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Treasure Beach Headlines Secretariat Stakes


Attention turns to Arlington Park this weekend as its famous turf course plays host to the 2011 Arlington Million – one of the most popular Grade 1 races on the American calendar. Many foreign shippers use this weekend, and it's outsized purses, as the initial preps with an eye on the two-day Breeders' Cup which unfolds in Louisville, Kentucky this year.

On the under card for the Arlington Million is the ever-popular Secretariat Stakes which is run at a classic distance of 1m2f and is reserved for three-year-olds. Irish Derby winner Treasure Beach is going into this race as the biggest name and he is taking on an interesting band of local contenders. Some of whom, like Banned and Suntracer had skipped the Triple Crown season and are making their presences felt now.


Banned is expected to put up most of the resistance to the high-profile foreign contenders, which also includes L'Aiglon and Ziyarid, the latter of whom runs in the prestigious Aga Khan's colours.

Bill Mott saddles his quirky three-year-old Newsdad for this one as he makes another step back up to Grade 1 level after finishing fourth in the Bluegrass Stakes at Keeneland shortly before the Kentucky Derby. He's been looking like a there-or-thereabouts type and may be set to progress with this extended trip on the grass and an Arlington Debut.

Local contender Willcox Inn should take a substantial amount of support as he has really taken to the turf at Arlington – notably defeating Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom in a maiden special weight contest there last September. He has taken an overnight stakes back in May and then follow it up with a Grade 2 win in the American Derby, with Suntracer finishing second both times.

It remains to be seen whether Willcox Inn can handle a seasoned Irish runner on the grass but the local support will definitely be there to back their favourite.  

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