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Image for Brian Zipse Brian Zipse - Updated October 14, 2022

Arlington Million: Set Piece Returns to the Churchill Downs Turf Where He Has Won 4-Of-5 in His Career

Arlington Million Odds and Post Position

Check out our predictions and odds for the 2022 Arlington Million at Churchill Downs!

PP Horse Twinspires Odds Jockey Trainer
F Geroux B Cox
M Franco C Brown
R Gutierrez M Maker
J Velazquez M McCarthy
G Corrales M Maker
6 SANTIN 4/1
T Gaffalione B Walsh
B J Hernandez Jr B Lynch
D Cohen D Stewart
9 CELLIST 12/1
C Lanerie G R Arnold II

Arlington Million Predictions and Best Bets

Here are my plays ($60 in total)

$10 Exacta Part Wheel – Set Piece over Santin, Smooth Like Strait, Sacred Life and Admission Office = $40

$5 Exacta Part Wheel – Santin and Admission Office over Set Piece, Santin and Admission Office = $20

Top pick: Set Piece (4/1)

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Arlington Million Odds

Second five times and third once in his last six races, Smooth Like Strait will look to find his way back to the winner’s circle when he tops a wide open field of nine older turf horses in Saturday’s $1 million Arlington Million at Churchill Downs.

The speedy Michael McCarthy-trained son of Midnight Lute has continued to run strong races since winning the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile last year, but has been denied victory while running against top company.

Among his top competition in the 9-furlong Arlington Million will be a pair of runners looking to relive past glory at Churchill Downs.

Santin returns in search of a second Grade 1 victory after winning the local Turf Classic on the Kentucky Derby card. Most recently the lightly raced son of Distorted Humor faded to sixth, though, in the 10-furlong, Grade 1 Manhattan.

Set Piece also has a good history at Churchill Downs having won 4-of-5 over the turf at the Louisville oval. Bred in England, the 6-year-old gelding looks to bounce back after stalling in traffic last time in the Grade 3 Forbidden Apple.

Sacred Life will represent America’s top turf trainer, Chad Brown. Bred in France, the 7-year-old veteran has only won two of ten the past two seasons, but both came in graded stakes races at 9 furlongs, including last month’s Grade 3 Monmouth Stakes.

This edition will be the first ever Arlington Million hosted by Churchill Downs, prompted by the closing of the Arlington International Racecourse last year.

Arlington Million Predictions and Race Analysis

Smooth Like Strait

It’s hard to knock this California invader. All he does is run good races. Anything less than another solid effort on Saturday would seem unlikely. After enjoying plenty of wins early on in his career out West, he has only won once in nine tries as an older horse, though.

While he has kept the best company of anyone in this field, he has been unable to hold off the late rally of others in six consecutive defeats. You could say he is due for a breakthrough, but this race might set up for another consolation award.

With Megacity out there early with him and Santin near behind, I think it might be tough for him to go all the way around once again. A must-use in the exotics, I will try to beat him in the top spot.

Set Piece

This Juddmonte homebred has plenty going for him as he looks for his biggest career win. He returns to the Churchill Downs turf where he has won 4-of-5 in his career, including three straight last year. He also finds a spot where there is some early pace to set the table for his late run.

Stuck behind horses last time, he might only need a good trip to pick up all the pieces on Saturday. He showed his strong late kick two starts back, rallying for a good-looking win in the Grade 2 Dinner Party Stakes at Pimlico for trainer Brad Cox.

Breaking from the rail under Florent Geroux, look for him to save ground early before unleashing his late kick. He is the top pick in a wide-open affair.


This 4-year-old son of Distorted Humor is the least experienced horse in the race, but he is one of the few Grade 1 winners in the field. That win came two starts ago over the same course and distance as he will see on Saturday.

He couldn’t back up his win in the Turf Classic last time on Belmont Stakes day but he should appreciate the cut back in distance to 9 furlongs as he tries his third consecutive Grade 1 race.

A consistent runner in his seven-race career for trainer Brendan Walsh, he should be able to work out a good trip stalking the early speed of Smooth Like Strait and Megacity. I consider him the biggest threat to my top pick.

Sacred Life

You need to pay attention to any Chad Brown-trained horse in the biggest turf races and this veteran would seem to be no exception. He’s only won once in each of the last four seasons but comes into the Million in good form

Coming off graded stakes win at Monmouth Park in his last start, the son of Siyouni has been a consistent runner in turf stakes since arriving from France three years ago and is often involved in the stretch with his rally.

This is a step up from the level he beat last time and he has never won above Grade 3 racing in his career. He is a threat, but I do like a couple of other late-runners better.

Field Pass

The first of two for trainer Mike Maker, this gray looks to be the one with the better chance. A multiple graded stakes winner, he has yet to break through at the highest level, although he did win the Grade 2 Seabiscuit at Del Mar last fall.

Coming off a pair of solid efforts at Churchill Downs and Lone Star Park in his last two, he is one of many here in with a chance. His best opportunity will be from mid-pack if he can get the first jump on the leaders.

Nearing the $1 million mark in career earnings, he is often involved in deep stretch and should be respected, but I do wonder if he lacks the closing kick to out finish a few others here.

Admission Office

A seasoned pro, this 7-year-old son of Point of Entry likes to come with one late run as he did successfully two starts back to win the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap. It was his fourth start at Churchill Downs and all of them were very good.

Last time he stretched out for the 12-furlong Grand Couturier at Belmont and was beaten just over two lengths by Channel Maker. He’s cut back in distance before and ran well, so there is good reason to believe he can do it again.

He also should have a solid pace up front to set the table for his late run. He looks like a good alternative to the favorites, and one that I will use in my exotics.


Another one who seems to be right at home on the Churchill Downs turf, with two-stakes wins there the past two seasons. He also seems to be rounding into form in 2022, with three races under his belt. Most recently he won the Grade 3 Louisville at 12 furlongs.

While it’s still unclear whether he is better going long, he has performed well at middle distances in the past. Trained by Rusty Arnold, he is an interesting longshot in here, but I am just not sure if he has yet to turn in a race good enough to win this one.


This speedy son of City Zip went wire-to-wire, holding off Field Pass in the Texas Turf Classic, but was taken down for interference in the stretch. It was the first start for him from the Mike Maker barn and was a promising beginning to the partnership.

He’ll need to be even better in his second start for the new barn but should receive plenty of early pace pressure from the classy Smooth Like Strait. On a class level, he looks a cut below the best in here. I like the others better on Saturday.

Cavalry Charge

This Dallas Stewart-trained longshot pulled off a big upset early this year when he won the Grade 3 Fair Grounds Stakes at odds of 35/1. He’s lost his last four, though, and while a couple of those performances were pretty good, the two at Churchill Downs were not.

The gelded son of Honor Code will have big odds once again, and while he is eligible to pop up and run a good race near the early pace, it’s difficult to be excited about his chances to win this outright.

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How to Watch the Arlington Million

What Arlington Million (Grade 1)
Location Churchill Downs
Time Saturday, August 13 — 6:25 pm Eastern time
How to Watch TVG
Purse $1,000,000

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Image for Brian Zipse


Brian Zipse

237 Articles

Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.

Email: [email protected]

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