Television and radio horse racing personality Caton Bredar does a satellite radio show each Saturday when she asked to make a "hunch pick of the day."
On Arlington Million day, she chose a horse by the name of More Than Special, who was running at Monmouth.
Turned out she had the hunch of the day.
Caton is married to Doug Bredar, the jockey agent for Florent Geroux.
Caton's husband experienced the thrill of a lifetime when his rider won Saturday's Arlington Million on The Pizza Man at the track where she and Doug grew up watching the races.
Caton, a Barrington High School grad, was also on hand to celebrate with her husband as she provided on-air commentary for Arlington Park and HRTV.
"This is huge," said Doug, a Maine West grad. "To grow up in Des Plaines and follow Illinois-breds in Illinois, to have been a racing secretary (Churchill Downs) and to be a jockey's agent, this is as high as it gets on my list of great moments by far. This is as good as it gets."
Bredar received nearly 100 congratulatory text messages an hour after the race.
"This is the thrill of a lifetime," Doug said. "Rich (Papiese, owner of the Pizza Man) and I have obviously developed a great relationship over the years and I love Roger Brueggemann (trainer). I think he hugged me as long as anyone."
"This is more than special," Caton said. "This is the track I grew up at (her father Ray was a local trainer) and where my husband proposed to me. It means so much."
It obviously meant a lot to the French-born Geroux, too, who became the first jockey to ride an Illinois-bred to victory in the Million.
The highest-finishing Illinois-bred in the Million had been Richard Duchossois' Explosive Darling, who was fourth in 1987.
Coincidentally, Geroux's best friend, French-born jockey Jerome Lermyte, won the next race after the Million on Shaban. It was Lermyte's eighth win of the meet.
Foreign invasion: Fifteen of the 38 horses in Saturday's four graded stakes race for the international Festival of Racing were from overseas.
"That's a good representation with 15," said Alastair Donald, chief executive of the International Racing Bureau who has attended every Million since 1988.
"With a total of 40 horses, that's great. There were years there were fewer than 15 European horses at the Breeders' Cup. When they ran at Lone Star there were only nine Europeans in the seven races. But recently there have been more at the Breeders' Cup."
Seventh heaven: The Pizza Man's victory from post No. 7 tied the record for most wins in the Million.
No. 7 is tied with the No. 1 post. Both have won the Million seven times.
On the Call: John Dooley called his 16th Million on Saturday, going from a seven-horse field last year to a nearly full starting gate of 13 this time.
"It's always nice to have more horses to call in a race," Dooley said. "For the Million, it means you have a lot of Europeans and American horses, which is good. It's more names to memorize, but hopefully it's more exciting."
High status: Million champion The Pizza Man and Beverly D. hero Watsdachances each went over the million dollar mark in career earnings.
Busy day: Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey were the only owners with a horse in each of the four Festival races on Saturday.
Their best finishes were second-place finishes in the Million (Big Blue Kitten) and Beverly D. (Stephanie's Kitten).
O'Brien gets fourth: Trainer Aidan O'Brien won his fourth Secretariat when Highland Reel went wire to wire to win by 5¼ lengths over Closing Bell.
O'Brien previously won with Ciro (2000), Treasure Beach (2011) and Adelaide (20-14).
He has a record of 12-3-3-1 in the race.
Experience counts: Up With the Birds, who took fourth in the Million at odds of 19-1, was the only horse in the field who ran in the race last year when he also finished fourth behind Hardest Core, Magician and Side Glance.