- I don't like the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (and Seventy Yards); at least this year. (Next year, it will be the Cushion Track Mile.) If it were a one-turn mile race, that would be different. That's kind of a hybrid sprint/route that offers a test of speed and stamina, and still a rather unique distance that's only offered at a handful of tracks.
But with the past performances now out courtesy of DRF (and your five bucks), a look at the race shows a bunch of Classic-wannabees running at a run-of-the mill distance; a distinctly unspectacular group in my opinion. I mean, you might as well throw Magna Graduate and Sun King into the mix. It would make for a fine Grade 2, but a Breeders' Cup race?
Perhaps a better idea would be to run it annually in place of what is now the Cigar Mile at the Big A on the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend. There's no rule that the races all have to be run at the same place on the same day (see harness racing's Breeders' Crown). That would ensure that it's always run at a proper one-turn route, and a little annual mini-BC in New York towards the end of the year would add a lot of spice before the pre-Santa Anita/Gulfstream lull. Wacky idea? Maybe we need a little wackiness in the sport these days.
Having said that, with Discreet Cat expected to be the favorite, the race looks like a prime betting opportunity. The Cat just did not show much in his return, and I'll take a shot against him even with this group. There are at least some sharp runners with proven two-turn form such as Diamond Stripes, Lewis Michael, and Xchanger in the field.
- Pletcher still has not won with a two-year old first timer in New York since August 3; and not since June 15 with one on the dirt. But out-of-town, it's just like the old days, and he scored yesterday at Keeneland with 9-1 Monba (Maria's Mon - Hamba).
- Barclay Tagg is being a bit of a grump about Nobiz Like Shobiz, doncha think?
“I haven’t yet seen the past performances and who is going to run....I will talk with (owner Elizabeth Valando). He’s got to run against older horses and I am not too keen on that. Also, there are no accolades for 3-year-old turf horses. The 3-year-old dirt horses get the awards.” [Bloodhorse]C'mon man, lighten up! Isn't a win in the Breeders' Cup worth a little something, even if it doesn't bring an Eclipse?