Breeders' Cup Mile 2019: Projected field and odds

October 21, 2019 10:22am

The longtime dominance of international horses in the Breeders’ Cup Mile has subsided somewhat this decade, as last year’s win by Expert Eye for trainer Sir Michael Stoute was just the second since 2010 by a horse based outside of the U.S. 

This year’s chances for the international contingent and all involved could rest on whether Bricks and Mortar, who is undefeated this year and a top contender for Horse of the Year in North America, races in the $2 million Mile at Santa Anita on Nov. 2 or goes 1 ½-miles in the $4 million Breeders’ Cup Turf later on the card. Trainer Chad Brown most recently indicated he is leaning toward the Turf. 

As for this year’s European contingent, the two biggest threats appear to be Circus Maximus from trainer Aiden O’Brien’s Ballydoyle yard in County Tipperary and the Stoute-trained Mustashry for Godolphin Racing.

Super Screener
 insight: The closer dominance seen in this race across other venues has not been as prevalent when the Mile is run at Santa Anita. A sharp presser or close up off-the-pace type can win this race as Wise Dan and the immortal Goldikova did in previous editions. Click here for more secrets to winning on the Breeders’ Cup.

Below is a look at the prospective field with odds that will not balance given entries aren’t set, but instead reflect the type of price we expect each horse to go off at on race day.

Bowies Hero, 12-1 [Artie Schiller, Phil D’Amato, 21: 8-1-3, $1,478,970]: 
This Santa Anita-based runner shipped east and rallied from off the pace to win the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) over Diamond Oops by a half-length on Oct. 5 at Keeneland. The 5-year-old horse also has a win in this year’s Del Mar Handicap (G2) on his resume. A three-time winner over the Santa Anita turf course, he could impact the exotics with a proper pace setup but always needs to manage his way through traffic.  

Bricks and Mortar, 3-1 [Giant’s Causeway, Chad Brown, 12: 10-0-2, $4,885,650]: 
Brown could send Bricks and Mortar a career-long 12 furlongs in the Turf or choose this spot at a previous winning distance for the leading Horse of the Year candidate. In any event, the superlatives are many for this 5-year-old horse. He is unbeaten in five starts this season, which includes four Grade 1 wins, the most recent coming in the Arlington Million (G1) on Aug. 10. He is also a perfect 3-for-3 going a flat mile.

Caribou Club, 20-1 [City Zip, Thomas Proctor, 21: 9-2-4, $673,427]: 
This is a multiple graded stakes winner who has won his last two starts, the most recent being the BWI Turf Cup (G3) at Laurel on Sept. 21. While he’s in good form and boasts a 2-for-3 mark on the Santa Anita lawn, this 5-year-old gelding has yet to prove he’s Grade 1 caliber. Anything more than a minor award would be a surprise. 

Circus Maximus, 7-2 [Galileo, Aidan O’Brien, 10: 4-1-1, $1,063,241]: 
The potential race favorite, this 3-year-old has won two Group 1s in Europe this year for the powerful O’Brien stable. Since finishing off the board in the Epsom Derby to start the year, the colt has gone on to win the St. James Palace (G1) at Ascot by a neck and the one-mile Prix du Moulin de Longchamp (G1) by a nose, in addition to missing by just a half-length when second in the Sussex Stakes (G1) Goodwood. All of those were at a flat mile. This guy has battled with the best and looms a major threat.  

El Tormenta
, 15-1 [Stormy Atlantic, Gail Cox, 13: 4-3-0, $774,356]: The 4-year-old gelding pulled off a 44-1 shocker when overcoming trouble to best Got Stormy by a half-length in the Woodbine Mile (G1) on Sept. 14. He was momentarily blocked in the stretch but found a seam late and just got up to beat the favored filly. That was his first time trying a flat mile on the grass since June of last year and improved his record at the distance to 2-for-3 with a second. This is obviously his preferred trip, but whether he can replicate that career-best effort against the world's best remains to be seen. 

Got Stormy
, 5-1 [Get Stormy, Mark Casse, 16: 7-2-3, $910,578]This 4-year-old filly stepped up to beat males on Aug. 10 in the Fourstardave Handicap (G1) at Saratoga prior to running second to El Tormenta in the Woodbine Mile. It’s possible this gal “bounced” in the Woodbine, as that effort followed a rigorous August at Saratoga that saw her also win the De La Rose just one week prior to also taking the Fourstardave. The extended seven-week gap between the Woodbine Mile and Breeders’ could help provide for a bounce-back effort.

