2023 Arlington Stakes exotics and field analysis

June 1st, 2023

The Grade 3 Arlington S. will feature a field of seven, including last year’s runner-up Get Smokin, who was beaten a head by Admission Office in the 1 1/16-mile event held at Churchill Downs.

Below we examine this year’s Arlington field and provide our best exotics plays — including exacta, trifecta, and superfecta tickets — for Race 9 at Churchill on June 3.

Arlington Stakes selections

  • #6 Royal Patronage (3-1)
  • #7 Set Piece (8-5)
  • #4 Tiberius Mercurius (10-1)

Arlington Stakes wagers

  • $3 Exacta: 6 with 3, 4, 7 ($9)
  • $1.50 Trifecta: 6 with 3, 4, 7 with 3, 4, 7 ($9)
  • 20-cent Superfecta: 6, 7 with 3, 4, 6, 7 with 3, 4, 6, 7 with 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  ($7.20)

#1 Get Smokin (6-1): The six-year-old set the pace and held the lead through upper stretch, but got nailed at the wire by Admission Office in last year’s edition of the Arlington. Since then, the Get Stormy gelding has hit the board in the one-mile Forbidden Apple (G3) and Fourstardave (G1), and finished far back in 10th in the Woodbine Mile (G1) to close out the 2022 season. The chestnut opened up his 2023 campaign with a win in a 7 1/2-furlong allowance optional claimer at Gulfstream, and then stretched back out to a mile in the Opening Verse S. at Churchill on May 4, where he gave way to finish sixth. In the Arlington, he’ll return to a distance from which he is 3-1-2-0. Trainer Mark Casse is a 12% winner in graded stakes and a 16% winner third off the layoff; Ricardo Santana Jr., just a 7% winner this meet, will retain the mount.

#2 Kentucky Ghost (8-1): The Ghostzapper gelding came home seventh in the Opening Verse last out and has finished no better than fifth in his last five starts. The closer’s last win came at today’s distance in an allowance at Keeneland on Oct. 15, and the step up in class is a concern here. Trainer Victoria Oliver is just a 2% winner in her last 63 graded stakes races and a 10% winner with turf starts. Hot jockey Tyler Gaffalione will pick up the mount and strikes at an 18% rate on the grass.

#3 Classic Causeway (4-1): The 2022 Kentucky Derby (G1) also-ran switched to turf in July 2022 and proceeded to win the 1 1/4-mile Belmont Derby (G1) at first asking on the grass. He then placed third in both the 1 3/16-mile Saratoga Derby (G1) and 1 1/2-mile Jockey Club Derby (G3) to Nations Pride before coming home seventh in the Turf Mile (G1) and sixth in the Bryan Station (G3) at Keeneland. The four-year-old raced on dirt in his last two, including a second by a length in the 1 1/16-mile Essex (G3) at Oaklawn. The switch back to turf here may trigger improvement in his third start off the layoff, but the Giant’s Causeway son is more likely to settle for the minor awards. Kenny McPeek is an 8% winner dirt to turf and a 14% winner in graded stakes. Brian Hernandez Jr. will regain the mount and has a third and a sixth when racing with Classic Causeway.

#4 Tiberius Mercurius (10-1): The seven-year-old got up to win by a nose in a 1 1/8-mile allowance optional claimer at Churchill on May 11 and will move up in class here. Mike Maker is a 20% winner with horses that won their last race and an 11% winner in graded stakes, while Luis Saez is 3-for-12 paired with Maker over the last two months. The son of Factor is 0-for-6 when racing 1 1/16 miles but has a second and two third-place finishes at the distance. He won his lone start at Churchill and is one to play underneath in exotics.

#5 Harlan Estate (10-1): The Kantharos gelding was beaten a nose by Tiberius Mercurius last out and will cut back in distance today while moving back up in class. Trainer Whit Beckman is a 15% winner second off the layoff and an 18% winner with turf starts. Jockey Declan Cannon will retain the mount and is 2-for-16 at Churchill this meet.

#6 Royal Patronage (3-1): The four-year-old got up to win by a neck in a 1 1/16-mile allowance at Keeneland last out and moves back up in class for Graham Motion, a 16% winner second off the layoff. The Wootton Bassett colt flashed a 101 Brisnet Speed rating in the victory, good for the highest last race speed figure among the field, and beat Tiberius Mercurius, who finished third. He has yet to place in his three graded stakes tries since shipping to the U.S., but a rider switch to hot jockey John Velazquez may help him with the class jump.

#7 Set Piece (8-5): The seven-year-old has not won since September 2022, when he triumphed in the one-mile Baltimore/Washington International Turf Cup (G3). He next moved up to face Grade 1 company and was beaten 1 3/4 lengths when fourth in the Turf Mile at Keeneland. He then came home a four-length sixth in the Grade 2 Seabiscuit at 1 1/16 miles to close out last season. He opened up 2023 with a two-length third in the Opening Verse on May 4 with an 86 BRIS figure. The Brad Cox pupil is eligible to improve second start off the layoff at a track where he owns a 7-4-0-1 record. Set Piece is also 3-for-6 from today’s distance and will retain hot jockey Florent Geroux, a 21% winner this meet.