Global Weekly Preview: Permian takes the spotlight on Arlington's big day
The year 1981 was an important one in international racing as it heralded the inauguration of two races, whose names are carved so deeply on the global calendar you could be excused for thinking they had been there for centuries.
The G1 Arlington Million, run at Arlington Park racetrack in Chicago, and the G1 Japan Cup, which takes place at Fuchu, Tokyo, are landmark races on today's world racing stage.
Dick Duchossois is largely credited with the development of the Arlington Million, and even more so supporting events such as the G1 Secretariat Stakes and the G1 Beverly D.
Duchossois, 96, has been a dynamic promoter of Chicago's biggest raceday, and the support it draws from top stables in Europe, as well as America, is testimony to an astute marketing strategy.
Godolphin will unfortunately not be represented in this year's Arlington Million following news that Scottish suffered a recurrence of an old fetlock injury during a breeze at the track early Thursday morning.
Although not serious long-term, the injury is enough to rule him out of Chicago, as well as important races in Melbourne in October and November. Hopes are high that he can return to race at Meydan early next year.
Deauville and Mekhtaal carry the flag for the European raiders, while old favourite The Pizza Man as well as Beach Patrol can give the locals something to cheer home.
While Godolphin interest in the weekend evaporated with news of Scottish's defection, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, the Crown Prince of Dubai, will be represented by his talented three-year-old Permian in the G1 Secretariat Stakes on the same card.
Permian, to be ridden by William Buick, faces just five rivals in this showcase event. So versatile and durable has the colt become, he is expected to build on his very close second in the recent G1 Grand Prix de Paris, in which he was just overtaken on the line.
Interestingly, the G3 American St Leger has failed to attract European interest this year. The range of options on a cluttered racing program at this time of the year may be to blame, though a $250,000 prizemoney pot should have appealed to at least a couple of stables.
The distance, one mile and eleven-sixteenths, is extreme by American standards.