Line of Duty, 15-1 [Galileo, Charlie Appleby, 10: 3-2-3, $829,999]: 
This high-priced Godolphin colt won last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Churchill Downs but has been largely a disappointment in his sophomore season. He’s 0-for-5 on the year, and in his last three efforts were third in the Prix Jacques le Marois (G1), Prix du Moulin de Longchamp (G1) and most recently the Prix Dollar (G2) at Longchamp on Oct. 5. He seems a cut below some of the other European invaders.

Mustashry, 10-1 [Tamayuz, Sir Michael Stoute, 21: 9-3-1, $757,581]: The
6-year-old gelding, who earlier this year won the Lockinge Stakes (G1) in Great Britain, enters off a sharp 1 ¼-length win in the seven-furlong Challenge Stakes (G2) at Newmarket on Oct. 11. The chart for that race notes he made virtually all of the running on the soft going and stayed on strong under jockey Jim Crowley. That notable effort followed an ill-fated attempt to stretch out to 1 ¼-miles in the Eclipse Stakes (G1), a futile effort against the likes of winner Enable and runner-up Magical. This is a proven Group 1 horse at this distance conditioned by last year’s winning trainer, who saddled Expert Eye. He is an exotics threat at the very least.

Prince Earl, 25-1 [Paddy O’ Prado, Phil D’Amato, 6: 3-0-1, $248,778]: 
The connections are hoping this California-bred gelding can make the starting gate off just two productive starts this season. The 4-year-old returned from an 8 ½-month layoff to win the one-mile Del Mar Handicap (G2) on Aug. 18 and came back to be a game third by a neck to True Valour in the City of Hope Mile (G2) at Santa Anita on Oct. 5. While this guy obviously has talent, and will be racing in his own backyard, he’s giving up plenty of experience to this seasoned group.  

Raging Bull
, 15-1 [Dark Angel, Chad Brown, 12: 5-2-2, $920,750]: This 4-year-old colt was pinched back to last at the start of the Woodbine Mile and was later “impeded,” as the trip notes indicate, before finally being beaten just 1 ¼ lengths at the wire. He was later moved up one spot to third via disqualification. While there is certainly an excuse for that effort, this colt has lost all five starts this year and has yet to really replicate the form of his win in last year’s Hollywood Derby (G1) at Del Mar. With that said, he is conditioned by the best turf trainer in North America, and a hot pace would set things up nicely for this Peter Brant runner. 

Space Traveller, 20-1 [Bated Breath, Richard Fahey, 13: 4-2-2, $268,332]: 
This 3-year-old is a two-time group stakes winner this year with his most recent effort being a win at 6-1 in the one-mile Solonaway Stakes (G2) at Leopardstown on Sept. 14. In seven starts this year, he has not tried Group 1 competition. The colt is in good form but will be facing a stiff class test.

True Valour
, 22-1 [Kodiak, Simon Callaghan, 19: 5-2-6, $355,219]: This 5-year-old horse, who arrived in the U.S. from Europe last summer, has made just three starts this season and just one since February. Shelved after winning the one-mile Thunder Road (G3) at Santa Anita on Feb. 9, he returned to win the City of Hope from off the pace at 16-1. This horse hails from a sharp barn and could be set for a big step forward second start off the layoff at big odds.

Uni
, 6-1 [More than Ready, Chad Brown, 16: 9-2-3, $1,241,872]: This 5-year-old mare set a new Keeneland course record when blistering one mile in 1:32 ? to win the First Lady Stakes (G1) by 2 ½-lengths on Oct. 5. That was her third start off a six-month layoff following a win in the Perfect Sting Stakes at Belmont in June and a third-place finish behind Got Stormy in the Fourstardave. This gal’s speed rating’s have crept upward in each start, and if there’s a solid pace up front, she could make a big impact. 

There are several others under consideration for the Mile. Bolo, who won a free entry based off his win in the Shoemaker Mile (G1) earlier this year, figures to go at long odds with a “Win and You’re In” entry. Bandua, Restrainedvengence and Catapult are among other potential U.S. runners, while Lord Glitters and Suedois look like Europeans eligible to run.

 

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