This year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile has more questions than answers. Is Mor Spirit (#6, 3-1) in the same form he was in when winning the Met Mile following a layoff and sketchy work pattern? Are Sharp Azteca (#3, 9/2), Practical Joke (#10, 6-1) and Awesome Slew (#5, 12-1) capable of winning a major race around two turns? Can Battle of Midway (#9, 10-1) step up to this level of competition?
The most dependable horse is Accelerate (#8, 7/2), who will look to sit just outside of Sharp Azteca and finish with plenty of bottom while shortening up from a mile and a quarter. Accelerate has improved dramatically with blinkers, is 3 for 4 at Del Mar and 2 for 4 at the mile distance. There are no Arrogate’s or Collected’s in this race and Accelerate should give John Sadler his first Breeders’ Cup victory.
Sharp Azteca is in raging form and will not be easy to pass, even going two turns. Battle of Midway won emphatically in her only start going one mile at Del Mar and should sit a perfect trip just behind the speed. He has a very similar pattern to that of Gun Runner going into last year’s Dirt Mile. Gun Runner ran second and Battle of Midway could easily do the same.
Practical Joke is better around one turn, but he is an honest horse that has enough talent to get a piece of the action. Mor Spirit, on the other hand, is likely to either win or be off the board with his puzzling pattern and admission from Baffert that he bounced as much as he has ever seen following the Met Mile.
$1 Exacta Box (6,8)
$1 Exacta Box (3,8)
$1 Exacta Box (8, 9)
$1 Trifecta (8 / 3,9,10 / 1,3,9,10)
$0.50 Trifecta (3,6,9 / 8 / 1,3,9,10)