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Sunday, October 21, 2007


- The Mile is probably the race that will be determined to the most extent by the post position draw. With a field of 14, even with a long run to the first turn, the outside horses will need some fancy riding to save ground going into the tight turns on the grass course. So it's impossible really to pick a winner before the posts are drawn. Not to mention the fact that the weather forecast has turned for the worse, and a soft course seems a possibility.

One thing that strikes me about the race is that there is really not too much in the way of early speed. So it's possible that a speedy type such as Remarkable News or Precious Kitten might be able to overcome an outside draw. I don't feel however that either is good enough to take the top prize. Any closer is going to need quite a bit of racing luck to get through, so getting value is paramount.

You have some solid milers amongst the U.S. entries taking on Aidan O'Brien's Excellent Art (Pivotal), who has twice finished close behind Ramonti, now considered the best miler in Europe by virtue of those wins. This writer in the UK's Daily Star feels that he was left with too much to do by Jamie Spencer in those races. He raced closer to the pace with different riders at two than he has with Spencer in 2007. Johnny Murtaugh rides here. No doubt he's talented, but he's going to need quite a bit of racing luck if he's going to close from far back.

Better value on a European may be Jeremy, who has a similar running style, and finished just a nose behind Ramonti himself in the Queen Anne. He comes with less hype and is likely to present significantly more value than Excellent Art, who he finished just 1 3/4 behind in the Sussex. And he picks up Frankie Dettori too.

Amongst the Americans, I'm quite enamored of Trippi's Storm (Trippi), who I picked on the Breeders' Cup site in the Kelso, a rare recent success for yours truly. He seemed to really benefit cutting back from those marathon races, gaining conditioning and saving his energy for a powerful closing kick. Now, the turf course has been rock hard for most of the meeting and has produced fast final and come home times. But it's gotta be worth noting that he closed in 44.78 for the final half.

And if I like Trippi's Storm, I also gotta like After Market (Storm Cat). He was widest of all turning for home in the Kelso, also cutting back to a mile from marathons, and he closed in 44.63. He shipped back to Hollywood, and worked five furlongs in a minute flat on Friday; John Sherriffs called it a "maintenance work." With good posts, these two could make for a generous U.S. exacta should the Euros falter.

It looks like Nobiz Like Shobiz (Albert the Great) will run in the Mile, and get the services of John Velazquez. "The [Mile] started to look more and more interesting if we thought if we had a shot to win it." [DRF] This three-year old really seemed to be starting to get it in the stretch of the Jamaica, and he certainly relished the turf, rallying confidently for the win. But he's never faced older horses before; this will be a whole new ballgame, and I think it's a tough task. Y'know, Tagg doesn't have to run him against Grade 1 older horses if he doesn't want to!

I had soured on Kip Deville (Kipling), and singled him out to bet against in the Woodbine Mile, where he finished a game second to the absent Shakespeare. Perhaps he's regained the form that made him a Grade 1 winner in the Kilroe in March; his connections certainly think so considering he had to be supplemented. I didn't at all like his prior race, at Monmouth however, in which he had little excuse after saving ground. As it did at Woodbine, his tactical speed should serve him very well in this field with a good draw, but I'm thinking exotics for him.

Purim seems like a possibility to hit the board at a nice price off his qualifying win in the Shadwell. He definitely seems back to his top form after his throat surgery earlier in the year. He worked in 59.40 on Sunday at Keeneland and Tom Proctor said he "worked like a champion."