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Aug 22, 2014

Longshot gets best of Europeans in Arlington Million


Arlington Heights, IL ( - Longshot Hardest Core found something extra down the stretch to upset the favored Magician and capture Saturday's 32nd Arlington Million at Arlington Park.

Trained by Edward Graham, Hardest Core was sent off at 11-1 in the seven-horse field for the 1 1/4-mile Million. Magician, in from Europe, was the 9-5 favorite and defending Million winner Real Solution was 2-1.

Hardest Core, ridden by Eriluis Vaz, was never far off the pace being set by Side Glance, another European invader. Magician and jockey Joseph O'Brien were pressing the pace on the firm Arlington turf course.

Entering the stretch, Magician had a short lead over Side Glance and Hardest Core. Vaz got to working on his mount down the stretch and was able to catch and pass Magician nearing the wire.

Hardest Core, owned by Andrew Bentley Stables, posted a length win over Magician with Side Glance holding to third and Up With the Birds in fourth. Finnegans Wake, Smoking Sun and Real Solution completed the order of finish.

The time for the Million was 2:01.51.

The Arlington Million is part of the Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" program. The victory reserves a spot for Hardest Core in the Breeders' Cup Turf at Santa Anita on Nov. 1.

"He's good horse, he's a nice horse, and I knew he was going to make his run. I have to thank the owner and trainer, they have been so supportive, and it's amazing," said the winning jockey.

Hardest Core, a 4-year-old gelding, collected his largest check with the victory. Racing in his first graded stakes, Hardest Core earned $594,000 to triple his career earnings. The gelding has banked $842,580 with six wins in 11 starts.

"Words can't explain what a great feeling this is," Graham said. "He's gone through a lot - had to cut 18 inches of intestines at one point and didn't know if he'd make it. I looked at the Sword Dancer, looked at the Leger, all three races were tough, but thought a shorter field would be better and the horse was training so well; he didn't know what he was going against but he showed it today."

The 4-year-old was coming off a win at Delaware Park last month in the Cape Henlopen Stakes and has now won four straight races. He was previously trained by Kiaran McLaughlin.

Hardest Core paid $25.00, $10.40 and $6.00. Magician returned $4.20 and $3.00, and Side Glance paid $5.00 to show.

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