Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile

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TVG Analyst: Gabby Gaudet 

The conversation for this year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile undoubtedly begins with #5 OMAHA BEACH. It’s been a long road for trainer Richard Mandella to get him back after having to scratch as the favorite for Kentucky Derby. The patience paid off in the Santa Anita Sprint. He is a horse that possesses a lot of natural speed, but what makes him so impressive is that it is a controlled speed. As soon as Mike Smith asked him to turn it down a notch in the beginning, he did. And when he asked him to turn it up again at the top of the lane, he did. Since then, he’s looked sensational. He carries his weight well, he has a good mind and he is an extremely intelligent animal. I along with many others am excited to see him able to come back and participate in the Breeders’ Cup. 

Let me step aside and play devil’s advocate for a second. I recently revisited an article from the Daily Racing Form written by Jay Privman with the following quote from Mandella: 

“Six furlongs to a mile and a quarter a month later against the best in the world, I don’t know that there’s enough time, but I wouldn’t rule it out. My concern is that he had a pretty hard race. It was a big effort after a long time off. I don’t know that I have enough time to fill the tank back up.”

Yes, that of course was in reference to entering in the Classic, but couldn’t the same concern be applied for the Dirt Mile? Omaha Beach ran HARD. He’s coming back less than one month later and he’s stretching to two turns whereas his main threats are cutting back in distance. 

One of those main threats is #2 IMPROBABLE and Bob Baffert has been very bullish on how he is coming into the race. You could argue that he could’ve won the PA Derby with a better break and an outside trip as the rail was not really the place to be that day. And you could argue that he’s better at a mile. Sometimes Improbable lets his mind get in the way of his chances, however. He threw his head when the gates opened in the PA Derby and did the same in the Preakness. On Saturday he’ll be one of the first horses to load and plenty of time for him to think too much. 

So…if I’m going to take a shot against Omaha Beach, it’ll be with a horse that will offer higher odds. Mr. Money has been a very useful horse for Bret Calhoun this year, and he’s gotten most of his wins at a distance that I think stretches a bit far from his sweet spot. If you believe that the rail wasn’t the place to be on PA Derby day, well, he was on it. And it seems like his year has been spent building his confidence to reach a crescendo in his toughest race yet. He also looks like a horse that can get an ideal trip, sitting mudpack behind speed that could come from Coal Front and Blue Chipper. 

I also wouldn’t be opposed to using Spun to Run in some exotic plays. I think he’s looked excellent since arriving at Santa Anita. He’s has good energy and seems like he wants to do more than what the rider lets him do every day. 

As a fan, I’ll be so pleased to see Omaha Beach romp in the Dirt Mile, but it is also Breeders’ Cup and we’re here to make some money…so why not try to make it with none other than #4 MR. MONEY. 

#4. Mr. Money
#5. Omaha Beach
#2. Improbable


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