ARLINGTON HEIGHTS – Kenneth L. Ramsey is looking for more than just Real Solution becoming the first back-to-back winner of the Arlington Million on Saturday.
The horse's co-owner doesn't want any excuses.
Real Solution captured the 2013 trophy when The Apache was disqualified after crossing the finish line first.
"We feel like we would have won that race fair and square if we wouldn't have been bothered," Ramsey said. "I don't think there's going to be an excuse Saturday. He's dead ready."
Trainer Chad C. Brown agreed.
"If he was to cross the line first Saturday, and if anyone out there that didn't think he was a worthy winner (last year), that would certainly solve that," Brown said.
For the 32nd running of the race, Javier Castellano will be on board Real Solution, which was the 5-2 morning line second choice. The 5-year-old son of Kitten's Joy, Real Solution came from fourth place in the stretch to win his last start in the Grade I Manhattan at Belmont Park on June 7.
Real Solution has delivered multiple stakes placings, including second in the Grade I Man 'O War in May and third in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic last September. To win Saturday's 1 1/4-mile race on the turf, Real Solution, breaking from the sixth post position, will have to get past Irish-bred Magician.
Winner of the Grade I Breeders' Cup Turf at Santa Anita Park last November, Magician was the 7-5 morning-line favorite, starting from the third post position. The 4-year-old, which has won five of its 13 starts, is trained by Aidan O'Brien and will be ridden by his son, Joseph O'Brien. Magician has posted two wins at 1 1/4 miles.
"Magician is the one we have to beat," Ramsey said.
The third choice, Smoking Sun, will break from the second post position at 9-2. Trained by Pascal F. Bary and ridden by Stephane Pasquier, Smoking Sun has yet to win a Group I race. The 5-year-old has won five of 14 lifetime starts.
The field of seven horses ties the smallest ever (2000, 2007, 2008) for the Arlington Million.
"It's a lot of quality for a short field," Brown said. "It's going to be a tough race. He's (Real Solution) going to have to come with his A race for sure."
The other entrants include Canada's 2013 Horse of the Year, Up With The Birds at 6-1 odds. Great Britain's Side Glance, which finished third in the Million last year, was at 8-1, while last year's fourth-place horse at the Million, Finnegans Wake, was 12-1. The long shot, Hardest Core, had a morning line of 20-1.
"I think we're going to be coming at them down the stretch," Ramsey said.