The $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) will be run at one-mile for three-year-olds and upward on the turf at Keeneland Saturday. A full starting gate of 14 is expected and as part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series, the winner will receive a free berth to the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1). With the big field, trips and luck will be a premium.
Shadwell Turf Mile Contenders:
#1 NEXT SHARES is the defending champion after upsetting the Shadwell last year at 23-1. His form has been kind of indifferent since early January when he won the San Gabriel Stakes (G1) going nine furlongs at Santa Anita. Other than last year’s upset, Next Shares does not have much to recommend and the rail might mean he gets shuffled back early.
#2 VAN BEETHOVEN made three consecutive starts against Group 1 rivals in Europe at this distance and then shipped stateside for the Secretariat Stakes (G1) at Arlington, finishing only a length back in second. Son of Scat Daddy tries older horses for the first time but does not leave the gate well, and Beethoven will need some luck finding room in the stretch.
#3 BANDUA showed good speed going 10 furlongs in the Manhattan (G1) at Belmont Park then won a Grade 3 stakes at Arlington Park in fast time. He came back in the 10-furlong Arlington Million (G1) and had the lead to the final 100 yards over Bricks and Mortar, who would be odds-on in here. Bandua is a son of The Factor and has the ability to go longer, but this distance should hit him between the eyes.
#4 VALID POINT is undefeated in three career starts including the Secretariat (G1) last out going a mile. Three-year-old son of Scat Daddy is an improving sort and comes in off an eight-week rest for Chad Brown, who does his best with rested horses. Valid Point’s BRIS Speed ratings have to improve, but he gets turf maestro Javier Castellano back in the saddle.
#5 BOWIES HERO is a California shipper with a Grade 1 win at this distance last year. Winner of the Eddie Read (G2) at Del Mar two starts back, he could not overcome traffic when fifth in the Del Mar Mile (G2) last time. When he is right, Bowies Hero possesses a fine late turn of foot and he will have the services of Flavien Prat, 26% with his turf mounts.
#6 ADMISSION OFFICE is another one-dimensional closer who just missed in a Grade 2 two starts back. He lost all chance as the 2-1 favorite when breaking poorly from post 10 in the Wise Dan (G2) last time, rallying to miss by a half-length in third, and returns from a freshening with new jockey Jose Ortiz, who rode him last year in New York.
#7 DIAMOND OOPS is a sprinter on turf and dirt who stretches out to two turns on the turf for Patrick Biancone. Cross-entered to Friday’s six-furlong Phoenix (G2) on dirt, he is winless in two turf tries but didn’t run poorly against good company. The Grade 3 winner regains Julien Leparoux and the son of Lookin at Lucky posted a spectacular turf workout recently at six furlongs.
#8 VINTAGER won his last two starts in France and Germany against group company. His sire, Mastercraftsman, was a superior miler and Vintager adds Lasix. Charlie Appleby wins races all over the world for Godolphin and the four-year-old gelding brings James Doyle with him, but he has to break well.
#9 FIRST PREMIO beat allowance foes here in April then had a couple of close finishes against stakes company. This is a major move up the class ladder and not sure why Mark Casse has him in here.
#10 ROBIN OF NAVAN won a Group 2 in Germany two starts back going this distance and then was beaten four lengths on soft turf at Longchamp in France. He is the unusual Euro shipper who looks like he prefers firm ground
#11 MARCH TO THE ARCH won the Wise Dan at Churchill Downs before racing evenly in his next three starts. He didn’t fare well in a couple tries at the Grade 1 level and the late runner will need a lot of luck to get a piece of this.
#12 SUEDOIS won a Group 3 going seven furlongs in England two starts back and captured the Shadwell two years ago. Eight-year-old gelding draws poorly and will probably save little ground, but he does drops eight pounds off his last start.
#13 DIVISIDERO ran great from post 13 in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) at 43-1. His 2019 form has been solid and the son of Kitten’s Joy appears to be training well on the Tapeta at Fair Hill training center for Kelly Rubley, who wins 23% of her starts off a win.
#14 REAL STORY drew the far outside but at least has blazing speed, which Joe Bravo should be able to use to save ground into the first turn. A Grade 3 winner at Arlington Park last year, the four-year-old enters with five good turf efforts this year against lesser company.
Top Picks for the Shadwell Turf Mile
- #3 Bandua
- #5 Bowies Hero
- #8 Vintager
- #2 Van Beethoven
Suggested Bets for the Shadwell Turf Mile
- $20 Win/Place: 3 ($40)
- $20 Exacta: 2,5,8 with 3 ($60)