Mr. Money officially enters the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile mix

October 09, 2019 11:45am
Since Mr. Money's runner-up finish in last month's Pennsylvania Derby (G1), connections that earlier this year didn't consider the Breeders' Cup an option instead debated which of two championship races they'd like to target.

To the $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic or $1 million Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile? Upon choosing the latter, trainer Bret Calhoun said Wednesday two factors swayed his camp.

"There's the unknown of a mile and a quarter, and there's been a lot of discussion about how deep that track is out there," Calhoun said of Santa Anita Park, which hosts the Nov. 1-2 Breeders' Cup.

"I think if it was a really fast track like it had been previously, that would have made the decision a little harder."

Mr. Money, a son of Goldencents campaigned by Chester Thomas' Allied Racing, rose to prominence over the summer with four straight Grade 3 victories. The last of them, the West Virginia Derby (G3), signaled to connections it was time to step up.

Under jockey Gabriel Saez, Mr. Money was keen to go in the Pennsylvania Derby, somewhat surprisingly thrown into the role of pace setter. He fended them all off except for longshot Math Wizard, who edged past for a neck victory at Parx Racing.

Thomas expressed safety concerns over the summer at Santa Anita, where a rash of equine fatalities during the winter/spring season made national news. The racetrack's deep condition Calhoun mentioned is part of the safety measures aimed at curbing breakdowns.

As for Mr. Money's Dirt Mile competition, overseas books make him the fourth choice in the race going by the best available price. But the three horses ahead of him -- Omaha Beach, Mitole and Catalina Cruiser -- continue to be connected to other Breeders' Cup events, making Mr. Money eligible to move up in the paper race.

The colt returned to work last Friday at his Churchill Downs base, breezing a half mile in 48.80 seconds.

"He bounced out of the race really good," Calhoun said. "This horse always puts quite a bit into his works -- works quicker then I want him to. I told the jock last week, '50 would be great, but I know that would be a dream. If you could not go less than 48, that would be fine.'

"I got him in 48 and 4 (fifths), and that was perfect, so we'll hope to repeat that this week, let him gallop out a little bit more, and then get more serious the next week."


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