ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. — Irish-bred Mondialiste thrives in the United States.
The 6-year-old won the Grade 1 Arlington Million on Saturday, earning a berth into the Breeders’ Cup when jockey Daniel Tudhope guided the bay horse through a three-wide finish to edge Kasaqui by a neck.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better run really,” Tudhope said. “It was perfect.”
Mondialiste, who went off as the 4-1 third choice, broke from the outside in the 1 1/4-mile turf race outside Chicago. He won the Woodbine Mile last year and finished second in the Breeders’ Mile.
Now the David O’Meara-trained miler has a spot in the Breeders’ Turf.
“We stepped him up to a mile and a quarter at York (in England) and he ran a really good race,” O’Meara said. “Once we saw that he handled the trip OK, we had this race in the back of our mind. We thought we’d bring him over because he performed so well this side of the water last year.”
The son of Galileo paid $10.80, $6.40 and $4.80. Kasaqui of Argentina returned $13.20 and $9.40 and Irish-bred Deauville paid $7.00 to show despite a poor outside draw.
“My horse had a pretty good run,” Deauville jockey Seamie Heffernan said. “He was the only 3-year-old in the race. In a lovely position, got around the two into the straight and two other horses just came and got me.”
O’Meara said they planned to send Mondialiste to Santa Anita for the Breeders’ Cup on Nov. 4-5.
“I don’t see any reasons not to come back again,” he said.
Take the Stand set the pace and still led into the final turn before fading.
Florent Geroux rode World Approval to seventh. French jockey was attempting to sweep the day after winning the three earlier graded stakes races.
Illinois-bred The Pizza Man finished sixth after winning last year.
Riders faced a headwind on the stretch run in the 11-horse race on the firm grass track. Decorated Knight scratched in the morning and Dubai Sky was ordered scratched by stewards when he refused to be reshod after losing a shoe.
The three other grades stakes races belonged to Geroux and his morning-line favorites.
The Chicago resident rode France’s Sea Calisi to a big kick on the stretch run to take the $700,000 Beverly D. for fillies, the 4-year-old’s first Grade 1 victory. Al’s Gal finished 1 1/2 lengths back in the 1 3/16-mile race.
Geroux guided Beach Patrol, like Sea Calisi trained by Chad Brown, past Long Island Sound in a stretch duel in the $450,000 Grade 1 Secretariat for 3-year-olds. The Kentucky colt took the 1 1/4-mile race by a head for his third win of 2016 and his first career graded stakes win.
Geroux rode Da Big Hoss to the lead just past the quarter pole to take the $300,000 Grade 3 American St. Leger, Arlington’s longest race at 1 11/16 miles.
The Kentucky-bred thoroughbred pulled away in the final furlong to win by 1 3/4 lengths over Ireland’s Clondaw Warrior. It was the 5-year-old’s sixth straight win in staked races of more than 1 1/4 miles.
Geroux, who turned 30 last month, couldn’t complete the sweep and take the Million for the second straight year after riding The Pizza Man in 2015.
“I was right there into the first turn,” Geroux said. “When they picked it up, he just spit the bit and couldn’t keep up.”