For all the variation of races that the Breeders’ Cup offers, the Turf Mile may be the one that requires the most pure athletic ability. Despite its categorization as a route race, (any race over a mile) it is essentially more of an extended sprint race. Add to that the tight turns found in the North American tracks and the best turf milers take on the role as halfback in football or the two-guard on a basketball team.
It is perhaps those reasons that the last couple of years have seen the best horses in the world run the in the Turf Mile. Horses like Wise Dan, Goldikova, and of course the brilliant Frankel (although he did not run in the Breeders’ Cup) were all mile specialists. It is perhaps this reason that the Mile has overtaken the Turf Classic as the penultimate race before the main feature, The Breeders’ Cup Classic.
This years running was to be no different, in fact it was on schedule to legitimize the races stature to an even higher level.
This years running of the Mile was supposed to be billed as an occasion to see if Wise Dan could win his third Breeders’ Cup in a row. That accomplishment would have put the 7-year-old gelding in elite company with the aforementioned Goldikova. However the horse racing gods would not be so kind as to offer racing fans such a treat as Wise Dan was sidelined with an injury, his second of the year. Time takes its toll on the most mightiest athletes, even the powerful Wise Dan.
His absence will leave a large gap in the way of star power, however what it loses in star power it gains in turning the Breeders’ Cup Mile into a very interesting betting race. First of all, in Wise Dan’s absence the race draws a full field of 14 horses.
Toronado (Ire) – Perhaps the most accomplished in this field. The four-year-old is out of two-time Breeders Cup Turf winner High Chaparral who was famously involved in a dead heat at Santa Anita in 2003. Toronado has run against the very best competition in the world, being entered in seven consecutive Group 1 races in France and Great Britain. In his last race he ran second to the highly talented Charmed Spirit.
Anodin (Ire) – A full brother to Goldikova, Anodin is trained by the same trainer Freddie Head. If the odds to produce a filly that can win three open company Breeders’ Cup races in a row is high, then the odds for the same parents to produce another Breeders’ champion are practically insurmountable. Although certainly talented, Anodin has had the misfortune of inheriting the pressure to replicate what his sister did.
Mustajeeb (GB) – Coming out of Shadwell Stables by way of Great Britain is Mustajeeb. The improving three year old seems at home running at seven furlongs to a mile. The son of Nayef really stepped up his game in the Jersey Stakes in this years meet at Ascot. Following that race Mustajeeb was turned back by a gallant effort by Bow Creek in the G2 Boomerang Mile.
Obviously (Ire) – Irish bred has spent the majority of his career in California, so there is little question about his ability to handle a fast track. Obviously’s career took off when trainer Phillip D’Amato stretched him out from running in sprint races on the turf and synthetic to the mile. His natural speed was an advantage on the Southern California tracks. With Joe Talamo up, Obviously has reeled off 10 Beyer Speed Figures of over 100 while winning 8 of 12 races at the distance. Fifth place in last years Breeders Cup was a result of suicide fractions of :21early on. Two years ago his :23 was good enough for third.
Sayeed – 30-1 sleeper has been knocking on the door all year. Consistent East Coast runner gets his chance at a fast turf coarse. Ran deceptively well in the 4StarDave despite a fifth places finish, found himself in no-mans land in-between the speedy Silver Max and the rest of the field. In his last prep race for this he found himself on a drying heavy turf in the Shadwell Turf Mile. He again ran a sneaky good race holding on for third, and losing to a horse named Wise Dan.
1. Grand Arch – 20-1
2. Obviously (Ire) – 8-1
3. Veda (Fr) – 12-1
4. Mustajeeb (GB) – 6-1
5. Toronado (Ire) – 5-2
6. Tom’s Tribute – 5-1
7. Kaigun – 20-1
8. Trade Storm (GB) 12-1
9. Anodin (Ire) 6-1
10. Summer Front – 30-1
11. Sayaad – 30-1
12. Seek Again – 6-1
13. Tourist – 12-1
14. Karakontie (Jpn) – 10-1