November 30, 2023

Arlington Million news round-up: 12 left after Scottish scratch; O’Brien hopes on track

Scottish, looking bright Wednesday, will miss the rest of the year and point to the 2018 Dubai Carnival (Photo courtesy Michael Adolphson via Twitter)

Thursday brought unwelcome news from the international contingent: Godolphin’s Scottish came out of his morning exercise lame, ruling him out of the Arlington Million (G1) and the remainder of the season.

Last year’s record-setting Strensall (G3) winner and Caulfield Cup (G1) runner-up, Scottish negotiated a half-mile over Arlington’s Polytrack in :51.80 prior to the injury surfacing.

“It’s a real blow,” trainer Charlie Appleby, still in Newmarket, said in a report on “He had been working really well since returning from Royal Ascot in June, and the trip to the States was very much a prelude to spending the Australian Spring in Melbourne.

“But that’s all off the agenda now. The good news is that long-term the prognosis is good. All going well, he should be right to race again early next year in Dubai.

“It is his near (left) fore, the same leg that caused him to miss the G1 Mackinnon at Flemington last November. He breezed at Arlington this morning and was found to be lame when he cooled down.”

For more background on Scottish, check out his international scouting report for the Million.

With the defection of Scottish, an 8-1 chance expected to be part of the pace scenario, a field of 12 remains for Million 35.

Deauville, the 7-2 morning-line favorite in light of his close third in the 2016 Million, was one of three Aidan O’Brien trainees out for their first feel of the track Thursday after clearing quarantine.

The Ballydoyle brigade, also comprising Beverly D. (G1) contender Rain Goddess and Secretariat (G1) hopeful Taj Mahal, were the final competitors to make an appearance. According to the Arlington notes, they felt the rising heat as the clock neared 11 a.m. (CDT) for their return to the quarantine barn.

Their morning itinerary featured a tour of the palatial Arlington paddock and reconnaissance of the winner’s circle. On track, they jogged the “wrong way” around as far as the chute, then spun around for a canter around the left-handed circuit.

Million contender Divisidero, listed at 5-1 on the morning line, remains at his Churchill Downs base until shipping out Friday. Trainer Buff Bradley issued an upbeat bulletin.

“He’s doing really well right now,” Bradley said. “I think the key with him is he needs a little better pace in front of him. There are four or five horses who can be up there and at least make (the pace) legit. Hopefully they’ll go a little faster for him, so he can run his race.

“Every year he comes back really good after time off. He’s a feel-good horse and the weather has also been good for him at Churchill and that’s helped him. I think he’ll run well and we think he’s very versatile as far as distances go. A lot of that depends, like always, on the pace, but he is ready to run, unlike the past couple years where things just weren’t right.”