ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Long-shot Hardest Core ran down favored Magician in the stretch to win the Arlington Million by a length Saturday.
Ridden by Eriluis Vaz, Hardest Core, the 11-1 outsider, came on strong from the outside just after the turn for home.
"I knew he was going to make his run," Vaz said. "On the last turn I had a lot of horse."
Magician, the winner of the Grade I Breeders' Cup Turf, went off as the favorite at 9-5 odds.
"I had a good trip, no excuses," Magician jockey Joseph P. O'Brien said.
Magician had a clear lead midway in the stretch, but Hardest Core eased past.
"Words can't explain what a great feeling this is," Hardest Core trainer Edward L. Graham said. "He has a good kick and he has a great gallop and he got it done."
The 4-year-old Hardest Core ran 1 1/4 miles on the turf in 2:01.51 and paid $25, $10.40 and $6. Magician returned $4.20 and $3, and Side Glance paid $5 to show.
Hardest Core is owned by Andrew Bentley Stables. It was Hardest Core's fourth straight win, the first in graded company. Entering the Million, Hardest Core had accumulated just under $250,000 in career earnings. Magician had earned nearly $2.4 million.
Hardest Core, who had never been entered in a graded stakes race prior to the Arlington Million, nearly died from castration surgery last November.
As for what's next on the racing docket for Hardest Core, Graham was succinct.
"I have no clue. I've got to get over this one first," Graham said.
The race had seven entrants, matching the lowest total in event history.
Defending champion, Real Solution, trying to become the first back-to-back winner, finished seventh.
"I had a beautiful trip," Real Soltuion jockey Javier Castellano said. "Unfortunately, he didn't show up today."
In the other stakes races at Arlington International Racecourse, Euro Charline charged down the stretch to win the $750,000 Grade I Beverly D. with jockey Ryan L. Moore on board. Stephanie's Kitten came up late to take second place and Just The Judge was third.
Moore also rode to victory in the $500,000 Grade I Secretariat, beating Tourist by 1 1/2 lengths.
The Pizza Man, with jockey Florent Geroux on the saddle, won the $400,000 American St. Leger by a length.