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Brown Dominance Continues as Robert Bruce Anchors 1-2 Finish in Million

11th at Arl, $1,000,000GI Arlington Million S. (1 1/4m)Winner: Robert Bruce (Chi), c, 4 by Fast Company (Ire)

Robert Bruce | Coady

By Alan Carasso

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Illinois–A year after saddling Dacita (Chi) and Beach Patrol (Lemon Drop Kid) to victory in the GI Beverly D. S. and GI Arlington Million, respectively, trainer Chad Brown was up to his old tricks Saturday and closed the afternoon with a second consecutive victory in Chicago’s premier horse race, courtesy of Robert Bruce (Chi) (Fast Company {Ire}).

Sent off the 13-5 second favorite behind 2017 GI Secretariat S. victor Oscar Performance (Kitten’s Joy), the dark bay came with a stinging stretch rally to easily decision stablemate Almanaar (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}), while pacesetting Century Dream (Ire) (Cape Cross {Ire}) was controversially disqualified from third to fourth and placed behind Catcho En Die (Arg) (Catcher In the Rye {Ire}). Oscar Performance (Kitten’s Joy) was pulled up about 50 yards from the wire, but did not appear in acute distress and walked onto the horse ambulance on his own steam.

Century Dream hit the ground running and set a sensible pace beneath Million-winning jockey William Buick tracked out wide by Oscar Performance and the Brown-trained Money Multiplier (Lookin At Lucky). Robert Bruce, joint favorite with Oscar Performance for most of the wagering before easing out past 5-2, lingered towards the rear of the field and in the clear, with two-time Million third Deauville (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) the back marker. After getting the opening couple of furlongs in :23.66, Buick really backed down the pace and covered the next internal half-mile in :49.30, enhancing the colt’s chances as much as the recent rains. Still last but one into the final half-mile, Robert Bruce was still ridden quietly by Irad Ortiz, Jr., but time was ticking away and Century Dream did not appear to be stopping up front. The latter was tackled first by Almanaar shortly after entering the final furlong, but by that time, Ortiz Jr. had Robert Bruce in full flight, and while traffic trouble in the stretch of the GI Woodford Reserve Manhattan S. proved his undoing last time, there were no such issues here and he raced away to a convincing score, earning a berth in the GI Breeders’ Cup Turf. However, he would need to be supplemented to the Breeders’ Cup.

“The jockey was fantastic. When he entered the straight and he was in last place, I said, ‘Oh, maybe he’s too far back.’ But, this horse has a change of speed that is incredible,” said winning owner Carlos Lavin of the first Southern Hemisphere-bred winner of the Million.

He continued, “This is unexpected. To breed a horse in Chile and come all the way to Chicago to win this great prize is really wonderful. I’m very glad to be in Chicago, nice city and nice people.”

Robert Bruce was untested in a six-race unbeaten streak in his native land, including the G1 Polla de Potrillos a year and five days ago. He validated 8-5 favoritism to best Spring Quality (Quality Road) in the GIII Fort Marcy S. on his stateside debut at Belmont May 5, but stalled out a bit in and amongst a cluster of horses in the Manhattan, and flew home to be sixth, beaten a length, behind Spring Quality.

Oscar Performance Vanned Off…

Oscar Performance, making his second start of the season, was pulled up in the final 50 yards of the Million and was quickly unsaddled by Jose Ortiz. The 4-year-old walked onto the Polytrack and onto the horse ambulance with trainer Brian Lynch on the shank in no apparent discomfort.

“He seemed to be cooling out fine,” reported Headley Bell of Mill Ridge Farm, where Oscar Performance will enter stud next year. “The first signs are that he’s OK, he walked onto the van sound and we’re encouraged by what Jose had to say. He said the horse took a few bad steps and he decided to pull him out to be safe. We’ll know more in the morning, but it certainly looks like it could have been worse.”

Pedigree Notes:

Robert Bruce is one of two top-level winners for his sire, whose daughter Jet Setting (Ire) was the upset winner of the 2016 G1 Irish 1000 Guineas before selling for £1.3 million at the 2016 Goffs London Sale. The winner hails from the same family as Chilean MG1SP Mister Fluff (Chi) (Fast Company {Ire}) and has a newly turned 2-year-old half-brother named Deng Bobby (Chi) (Shanghai Bobby).

Saturday, Arlington Park
ARLINGTON MILLION XXXVI S.-GI, $1,000,000, Arlington, 8-11, 3yo/up, 1 1/4mT, 2:02.29, fm.
1–ROBERT BRUCE (CHI), 122, c, 4, by Fast Company (Ire)
1st Dam: Lady Pelusa (Arg) (G1SW-Chi), by Orpen
2nd Dam: Lady Roy (Arg), by Roy
3rd Dam: Lady Regent (Arg), by Vice Regent
O-Convento Viejo LLC; B-Haras Convento Viejo (CHI); T-Chad C. Brown; J-Irad Ortiz, Jr. $582,000. Lifetime Record: Ch. 2yo-Chi, MG1SW-Chi, 9-8-0-0, $942,457. Click for eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Werk Nick Rating: A.
2–Almanaar (GB), 126, g, 6, Dubawi (Ire)–Baqah (Ire), by
Bahhare. O-Shadwell Stable; B-Shadwell Estate Company Limited (GB); T-Chad C. Brown. $194,000. 3–Catcho En Die (Arg), 126, g, 6, Catcher In The Rye (Ire)–Lola Grill (Arg), by Engrillado (Arg). O-Chatterpaul, Naipaul and Sakatis, Sotirios; B-Livschitz, Jorge Eduardo (ARG); T-Naipaul Chatterpaul. $97,000. Margins: HF, 2, NK. Odds: 2.60, 3.90, 36.60.
Also Ran: Century Dream (Ire), Money Multiplier, Deauville (Ire), Twenty Four Seven, Circus Couture (Ire), Oscar Performance. Scratched: Divisidero, Spring Quality.
Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree.

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