ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. — Irish-bred Debussy won the Arlington Million on Saturday, rallying to beat 2009 champion Gio Ponti by a half-length.
Jockey William Buick steered Debussy along the rail from well back in the stretch run at Arlington Park. Debussy, owned by Darley Stud Management and trained by John Gosden, ran 1¼ miles on the turf course in 2:01.01 and paid $24, $8.20 and $5.60.
"I thought, 'Oh, no. I have so much horse, but I'm not going to have enough room," Buick said. "But then the hole opened (rail) and we got it."
Gio Ponti, ridden by Ramon Dominguez, was attempting to join John Henry (1981 and 1984) as the only two-time winner.
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"I thought I had enough to hang on," said Gio Ponti's jockey, Ramon Dominguez. "Once I got clear, the horse was idling a little bit. Maybe looking at the stands or something."
The 4-year-old Debussy has two victories in six races this year, also winning the Huxley Stakes at Chester in England in May.
"I've been trying to win this race for 28 years," Gosden said.
Gio Ponti returned $2.80 and $2.40, and Tazeez paid $4 to show.
Two other Grade I races were contested on the turf at Arlington Park.
German-bred Eclair de Lune pulled in front down the stretch drive to win the $750,000 Beverly D., with jockey Junior Alvarado on board. Hot Cha Cha was second and South African-bred Gypsy's Warning finished third.
Paddy O'Prado, the prohibitive favorite at 1-2 odds, won the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes by 1¼ lengths over Wigmore Hall. Workin for Hops finished third.
Ridden by Kent Desormeaux, Paddy O'Prado stalked in third place until the three-sixteenths pole, then surged past Workin for Hops.