The way Arlington Park racing secretary Chris Polzin sees it, the 30th running of the Arlington Million is as wide open as any of the previous editions held since 1981.
Polzin's assessment was confirmed by the morning line which was announced Wednesday during the post position draw at the WGN studios in Chicago.
Boisterous, who most recently was third in the Grade III Arlington Park Handicap, was tabbed as the lukewarm 4-1 favorite among the 11 contestants for the 1¼-mile turf event.
WGN will provide live coverage of the Million from 5 to 6 p.m. on Saturday. The telecast will include highlights from $750,000 Beverly D. Stakes, the $500,000 Secretariat Stakes and inaugural running of the $400,000 American St. Leger Stakes. All of the races are part of the International Festival of Racing.
"All of them are good betting races," said Polzin, who also worked at the old Arlington Park which burned down in 1985. "They are big fields in which you can find many choices to bet. Even the new race (American St. Leger) has a lot of horses who haven't run that distance (1 11/16th mile). You really have to handicap these races."
From the rail out, the Million field includes Rahystrada (8-1, Julien Leparoux), Boisterous (4-1, Jose Lezcano), Afsare (6-1, Kieren Fallon), Little Mike (6-1, Ramon Dominguez), Colombian (8-1, William Buick), Treasure Beach (6-1, Jamie Spencer), Willcox Inn (12-1, James Graham), Wigmore Hall (12-1, Hayley Turner), Crackerjack King (5-1, Colm O'Donoghue), Cherokee Lord (30-1, Francisco Torres) and Vertiformer (20-1, Jeffrey Sanchez).
Willcox Inn, whose ownership includes three local natives (Ron Lepinski, Al Lepinski and Marty Nixon) who graduated from St. Viator High School, drew the post (7) with the most wins in the Million.
Horses leaving from post No. 7 have won six times, followed by No. 1 (5) and No. 2 (4).
Mike Stidham, the trainer of Willcox Inn, is looking for his first Grade I stakes triumph at Arlington Park.
"It would be big to win a Grade I on Million day," said Stidham, who saddled Willcox Inn to victory in the Arlington Classic and American Derby last summer. "I really enjoy being here every summer, and we run a lot of horses and the fans know who we are."
The field for the 23rd running of the Beverly D. includes 10 distaffers led by 3-1 morningline favorite Marketing Mix (post No. 8), trained by Tom Proctor.
From the rail out, the field includes Kapitale (12-1), I'm A Dreamer (8-1), Romacaca (15-1), Upperline (20-1), Mystical Star (6-1), Up (8-1), Aruna (7-2), Marketing Mix (3-1), Stars To Shine (15-1) and Joviality (9-2).
The 36th running of the Secretariat features morningline favorite Silver Max (9-5), who will begin from the outside No. 8 post for trainer Dale Romans, who also starts Cozzetti and Finnegans Wake in the race.
"Silver Max is in such good form and is such a nice horse, he's going to be difficult to beat," Romans said earlier this week. "If he stubs his toe or something goes wrong in the race, then it wouldn't surprise me if one of these other two (Cozzetti or Finnegan's Wake) were the ones to beat him."
Handsome Mike (15-1) drew the rail followed in order by Summer Front (5-2), Cozzetti (10-1), Finnegan's Wake (6-1), All Stormy (20-1), Daddy Long Legs (6-1), Bayrir (6-1) and Silver Max (9-5).
A field of 12 was named for the St. Ledger.
From the rail out, the field includes Vertiformer (10-1, also entered in the Million), Helicopter (30-1), Lemonade Kid (30-1), Lumberyard Jack (30-1), Lake Drop (8-1), Suntracer (6-1), Game Ball (30-1), Jakkalberry (9-5), Lethal (30-1), Zuider Zee (5-1), Ioya Bigtime (9-2) and Bridge of Gold (15-1).
Trainer Chris Block, who handles Suntracer and Ioya Bigtime, has indicated only one of those horses will run Saturday.
Lumberyard Jack (St. Leger) and Handsome Mike (Secretariat) are trained by Doug O'Neill and ridden by Mario Gutierrez, the same connections of 2012 Kentucky Derby and Preakness champ I'll Have Another.