Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile & BC Mile Future Book

The global racing empire of Godolphin could make a huge impact in the Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland on Saturday, with their blue colours carried by last year’s BC Juvenile Turf winner Modern Games in the G1 Mile – up against fellow Europeans Dreamloper and Kinross and local hopes Annapolis and Regal Glory – and by the progressive Cody’s Wish in a hot G1 Dirt Mile that also features the hugely promising Laurel River plus G1 winners Cyberknife and Gunite. Here are Breeders’ Cup Mile & BC Mile Future Book Previews.

Breeders’ Cup Mile

G1, $2,000,000, 1m turf, 3yo+, Saturday 3.10pm ET

It may seem counter-intuitive but the Mile is not normally the preserve of the Europeans, just four races going for export in the last ten years, and although this year’s raiding party is strong the local talent is equally powerful.

The tourists lead the morning line, with favorite Modern Games (7-2) having already struck twice at G1 level on this side of the pond, infamously in last year’s Juvenile Turf when he ran for purse money only, and in the Woodbine Mile in September, when he cleared right away to beat last year’s Mile third Ivar (15-1) by five and a quarter lengths, with G1 course-and-distance winner Shirl’s Speight (30-1) a length and three-quarters away in fourth.

Last time out Modern Games was slightly disappointing when runner-up in the G1 Queen Elizabeth II at Ascot, but the tacky ground was a plausible reason and he is capable of bouncing back on faster terrain.

Going one better at Ascot was the hot-ticket Kinross (9-2), who has been almost untouchable at seven furlongs this year – beating Malavath (15-1) by an easy two lengths in the G1 Foret at Longchamp – and completed a four-timer when dropped to six furlongs in the G1 British Champions Sprint. He has a very similar profile to last year’s Mile winner Space Blues, but soft ground is important to Kinross and he almost certainly won’t get it here.

Another Brit to consider carefully is the mare Dreamloper (6-1), who is coming off a career-best victory in the G1 Moulin over a mile at Longchamp, when she hauled right off to beat the inconsistent 2020 Mile winner Order Of Australia (12-1) by five and a half lengths. She is a G1 winner over a mile-eighth and will keep coming down the lane.

The home defense is headed by Chad Brown’s two-pronged entry, with the tough mare Regal Glory (6-1) winner of the G1 Just A Game over a mile at Belmont Park in June. She was runner-up in a weakish G1 Fourstardave at Saratoga against males and isn’t an obvious contender in open company, while barnmate Domestic Spending (8-1) has been off the track since August 2021 and, despite his evident class, will need something very special to return at this level with a win. It’s possible, but his outside post isn’t positive.

The consistent Annapolis (10-1) will need to move up again from his victory in the G1 Coolmore Turf Mile over course and distance, with Ivar and Order Of Australia second and third, while the consistency shown by last year’s Mile runner-up Smooth Like Strait (10-1) is not the right sort – second six times and third once in his last seven starts. He’ll likely be a pace angle but it’s very hard to imagine him staying out there.

Breeders’ Cup Mile Betting Pick

This year the Europeans look best and multiple G1 winner MODERN GAMES can go back-to-back at the Breeders’ Cup. Fellow tourist Dreamloper is a major player, while Annapolis may be the pick of the home team.

Breeders Cup Odds

Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile

G1, $1,000,000, 1m main track, 3yo+, Saturday 1.10pm ET

The BC Dirt Mile is built upon a fascinating clash between relatively unexposed older horses and hard-knocking three-year-olds, horses cutting back and horses stretching out, the race at the mercy of whoever can make it work outside his comfort zone.

The favorite Cody’s Wish (5-2) has won six of his last seven starts and was runner-up in the other, making his G1 breakthrough when running down below-par champion sprinter Jackie’s Warrior in a fast-run Forego at Saratoga over seven furlongs, with Pipeline (8-1) fading into third in the closing stages, beaten three and a half lengths. A slow-burning colt typical of his trainer Bill Mott, there is more to come from Cody’s Wish and the return to a mile should suit.

Also coming off a strong effort at seven furlongs is California delegate Laurel River (9-2), who made his stakes breakthrough in impressive fashion in the G2 Pat O’Brien at Del Mar, drawing off to win by three and three-quarter lengths, with Senor Buscador (12-1) another three-quarter of a length back in third and likely to be happier over the mile at which he won the G3 Ack Ack at Churchill Downs last time when Three Technique (30-1) was well held in third. Laurel River is unbeaten in two in 2022 and there should be plenty of improvement in store.

We have already seen plenty from Cyberknife (9-2), a dual G1 winner and runner-up in the ten-furlong G1 Travers behind the top-class Epicenter. He threw in a tame effort last time, though, third in the mile-eighth G1 Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Racing after he couldn’t get near the lead, with the slightly regressive Kentucky Derby fourth Simplification (15-1) a head behind him.

Cyberknife will do better if able to race more prominently, although the cutback to a mile will really test his pace and he may not be quick enough (he’s never won at this distance).

Going the other way, neither has the thoroughly admirable Gunite (7-2), who has done all his winning at seven furlongs and comes off just a two-week layoff since an impressive success in a stakes here. The swift turnaround is likely not an issue, as two-year-old G1 winner Gunite is a regular tough cookie, but the extra yardage is obviously a concern in such a hot contest.

Kentucky Downs winner Law Professor (20-1) returned to the main track for the mile-eighth G1 Woodward at Aqueduct and pushed the outstanding Life Is Good all the way, going under by just a length and a quarter with Informative (30-1) a distant last of four. That form shouldn’t be taken literally, though, as Life Is Good was nowhere near his best.

Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile Betting Pick

Two very progressive four-year-olds take the eye – Laurel River has a big chance but CODY’S WISH remains a colt of huge potential and is almost certain to take another step forward. The hardy sprinter Gunite is a danger.

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