2017 Breeders' Cup Mile Preview

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D.S. Williamson

October 24th, 2017

Most horseplayers with Breeders' Cup betting experience will tell you that the most difficult race to handicap during the 2-day card is the Breeders' Cup Mile. Run over Del Mar's turf course this year, the BC Mile appears even more wide-open than it has in recent years. There is no Tepin this year. No Wise Dan to build a Pick 4 ticket around. In fact, I'm hard-pressed to find the favorite.

To me, that's a good thing. A wide-open race means that if I do find the winner, like I did last year with Tourist, I can score big profit on the BC Mile. Check out my Top 4 picks for this year's Breeders' Cup Mile.

1. Ribchester

Lost to Persuasive in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Royal Ascot on Oct. 21. That should set Ribchester up for a nice run in the BC Mile. My guess, is that since he only ran on Oct. 21, plenty of horseplayers aren't going to back the classiest horse in the race. Per an article in the Sun, trainer Richard Fahey believes Ribchester will make the trip. Man, I hope he does!

2. Annals of Time

Trained by master grass horseman Chad Brown, Annals of Time only has an allowance race to his credit in 2017. Chad's like that. He comes from the new school where plenty of time between races is the best way to get a horse ready for a big win. Before he had won the Hollywood Derby at Del Mar in December of 2016, Annals of Time hadn't raced for two months.

Brown prepped the talented son of Temple City in an allowance at Belmont Park. He looked good enough in the race for me to believe he's got a huge shot in the Breeders' Cup Mile.

3. Ballagh Rocks

I thought he had the win in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile. At the top of the stretch, he certainly looked like a winner to me. The Shadwell Turf Mile was Ballagh Rocks second third place finish in a row. He had also finished third to World Approval in the Fourstardave at Saratoga.

He could be coming up to best race of his form cycle. Is he good enough to beat these? I don't know. I do know that after Ribchester, and possibly Annals of Time, the Mile is wide-open. I also know he'll offer overlaid odds on Breeders' Cup Mile day.

4. World Approval

Winning the Woodbine Mile is always a big deal. If he runs as close to the pace in the BC Mile, he could have some issues. That's the first problem. The second problem is that he's run two fantastic races in a row. I don't see him putting together another top effort. This is especially true if Ribchester shows up for the Breeders' Cup Mile.

*Bonus: Best Out of this World Longshot - Blackjackcat

I've seen odds of 30 to 1 on Blackjackcat to win the Breeders' Cup Mile. What it means is that his off odds could be up to 40 to 1. He's won 3 races in a row, including the Grade 2 Del Mar Mile Handicap. I get that he must fire his absolute best ever to have a shot versus these. But, let's be honest, outside of Ribchester, is there a horse in the BC Mile that doesn't have to fire its best ever to win? I don't think so.

Blackjackcat pulled away in the Obviously Mile. That was nothing more than a prep for this. He's a must use in all exotics because if he takes a step forward, he could contend for at least a Top 3 placing.