$2,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) at Santa Anita Park
Race 9 (Saturday, November 2, 2019: 6:20 p.m./ET; 3:20 p.m./PT)
One mile on the turf (three-year-olds and upward)
As usual, The TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) shapes up as one of the most competitive races on the Breeders’ Cup Saturday card. Beginning the guaranteed $2 million Late Pick 4 pool, the race features a full field of 14 and a number of European shippers. Let’s put our handicapping hats on and pick a winner:
#1 SUEDOIS (FR) comes off a three-quarter length loss in the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) at Keeneland behind #14 BOWIE’S HERO. In the last two years, he has visited the winners circle just once, with that lone win occurring in August against Group 3 company in Great Britain.
#2 LUCULLAN wheels back in three weeks after a victory racing a mile-and-an-eighth in the Knickerbocker (G2) at Belmont Park. Two starts ago, he finished third behind #8 EL TORMENTA and #6 GOT STORMY in the Woodbine Mile (G1).
#3 SPACE TRAVELLER (GB) comes into this race off a win in the Group 2 Solonaway Stakes in Ireland, in which this Richard Fahey trainee was making his first start going one mile that day. He likes to sit of the pace and make one run, so he will do his best running in the latter stages of the race.
#4 TRAIS FLUORS (GB) is another European entrant (who adds Lasix, unlike #3 SPACE TRAVELLER). Son of top-class stallion DANSILI comes off a third-place finish as the beaten favorite in a field of five in the mile-and-a-quarter La Coupe de Maisons Laffitte (G3) in France. Four of his six lifetime wins have come at one mile.
#5 TRUE VALOUR (IRE) returned off an eight-month vacation in the City of Hope Mile (G2) last month and at odds of 16/1, he defeated a solid field of 11, which included last year’s Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) runner up CATAPULT. He’ll be going against a much deeper group this time around and one has to wonder whether he might regress after such a hard-fought effort off the layoff.
#6 GOT STORMY defeated #11 UNI in the Fourstardave (G1) at Saratoga two starts ago, a race in which she earned a 108 Beyer Speed Figure. One month later, she returned to the races and prepped for this run with a gallant second place finish in the Woodbine Mile (G1) behind #8 LA TORMENTA. This gal has finished in-the-money in all six starts this year and her two-back effort was sensational. A repeat of that effort probably wins this race.
#7 BOLO won the Shoemaker Mile (G1) in May but has been well beaten in two starts since then, including last time out when he finished seven lengths behind #5 TRUE VALOUR in the City of Hope Mile (G2). Five of his six career wins have come on this turf course, but his poor recent form is a major concern.
#8 EL TORMENTA sprung a massive 44/1 upset in the Woodbine Mile (G1) on September 14. Whether he has the ability to repeat an effort of such high quality remains a question mark as he had never run a race like that before. However, backers will once again get a decent price on him if they still believe.
#9 CIRCUS MAXIMUS (IRE) set this as an end of the year target for trainer Aidan O’Brien. Son of GALILEO races on Lasix for the first time, adds blinkers and gets the services of O’Brien’s go-to rider Ryan Moore after a nose win in the Prix de Moulin de Longchamp (G1) in France over soft ground. Obviously a major player.
#10 WITHOUT PAROLE (GB) makes his first start in America for trainer Chad Brown after moving to the U.S. from the yard of John Gosden. He won the St. James’s Palace Stakes (G1) in 2018 but has failed to be competitive in four Group 1 events in Europe since then. Brown is a fantastic turf trainer, as we all know, and he is the kind of conditioner that can turn a back-class horse like this around. 20/1 morning line shot merits a second look.
#11 UNI (GB) is the second Chad Brown entrant in the race. Daughter of MORE THAN READY was a no-doubt about it runaway winner of the First Lady (G1) against fillies and mares last month but was third best behind #6 GOT STORMY in the Fourstardave (G1) two races ago. She was supplemented into this race by her connections, so clearly they feel this gal can be competitive. She likes to sit towards the rear and make one run and there is ample speed for her to run at. Logical contender.
#12 LORD GLITTERS (FR) won the Queen Anne Stakes (G1) by a neck at 14/1 in June at Royal Ascot but has finished off the board in three Group 1 races since then. Should be considered as part of the second-tier group of European contenders entered.
#13 HEY GAMAN (GB) will be navigated by world renowned jockey Frankie Dettori. James Tate trainee has failed to win in four starts at this one-mile distance, although he did hit the board on one occasion in a Group 1 race last year. His last win came five starts ago sprinting seven furlongs in a Group 3 race in France.
#14 BOWIES HERO draws the far outside post after a terrific win in the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1), a race in which he finished ahead of #1 SUEDOIS. Jockey Flavien Prat will have to work out a good trip from this poor post position.
#15 CARIBOU CLUB needs one defection to draw into the race.
#16 NEXT SHARES needs two scratches to draw into the main body of the field.
1. #11 UNI - Six-for-seven at distance and coming into this off a huge win.
2. #9 CIRCUS MAXIMUS - Has terrific form at a mile overseas.
3. #4 TRAIS FLUORS - Group 1 placed French-bred is versatile and cuts back in distance.
LONGSHOT VALUE PLAY-#10 WITHOUT PAROLE - The ‘other’ Chad Brown.
I’ll make a straight win bet on my top choice and box my top three picks in exactas.
BANKROLL PLAY ($50 Budget)
$10 Win: #11 UNI
$5 Exacta Box: #4 TRAIS FLUORS and #9 CIRCUS MAXIMUS and #11 UNI ($30).
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