Arlington Million features two strong horses

What makes the summer so much fun for horse racing fans is that there are great stakes races each weekend.

On Saturday, the Arlington Million takes center stage. The Arlington Park undercard includes two other Grade 1 stakes: the Beverly D and the Secretariat.

It's hard to look past the two Arlington Million favorites, Cape Blanco (9-5) and Gio Ponti (2-1). They just ran 1-2 in the Grade 1 Man o' War at Belmont Park.

Cape Blanco won the Man o' War much easier than it appeared on paper. Jockey Jamie Spencer sat off a slow pace, moved to the front and won with something left.

Gio Ponti ran his normal race in taking second. In fact, Gio Ponti has had a Beyer speed rating between 99 and 101 in his last eight races in the United States.

A live long shot is Wigmore Hall (8-1), a world traveler with a powerful closing kick whose last three races have come in Dubai, Hong Kong and Singapore.

■ MATCH RACE MUSING -- The Del Mar match race between jockeys Chantal Sutherland and Mike Smith proved one thing for me: The better horse won. I suspect if the riders had switched mounts, Chantal would have won. I was told a long time ago that the difference between a great rider and an average one is about a yard. However, having that extra three feet will win you a lot of photo finishes.

■ VALENZUELA AD -- The Daily Racing Form ran an advertisement recently promoting jockey Pat Valenzuela. Many horseplayers, including the folks at Television Games Network (TVG), thought that Valenzuela placed the ad. Jon Lindo, the West Coast advertising manager for DRF, said that wasn't the case. "The guy who paid for the ad is a gambler in Las Vegas," Lindo said. "He's a huge fan of Valenzuela."

■ TREASURE ISLAND CONTEST -- The Treasure Island will host a Wager and Win qualifier on Aug. 19-20 for the DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship. The entry fee is $1,000, with the two top finishers earning a berth into the NHC in January.

■ STATION CASINOS CONTEST -- Saturday is the last chance to qualify for the Station Casinos' We Luv Locals Summer Race Contest. The entry fee is $25. The final is Aug. 20.

Richard Eng's horse racing column is published Friday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter: @richeng4propick.