Breeders Cup Dirt Mile Trends
The third new race in a row to be run on Friday's Breeders Cup card is the Dirt Mile, or 'Dirty Mile' as it's become known. As the name suggests, it's a main track race over a mile, and it was first run in 2007 on the Monmouth Park slop. That gives us six renewals to review for a profile.
As with many of the dirt races, this is almost completely a domestic affair with just Aidan O'Brien's Mastercraftsman and Charles O'Brien's Lord Admiral attempting to steal the pot. The former finished fourth as the 13/8 favourite. There has been a quartet of Saeed bin Suroor-trained runners over the years, but they've all been exclusively raced outside of Europe, and housed in a satellite barn in America, so hardly count as European contenders.
This is a race that has paid out some tasty dividends to date, with Furthest Land scoring at $44.60 (to a $2 stake), Dakota Phone hitting the wire at $77.40, and Tapizar paying $32.60 last year. The average payout over the six years is a little over 15/1, so don't be afraid to go with a 'rag' in this one.
The first five winners of the BC Dirt Mile were all going back in distance from a last time out start at beyond a mile. That looked significant until Tapizar blitzed them from the front last year. But the 'turn back' tactic still looks of interest, so look for a horse that ran beyond a mile last time.
All six winners had five or more races that season, and match fitness seems important too. Most runners will pass this test, but some generally will not, and they shouldn't be excused.
Four of the six winners were aged four, and the other two were a year older and a year younger respectively. It seems smart to favour three- to five-year-olds over their elders.
All six winners had previously run in a Grade 1 at a mile or further. In this sub-championship event, that is again a discriminatory factor and there will be some that cannot boast an attempt at top class.
Breeders Cup Dirt Mile Key Prep Races
There are three 'Win And You're In' (WAYI) races for the Dirt Mile: the Triple Bend, run over seven furlongs at Hollywood Park; the Pat O'Brien Stakes, also run over seven at Del Mar; and, the Kelso Handicap, run over a mile at Belmont Park.
This year's winners were Centralinteligence, Fed Biz, and Graydar respectively.
Last year, Tapizar exited the Kelso, but off a poor effort when a tailed off sixth. None of the previous five winners had figures in any of those WAYI contests.
However, two had placed third in the Grade 1 Awesome Again (formerly Goodwood) Stakes on their prior start, and that race is definitely worth a second glance, despite the main placed horses generally heading for the Breeders Cup Classic itself.
Paynter, Soi Phet, and Golden Ticket were second, third and fourth behind runaway winner, Mucho Macho Man, and it might be Golden Ticket that is best suited to a slightly shorter trip than this nine furlong affair. He was the one well placed but running out of gas in the final 220 yards.