Mondialiste grabbed himself another big chunk of North American prizemoney when landing the 2016 Arlington Million at the eponymous racetrack on August 13.
The raider from Yorkshire, England would have been well known to USA race fans, having been a great runner-up to the mighty Tepin in the Breeders Cup Mile 2015. Mondialiste had also won the Woodbine Mile for good measure. So the winner’s betting odds of 9/2 with the offshore sportsbooks might have been a touch generous, with the significant benefit of hindsight.
Mondialiste used to be trained by Freddie Head, best known on this side of the Atlantic for his incredible achievements with the great Goldikova, winner of 14 Grade 1 races. However Mondialiste has done all his serious winning in the care of David O’Meara, a trainer with a big reputation of improving lesser lights.
In Mondialiste he purchased a well-bred Galileo horse with talent aplenty and then took his form to a new level. O’Meara has shown he can handle the big time, if given the ammunition, and this is not a yard other trainers should want their charges to move to. He has a habit of making former trainers look a little foolish. O’Meara shrewdly bought the horse out of Head’s yard for 190,000 euros ($215,000). That investment has been repaid many times over with more to come, most notably at the Breeders Cup meeting.
The Arlington win was a ‘win and you are in’ race for the Breeders Cup Turf (November 4). That would mean a further two furlong step up in trip from the mile and a quarter distance of the Arlington Million. O’Meara and his stable jockey Daniel Tudhope will have to think long and hard about that one, but they have little to lose by taking on the challenge. Certainly his horse seems to save his best form for the rich races of North America.
Mondialiste was far from the first of his country to raid the Arlington Park pot of gold. Indeed Tolomeo won the third running of the race for Luca Cumani in 1983. Teleprompter won in 1985, while Sulumani got the race after the disqualification of Storming Home in 2003. Other English victors include John Gosden’s Debussy in 2010 and Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien, who saddled the third Deauville this time around, has had a couple of winners too.
US bettors might do well to analyze the Europe form when looking for the winner of next year’s renewal. Certainly there will be a few trainers in the United Kingdom who might feel they had better horses than Mondialiste standing in their stables at the time the race was run.
First horse home for the home nation this year was Kasaqui in second, saddled by trainer Ignacio Correas and ridden by jockey Robby Albarado (pictured). Mark Casse’s favorite World Approval could only manage seventh of the 11 runners, but there was barely four lengths between first and last. World Approval’s jockey Florent Geroux was disappointed despite riding a Grade-race treble on the day, blaming the slow early pace for his horse’s below par performance.