Breeders' Cup Mile at a glance: Projected field, odds and analysis

Breeders' Cup Mile at a glance: Projected field, odds and analysis
Photo: Scott Serio/Eclipse Sportswire

The Breeders’ Cup Mile is usually one of the more wide-open races over the 2-day World Championships, and this year’s version set for Nov. 4 Del Mar appears to be no different. Favorites have won 11 of 33 running of the event, while 10 winners have scored at odds of 10-to-1 or higher.

As in the past, expect a full field of 14 with numerous also-eligibles on the waiting list hoping to draw into the field. While Europe tends to have an edge on the domestic stars in this event, the Yanks have been on a roll lately taking five of the last six editions of the turf test.

Here's an early look at the field with odds by Horse Racing Nation. Also check out need-to-know tips for betting the Mile.

Annals of Time [20/1 - Temple City – Chad Brown - 5-3-1-1 - $337,000] The winner of the Hollywood Derby (G1) last winter only has an allowance win in September to his credit in 2017. Big on talent, light on seasoning.

Al Wukair [20/1– Dream Ahead – Andre Fabre – 6-4-1-1 - $671,415] A lightly raced 3-year-old from the dangerous Fabre stable and must be respected should he make the trip over.

Alice Springs [20/1 - Galileo – Aiden O’Brien – 15-5-5-2 - $1,001,267] Very classy, but has been off since April. It appears she will train up to the race while making her third consecutive start in a Breeders’ Cup event.

Bal a Bali [30/1 - Put it Back – Richard Mandella - 26-15-1-4 - $1,258,268] One of three 'Win and You’re In' entrants after taking the Shoemaker Mile (G1) last June. Mandella is on the fence about running after a disappointing 6th-place finish over the course last out.

Ballagh Rocks [30/1 – Stormy Atlantic – Bill Mott - 14-5-2-3 - $526,910] Comes off a solid 3rd-place finish in the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) last weekend at Keeneland. Though appearing overmatched, he is on the improve for the trainer who took last year’s Mile with Tourist.

Barney Roy [8/1 – Excelebration – Richard Hannon – 6-3-2-1 - $780,940] A 3-year-old, who would be cutting back in distance after knocking heads with Europe's finest at 10 furlongs, rates a big chance should he make the trip.

Blackjackcat [30/1 – Tale of the Cat – Mark Glatt – 14-6-0-4 - $400,070] Currently California’s top miler, but still looks over matched against these.

Churchill [15/1 – Galileo – O’Brien – 11-7-1-1 - $1,643,469] Europe’s top 3-year-old miler earlier in the year, but found rockier roads when facing older. Unlikely to make the trip, but should be respected if he does.

Decorated Knight [15/1 – Galileo – Richard Charlton – 18-8-4-1 - $1,786,522] Has faced Europe’s best all year but hasn’t raced at a mile since April of 2016. Rates a decent shot according to European oddsmakers, but fancy other Euros going eight furlongs. It would not be a surprise to see him in the Breeders’ Cup Turf instead.

Heart to Heart [30/1 – English Channel – Brian Lynch – 31-13-5-3 - $1,558,551] A gutsy front-runner who will try to take them wire to wire. This is a very difficult spot to add his first Grade 1 win to the résumé.

Home of the Brave [99/1 – Starspangledbanner – Hugo Palmer – 17-6-4-2 - $465,580] Eleventh in last year’s Turf Sprint. Would be a monumental upset should he find the winner’s circle.

Karar [50/1 – Invincible Spirit – F.H. Graffard – 18-4-5-3 - $312,462] Became a contender off his 3rd-place finish in the Prix de la Foret on Oct. 1. Tough to suggest with little success against top notch competition.

Lancaster Bomber [20/1 – War Front – O’Brien – 12-1-4-0 - $757,485] Was 2nd to America’s top contender, World Approval, in last month’s Woodbine Mile (G1). Will be running late, but still eligible for allowance conditions.

Midnight Storm [20/1 – Pioneer of the Nile – Phil D’Amato – 26-10-5-2 - $1,783,110] Raced primarily on grass before this year. Should he opt for this spot, the 3rd-place finisher in the race last year could be dangerous at long odds again.

Mr. Roary [99/1 – Scat Daddy – George Papaprodromou – 18-4-2-2 - $243,310] Won the Eddie D (G3) at 6 ½ furlongs at Santa Anita on opening day. Has never hit the board at this level, and wouldn’t expect anything different, should in get in the field.

Om [20/1 – Munnings – Dan Hendricks – 19-5-5-6 - $904,845] Was 2nd in last year’s Turf Sprint. While overmatched against these, he does like the course and has the look of a sneaky longshot.

Ribchester [4/1 – Iffraaj – Richard Fahey – 14-6-4-3 - $3,131,784] Is the likely race favorite and undoubtedly Europe’s top miler. The 4-year-old has taken three Group 1 races at a mile this year and is expected to start in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes next Saturday at Ascot. Have to worry that two races in two weeks on two continents could take their toll.

So Beloved [50/1 – Dansili – David O’Meara – 41-6-5-7 - $407,681] Was a surprise runner-up in the Prix de la Foret. Facing less for most of his career with modest success, I would be surprised to see him make waves against these.

Suedois [10/1 – La Havre – O’Meara – 32-8-8-7 - $1,366,012] 'A Win and You're In' recipient with his upset win in the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) at Keeneland. While the effort was visually impressive, the horses he beat will be big prices in here, so other Euro invaders appear more appetizing.

World Approval [6/1 – Northern Afleet – 23-10-2-4 - $1,933,450] The final 'WAYI' entrant by winning the Woodbine Mile. He has flourished after cutting back from marathon distances. Look for the versatile grey to be in the thick of things turning for home.

Yoshida [20/1 – Heart’s Cry – Mott – 7-3-3-0 - $549,100] A Japanese-bred that has emerged on the scene with wins up and down the Eastern seaboard this season. While the future is bright for this youngster, don’t be surprised if Mott plays it conservative and puts him away until next year.

Zelzal [30/1 – Sea the Stars – Jean-Claude Rouget – 9-4-1-1 - $476,746] A lightly raced 4-year-old that has turned in some good efforts against top company while not finding the winner’s circle. This could be the longshot that adds to list of double-digit winners.

Meet Jasen Mangrum

My interest in the Sport of Kings goes back over 25 years with my father taking me with his friends to the old Ak-Sar-Ben Race Course in Omaha, Nebraska. From those early experiences I was able to read the Daily Racing Form before the age of 10. Once The Woodlands opened in Kansas City in 1988, I became totally hooked on the sport studying racing charts after homework and tennis practice.  In recent years, with the explosion of handicapping tournaments, my love for playing the races has risen to a new level. Primarily focused on New York, Chicago and Louisiana racing, I have now been forced to study races far and wide in attempt to find “cap horses” in the tournaments I play.  I have also dabbled in horse ownership within syndicates and on my own.

My fondest memories in racing include Silver Charm’s 1997 Kentucky Derby victory.  Both my father and I selected him, which made for a memorable day.  The best race I’ve seen was Tiznow’s first Breeders Cup Classic win in 2000 when he outdueled Giant’s Causeway down the length of the Churchill Downs stretch. My biggest windfall as a gambler was a pool-scooping Pick 4 win, paying over $6,600 at The Woodlands in 2005.

The point of this blog is to get everyone out there a few winners, but also to go in depth at how I come to the conclusions that I do. I encourage others to post picks they like, too, but please explain how you come to your conclusions. That way everyone can learn a little more about this great game, and add another weapon to their handicapping arsenal. Best of luck.

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