By Mike Shutty, HorseRacingNation.com
It seems likely that Awesome Gem and Colonel John will get into the Classic which leaves a field of 8 US-based horses and 4 foreign shippers, including defending Mile champion, Goldikova, to contest the 2009 Breeders' Cup Mile. The US bunch, while evenly matched, features no monsters so most will look to the foreign shippers for their win candidate. I say, not so fast.
Goldikova, Delegator, Zacinto and Gladiatorus make up a strong contingent of across- th- pond shippers. Throw out Goldikova’s awkward run in the 7 furlong Total De La Foret. Head admitted that running her in a sprint race was a mistake as she was sucked into fast early fractions and floated outside in the drive but still managed a game third place finish. Delegator, out of the Godolphin barn, has run very close to champion-quality horse flesh including: Sea The Stars, Rip Van Winkle (likely 3 year-old, mile specialist champion entered in the BC Classic) and “Rip’s” stable mate, Mastercraftsman. Zacinto, once considered a Classic candidate, has been riddled with injuries requiring delicate handling. They say he is back on course but a question mark remains. Gladiatorus rounds out the group and he is all speed. He crushes lesser but struggles against top competition and he is sure to add to what is projected to be a breath-taking early pace.
I rate the foreign shippers as follows:
Now let’s take a look at the US-based contingent. Do you want a Singletary-like upsetter in this race? Look no further than Godolophin’s “other horse” Justenuffhumor. This improving 4 year-old reeled off 6 straight wins before finishing second to last in the Shadwell on the soft going at Keeneland. An extremely slow pace and the bog conditions did this colt in. His odds in the Mile are sure to be generous as a result. He’ll really appreciate the firm going at SA and there is no question he’ll have some pace to run at as he did in most of his previous winning efforts. He’s sitting on a huge race.
You have to respect Court Vision’s victory in the Shadwell. He laid close to a dawdling pace and then turned on the after burners to close the deal. The combination of blinkers back on, surgery to correct an ascended testicle (that’s gonna leave a mark!), a move to the Dutrow barn and a return to the favored mile distance all combined to create the favorable outcome. From a form cycle perspective, look for a nice move forward in this his second race off the layoff.
Whatsthescript has spoiler written all over him. Out of the cagey Sadler barn, “What” finished third in this race last year (about 4 lengths behind Goldikova) and horses that have run before in the Mile almost always do better the second time around. He has the home court advantage and hopefully a better post draw this time around. I like the second-off-the-layoff angle and look for improvement here given the anticipated fierce pace.
Cowboy Cal, Courageous Cat, Gladiatorus and Karelian will be beating each other up on the front end and, except of Cowboy Cal, I seen none of the speedsters around the money at the end.
Look to Ferneley and Mr. Sidney as your trifecta and superfecta bottom bombers. You’ll never get higher odds on these two and they are strong second tier players. Note that the three times Mr. Sidney has run a mile this year, he’s won each of them. Don’t count him out.
Putting it all together, I see the Mile outcome as follows:
Handicapping the Breeders' Cup?
- Court Vision
- Cowboy Cal
- Mr. Sidney
- Courageous Cat
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