks to rebound from an uncharacteristic fourth-place finish in the Grade III Modesty Handicap at Arlington last month, has been pegged as the tepid 4-1 morning line favorite in a wide-open field of 10 fillies and mares in the Beverly D.

Even-money favorite Paddy O'Prado comes into the Secretariat off back-to-back turf tallies, taking the Grade II Colonial Turf Cup at a mile and three-sixteenths by three lengths at Colonial Downs on June 19 and returning there four weeks later to annex the Grade II Virginia Derby by 11/2 lengths at the mile and a quarter distance of the Secretariat.

Never worse than third in six starts on turf, the Dale Romans trainee has drawn the rail in the seven-horse field and he will once again team with Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux.

Lineup changes: A fractured left collarbone suffered during a training accident at Saratoga on Sunday means retired jockey Gary Stevens is a late scratch for the "Cagey Veterans vs. Young Guns" race Friday at Arlington Park.

Among some of the possible replacements for Stevens are Zoe Cadman and recently-retired jockey Carlos Silva.