BC - Dirt Mile
October 29, 2013
By Anthony Stabile
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Welcome to Stabile’s 2013 Breeders’ Cup Breakdown, an in depth look into each and every Breeders’ Cup race to be held Friday, November 1st and Saturday, November 2nd at Santa Anita in Arcadia, CA. VegasInsider.com handicapper Anthony “the Big A” Stabile will take a look at the contenders in each event, talk about how the race should set-up and provide some strategies on how to get the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to betting on the race. If you want to know what Anthony will be betting on both Breeders’ Cup days, make sure to check back on Friday and Saturday to purchase Stabile’s Breeders’ Cup Picks and Plays of the Day, a look at how he’ll wager on each and every race, available EXCLUSIVELY on VegasInsider.com.
Breeders’ Cup Facts and Figures
Distance: 1 mile
Age: 3-Year-Olds and Up
Date: Friday, Nov. 1
Time: 6:05 p.m. EDT
Run around two turns at 1 mile and 70 yards in 2007 then on synthetic surface at Santa Anita in 2008 and 2009. Finally run at intended distance on dirt for first time in 2011.
Favorites: 0 for 6 (0%)
Shortest: $9.40 (Corinthian, 2007)
Highest: $77.40 (Dakota Phone, 2010)
The champ is here? No
Front Runners: Broadway Empire, Goldencents, Taptowne, Verrazano
Mid-pack: Alpha, Brujo de Olleros, Centralinteligence, Easter Gift, Fed Biz, Golden Tickets, Holy Lute, Pants On Fire
Closers: Hymn Book
The enigma that is VERRAZANO figures to be your tepid favorite in the Dirt Mile, a role that would have gone to his stablemate Graydar had he not been withdrawn earlier in the week when Todd Pletcher discovered a quarter crack that will force him to miss the race.
When he’s good, Verrazano is one of the most talented horses in training. He’s won six of his eight starts, all this year, including G1 scores in the Wood Memorial and Haskell. A two-turn mile, like the Dirt Mile, his first start against older horses, should be his best distance based on what he’s accomplished so far.
That’s if the good Verrazano shows. If the bad one does, the one that spit the bit on the turn in the Kentucky Derby when he didn’t appear to handle a wet track or, in what was even a more troubling effort; the one that inexplicably was empty on the turn in the Travers, shows up, you’ll need a good pair of binoculars to find him.
Oddly enough, the same can be said for Verrazano’s chief rival in here, fellow three-year-old GOLDENCENTS, who does have a bit of a home field advantage in here.
After an impressive juvenile season, capped off by a Delta Jackpot score, Goldencents came into this year as one of the future book favorites for the Derby and won his seasonal debut in the Sham from just off the pace. It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster ride ever since.
He got cooked in a speed duel in the San Felipe where he wound up fourth but rebounded nicely to win the Santa Anita Derby. Who knew that would turn out to be his most recent victory? He was awful in the Derby and bad in the Preakness but has finished second in all three of his starts since in sprints, including last out in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship. Trainer Doug O’Neill has opted to stretch him back out for this as opposed to keeping him around one turn.
Since dead-heating in the 2012 Travers, ALPHA has hit the board just one time in eight starts and that was two starts back when he set moderate fractions to win the Woodward over a sloppy track over his favorite track, Saratoga. Among those flops is a last place finish in the Classic last year, a couple of starts over the synthetic course in Dubai and last out in the Jockey Club Gold Cup.
BROADWAY EMPIRE has won three in a row since shedding blinkers, but they have come at Remington Park in their Derby and at Northlands Park in Canada where he won the Canadian Derby. He’ll be taking a huge jump in class and is making his first start against older horses.
BRUJO DE OLLEROS gave Graydar all he could handle in the Kelso last out, finishing just three parts of a length behind him having raced on the worst part of the track for most of the way while Graydar enjoyed the lead all to himself at this distance going one turn. Two starts back he won a minor stakes at Delaware around two turns. Overall, he’s won three times and placed twice in five starts at this distance.
CENTRALINTELIGENCE is making just his second start since mildly upsetting the Triple Bend, his lone G1 score, back in late June over the synthetic course at Hollywood Park. Last out he was a well beaten sixth in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship. His two tries against graded stakes company over this track haven’t been very good and he’s made just one start past seven furlongs in his career when he was off the board in a Del Mar allowance contest over two years ago.
EASTER GIFT is on the also eligible list and would need a scratch to draw into the race. He was fifth in the Kelso last out, his lone off the board finish going this distance in five starts. Earlier this year, Easter Gift won three in a row, including a minor Penn National stakes around two turns.
FED BIZ, next to last in this event as a sophomore last season, returns with a bit more of an impressive resume this year. Fed Biz won the San Fernando to start the year less than three weeks after finishing off the board in the Malibu. He lost five in a row before coming from far back to win the Pat O’Brien at Del Mar in his latest effort 10 weeks ago.
GOLDEN TICKET, the other half of the 2012 Travers dead-heat with Alpha, has won his lone start at the distance, taking a one turn allowance contest at Churchill earlier this year before he finished second to Fort Larned in the Foster. Last out, Golden Ticket managed a fourth place finish when he flattened out in the lane behind Mucho Macho Man in the 1 1/8 miles Awesome Again while making his first start in two months.
HOLY LUTE will be making his first start on what will presumably be a dry track, as his first three starts have come over synthetics and his last came over a sloppy track when he was third in the Indiana Derby at Indiana Downs. Two starts back, Holy Lute won a minor stakes at Del Mar going this distance in what was his first two turn try.
Speaking of dry tracks, HYMN BOOK has made 10 of his 25 starts over dry tracks but has yet to win one. Five of his eight wins, including his lone G1 score in the 2012 Donn, have come over wet strips while three have come on the lawn. Hymn Book finished well to be third in the Kelso, his first start with blinkers, but is winless in three starts at a mile
PANTS ON FIRE seeks the hat trick in here with a pair of wins in the Monmouth Cup and Ack Ack at Churchill already under his belt. He’s won three of his six starts overall this year and is the most accomplished runner in the field at this distance having won four of his seven starts at a mile, including his career-best Beyer last out.
TAPTOWNE will be making a jump in class as he searches for his first win at the distance. Second in the Ack Ack, Taptowne has never won a graded stakes and has made the bulk of his money running against far lesser competition.
I don’t think there will be an overwhelming favorite in here so you should get value on whoever you settle on. I think it comes down to whether you think one of the flashier sophomores can pull it off or not because if you can Verrazano and/or Goldencents out of the number, you’re looking at a big ticket.
Alpha is a two time G1 winner, will likely work out a great trip in behind the first bunch of speed, is coming into the Cup in far better shape than he did after a long, arduous season last year and should be 12-1 or so.
HORSE RACING EXPERT
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