Daily Herald
Some winning answers to Million questions
By John Leusch | Daily Herald Staff
Published: 8/7/2009 9:22 PM

Today's International Festival of Racing at Arlington Park brings outs one of the largest crowds every year for an Illinois horse racing event.

With that in mind, we'll bring out some questions about this year's Million Day and the 27th running of the Arlington Million.

Q. Can the hometown colt with the longest morning-line odds for the Arlington Million pull the upset?

A. "That's the question," said trainer Louis Roussel III of 20-1 Recapturetheglory. winner of the 2008 Illinois Derby 16 months ago.

"What really compromises us is that Presious Passion (another front-runner) is in the race. Instead of being the controlling speed, we have to chase the speed."

Q. Who has home-course advantage for the Million?

A. "We are the home team," said trainer Louis Roussel, who saddles Recapturetheglory. "We don't have to ship in, we come right out of Barn 1. We don't have to fly anywhere. We don't have to van for 10-15 hours. We are here."

Q. Can the foreign invasion do it again?

A. One year after the only three international challengers ran 1-2-3 (Spirit One, Archipenko and Mount Nelson) in the Arlington Million, there are three more hoping to land the top prize today.

According to the morning line, the top runner among the visiting trio is French bred Cima de Triomphe at odds of 9-2, followed by Brazilian-bred Gloria de Campeao (5-1) and English-bred Stotsfold (12-1).

Q. Where can I watch?

A. If you're not coming to the track - and you really should to soak up the atmosphere - the Arlington Million and Beverly D will be telecast live on ESPN from 3:30-5 p.m.

The Million is slated for a 4:42 post, while the Beverly D is scheduled for a 3:52 start. The Secretariat Stakes, which will not be televised live, should get off at 3:05 p.m.

Q. What national television media is on hand?

A. ESPN, TVG and HRTV all have cameras today at Arlington Park.

One familiar face on the HRTV set is Caton Metzler Bredar, a 1983 Barrington High School graduate, the only on-air talent who has worked at ESPN, TVG and HRTV.

"Most of us from all three (ESPN, TVG and HRTV) have worked together and all know each other and we all love racing," Bredar said.

"So it's great. It just means more exposure for racing with all of us being here. So it's a win-win situation for all."

Q. Were any horses in today's big races affected by the major flooding in the Louisville area this week?

A. Einstein and trainer Helen Pitts-Blasi emerged unscathed from the torrential downpour that pelted the Louisville area Tuesday morning, causing massive flooding.

"It was a mess there," said Pitts-Blasi of Churchill Downs, "but my barn was OK."

Q. How do European trainers perceive Arlington Park?

A. Internationally renowned trainer Dermot Weld, in town to saddle Mad About You in today's Beverly D, handed out a big endorsement to Arlington Park this week.

"Arlington has one of the best turf courses in the world," Weld said. "I love to run my horses here."

Q. Who will call the field to the post for the Arlington Million?

A. Second-year bugler Jean Laurenz will be on her own for this year's call. The 22-year-old Arlington Heights native, who graduated from Prospect High School, shared the duties last summer with Bonnie Brown, Arlington's first female bugler.

Brown left her post in the middle of the last racing season but returned for the Million.

Q. Where can I get some last-minute tips for today's racing?

A. There are plenty of racing forms and program guides to purchase at the track, but Joe Kristufek, the Daily Herald's handicapper, will be explaining the art of handicapping and answering questions at 11:15 a.m. at the Starting Gate Theatre. The session should run one hour.