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The Dark Horse

2013 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile: The Contenders

 

It’s almost time! The 2013 Breeders’ Cup is only a few weeks away and the excitement is building. Some of the world’s best thoroughbreds head to California to compete at Santa Anita during the first weekend of November. Today, we’ll take a look at the contenders for the Dirt Mile.

 

A relatively new race to the Breeders’ Cup menu, the Dirt Mile was started in 2007. The stake record was set by Albertus Maximus in 2008 with a winning time of 1:33 and 2/5. In my mind, the most memorable race was in 2011 when Caleb’s Posse took the title by beating horses such as Shackelford, Trappe Shot, and The Factor, and closing from the clouds to win by 3 1/2 lengths!





Currently there are three “win and you’re in” stakes races leading up to the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile: The Triple Bend at Hollywood, the Kelso held at Belmont, and the Pat O’Brien at Del Mar. The winners of those races were Centralinteligence, Graydar, and Fed Biz, respectively. 


Since the beginning of this year, Centralinteligence had been working up towards the Grade 1 score at Hollywood Park.  Stretching out an extra furlong seemed to be what this horse needed as he won in impressive fashion in the Triple Bend by 3 ½ lengths and paid 8-1. It looks like, however; the connections are pointing towards the Breeders' Cup Sprint for this colt.


Another horse that impressed me earlier in the year in the Donn Handicap at Gulfstream is Graydar. This Todd Pletcher-trained horse has done nothing but win. Winning the Dirt Mile in November would easily put Graydar over $1,000,000 in career earnings and it appears as though Graydar is more likely for the Breeders' Cup Classic. I wish him luck!

 

With that being said, let’s look at some of the more likely contenders as of today.

 

A horse that is no stranger to California Racing, Fed Biz has had a very busy 2013: competing in many graded stakes this year. Fed Biz’s record so far in 2013 is an impressive 7-2-1-2 with victories in the two-turn 8 ½ furlong San Fernando Stakes, where he wired the field and won by a head over Tritap, and the 7 furlong Pat O'Brien Stakes where he beat the heavily favored Kentucky Derby runner Goldencents by a length. Obviously versatile, it seems that the mile distance, or pace scenario, won’t be a problem for this horse. Staying home in California may be an advantage as well.

 


 

With impressive victories in the Pegasus and Haskell this year, Verrazano looks ready to strike in the Dirt Mile, as well.  Verrazano has had quite the career thus far only losing two races: the Kentucky Derby and the Travers.  Outside of those races, this horse is undefeated!  In the Derby, he attempted to keep up with the torrid pace set by Palace Malice and faded.  Favored in the Travers, he couldn't get the lead and faded there as well.  However the Dirt Mile may be more to his liking.  He looked powerful in the Haskell winning by more than 9 lengths!  If he should be able to get a favorable post and get to the lead in the Dirt Mile, there may be no stopping this horse.  





Other possible contenders for the Dirt Mile include:

  • Goldencents – Three second-place finishes in a row in graded stakes competition
  • Golden Ticket – Winner of the Prairie Meadows Handicap back in July
  • Pants on Fire – Recent victories in the Monmouth Cup Stakes and the Ack Ack
  • Power Broker – Easily won the Indiana Derby earlier this month (same route Caleb’s Posse took)
  • Hymn Book – 4-0-3-1 so far in 2013, does he break through?
  • Easter Gift – Three victories so far in 2013









 

Stay tuned for more HRN coverage of the Breeders’ Cup and my preview of the Dirt Mile coming soon!

Additional Breeders' Cup blogs:

  • Breeders' Cup Classic and Game on Dude's chances (HERE)
  • 30 years of BC Juvenile Fillies! (HERE)
  • Is it wise to oppose Dan? (HERE)
  • Marathon contenders (HERE)
  • BC Turf preview (HERE)
  • Distaff - The Princess and the Cup (HERE)
  • Filly and Mare Turf Contenders (HERE)

 

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Older Comments about 2013 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile: The Contenders...

I think Power Broker can be tough here too.
Brujo de olleros !
BRUJO DE OLLEROS is my pick for the Dirt mile. He should bounce back nicely after a solid runner up to Graydar in the Kelso.
  • fornariviera · Totally agree,,,iam from Uruguay, and i know how brujo can run,,and trust me he doesnt show all his potential, the fact its how much would pay,,,,i think about 6 to 1 · 314 days ago
Like Fed Biz in this spot
Sorry about the missing l. Took me a while to even log in. Something about cookies, website not identified, etc.
Love, love, ove Verrazano,but I like Fed Biz best so far in the Dirt Mile. These: Fed Biz, Goldencents, Verrazano, at this point.
That is where my disagreement comes in to play.I agree at this stage of his young carreer,the Mile is his strongest option. Next year,with development and experience .There will not be a horse that will be able to touch him.As far as his going the 10 Furlongs.He will not have to do that until later in the year. He has shown to date,that he needs a little time between efforts.I certainly hope,Todd takes a page from how Baffert trained G.O.D this year.Run them in the big spots and do not dance every dance.
Let me clarify this by saying: I'm on board with him in THIS spot (in regards to BC only). If he were in the Classic, I'd throw him out. Verrazano reminds me a bit of Shackleford. He's sometimes able to get 9-9.5F, but he's best at distances around a mile.
Florida, i have been on his bandwagon for some time. He opened my eyes on Haskell Day. I always handicap races on the premise that each horse will run their best.That being the case.Verrazano in my book,becomes the surest winner of all the BC races that will be run that Weekend.Lack of a legitimate speed horse other than him,will only make his trip that much easier.
I'm actually on board with Verrazano here.
FOr reasons I cannot explain, I have never jumped on the Verrazano bandwagon. Hoping the field is early speed heavy and sets up nicely for Goldencents. Just watch Caleb's Posse BC Mile win in 2011
Great analysis.
Look for an upset because this race always produces them. Verrazano will probably be cooked by the pace by the time the real racing starts. Just because a horse is decent at 9 furlong doesn't mean he's a lock at 8. There is a much faster pace at 8 and if a horse is not used to that he can be done early.
Should be Verrazano easy here!
I am still a Verrazano supporter.
What do I think??? VERRAZANO ALL THE WAY!

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Greetings and welcome to my "dark" blog!  I have been a fan of horse racing since I was about 12 years old.  Growing up in Minnesota, my dad would take me and my brothers to Canterbury Downs and I would practically beg to go every weekend!!  I made my first "big" score there hitting the win, place, and exacta in the same race at age 14 (pulled in $84 with horses named Railroad Red and Racers Dream!).  I even had a poster in my bedroom of Lost Code winning the 1987 St. Paul Derby!
 
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