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.
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
- Golden Ticket – Winner of the Prairie Meadows Handicap back
- 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)