Breeders' Cup 2012: Dirt Mile preview

Shackleford - Rob Carr

Shackleford seeks to avenge his runner-up defeat in the 2011 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile.

Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile
1 Mile, Dirt
Three-years-old and up

Day: Saturday, Nov. 3rd
Post Time: 4:14pm ET

Depending on the track where the Breeders' Cup is taking place, the Dirt Mile can be a one-turn or a two-turn race. At Churchill Downs the last two years, it was a one-turn race. At Santa Anita, the Dirt Mile is a two-turn affair. While that doesn't seem like an overly big deal, some horses are simply better at running one-turn as opposed to two-turns, or vice versa.

Shackleford is an excellent miler and has won some of the biggest races in the country at the distance over the last two years (G1-Met Mile), but his best races in that time frame have come on a one-turn configuration. The last time Shackleford won a two-turn race was the 2011 Preakness, sine then is is 0-for-6.

Emcee is very speed son of Unbridled's Song that opted for the Dirt Mile over the Sprint, a curious move for a horse that's never run a mile in his career. He won't get things his own way on the front end and might be gasping for air by the time the field rolls off the far turn.

Fed Biz is a lightly raced son of Giant's Causeway trained by powerhouse Southern California trainer Bob Baffert. He's a perfect 2-for-2 at Santa Anita in his five-race career with both wins coming at the distance of one mile.

Rail Trip has won three times at Santa Anita in his career, but never over dirt (all his prior wins were over the old synthetic surface that is long gone).

The Pick

I originally planned to play Nonios in this year's Dirt Mile but his connections opted to run him in the Classic instead of the Dirt Mile leaving me with a whole lot of nothing. The appeal of Nonois was his ability to close from off the pace in what should be a race with a solid early pace. With him out of the race, I had to look for another closer and ended up on ... well, there isn't a true closer in the field other than long shot Second City, so that plan is out the window.

Fed Biz ran a bit of a flat race in the G2-Indiana Derby, but I'm willing to give him a pass on that race given the wet track at Hoosier Park that day. If jockey Joe Talamo can get Fed Biz to settle down in the early stages, sitting just off Emcee through the first half mile, he could have a big shot at the win.

5-Fed Biz (6/1)
6-Shackleford (2/1)
9-Second City (30/1)

The Field

Post Horse Jockey Trainer ML Odds
1 Rail Trip J. Valdivia R. Ellis 10/1
2 Delegation P. Husbands M. Casse 12/1
3 Jersey Town J. Castellano B. Tagg 4/1
4 John Scott V. Espinoza C. Gaines 12/1
5 Fed Biz J. Talamo B. Baffert 6/1
6 Shackleford R. Dominguez D. Romans 2/1
7 Emcee A. Garcia K. McLaughlin 5/2
8 Tapizar C. Nakatani S. Asmussen 12/1
9 Second City M. Gutierrez B. Cecil 30/1

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