Homeracing

After Tepin's Loss the Breeders' Cup Mile Looks Wide Open

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D.S. Williamson

October 15th, 2016

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Tepin winning the Endeavour (Photography by Tampa Bay Downs)



Tepin's loss to Photo Call in the First Lady at Keeneland about a week ago was a shock. But was it a sign that this year's Breeders' Cup Mile is wide open?  Or, was it just a case of Tepin letting a talented, classy, horse get away with an easy lead? If Tepin is to lose this year's Breeders' Cup Mile, I think one of these 5 horses is going to be the equine that beats her.

 

Midnight Storm

This son of Pioneerof thenile has won 3 straight races. He took home the Shoemaker Mile on June 4. On July 17, he won the Grade 2 Eddie Read. On August 21, he won the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap. Granted, the turf course at Santa Anita is "new", but Midnight Storm's style, close to the pace or on the lead, demands respect. He's got a big shot to go gate to wire in the Breeders' Cup Mile.

Alice Springs

The Aidan O'Brien trained 3-year old filly has won 2 straight Group 1 races in a row. She's also being considered for the BC Filly and Mare Turf. I doubt that  happens since Alice Springs has raced in seven straight mile races on the turf. O'Brien is one of the top turf trainers in the world. He recently conditioned Found to an upset win over Postponed in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. O'Brien trainees finished 1, 2, 3 in the Arc. Found just finished second to the brilliant Almanzor in the Group 1 Qipco Champion Stakes at Royal Ascott on Oct. 15.

If Alice Springs shows up in the BC Mile, it means O'Brien is serious about winning the race. O'Brien doesn't enter horses in races unless he thinks he can win.

Ribchester

Ribchester just finished second in the Group 1 QE Elizabeth II Stakes to Aidan O'Brien's Minding. O'Brien could send both, Minding and Alice Springs, to the BC Mile. I don't think he will. Minding is better for the BC Filly and Mare Turf. She finished third to Found and Almanzor in the 1 1/4 mile Irish Championship Stakes earlier this year.

While Minding probably won't show up in the BC Mile, Ribchester should. Ribchester is an excellent closer. He should have no trouble handling the Santa Anita Turf, which has been kind to closers who have a turn of foot in races with a lot of speed. His turn of foot might be faster on Santa Anita's firmer surface. He almost got past Minding in the Group 1 QE II Stakes even though Minding found himself on an easy lead in that race.

Tourist

If Marcus Hersch from DRF is correct and Tourist will prefer the firmer ground at Santa Anita than the ground he ran over in the Shadwell Turf Mile, the Bill Mott trainee should have a great shot at winning this race. It's hard for me to see Tourist letting Midnight Storm get away with an easy lead like he did in the Shoemaker Mile in June.

Tourist won the Fourstardave at Saratoga after the second place finish to Midnight Storm in the Shoemaker. What it tells me is that Tourist is good enough to upset Tepin and the rest of the field in this race.

Ironicus

Ironicus might be the best turf horse in the United States not named Flintshire. He finished second to Flintshire in the 1 1/4 mile Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap in June. He came right back and finished second to Miss Temple City while chasing a slow pace in the Shadwell Turf Mile.

What I love about Ironicus is how he can stay far back and show a great kick, or he can run close to the pace if he has too. His ability to run at any distance and at pretty much any pace makes him ultra-tough in the Breeders' Cup Turf Mile.

If there is any horse that you think has a shot to beat Tepin in this year's Breeders' Cup Turf Mile, let me know!