The Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile

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Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile

Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile

The 2018 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile will be held at Churchill Downs on Saturday, November 2nd.

The Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile is a $1 million Breeders’ Cup race for three-year-olds and older, run around two turns on the main track. The race is limited to 12 runners with two automatic berths offered in the “Win and You’re In” Breeders’ Cup Challenge.  Those two prep races are:

  1. The Metropolitan Handicap, a Grade 1 race run in June at Belmont Park in New York
  2. The Pat O’Brien Stakes, a Grade 1 race run in August at Del Mar racetrack in California

 

The Dirt Mile Winners

The Dirt Mile started in 2007 with the addition of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series offering more races during the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. Goldencents is the only two-time winner of the Dirt Mile (2013, 2014). The 1-mile race record was set by Albertus Maximus in 2008 in a time of 1:33.41.

In the 10 runnings of the Dirt Mile, the post-time race favorite has won just two times, and both at less than 4-5 odds: Goldencents in 2014 at Santa Anita and Liam’s Map in 2015 at Keeneland. The longest shot to win the race is Dakota Phone in 2010 when he pulled of the upset at 37-1 odds at Churchill Downs.

In a race with very fast fractions, Dakota Phone closed from the very back of the pack in a field of 12 and caught the leader in the deep stretch to win by a head for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer with top jockey Joel Rosario aboard.   

Goldencents, ridden by Rafael Bajarano, won both his Dirt Miles wire-to-wire by more than a length for trainer Leandro Mora and Doug O'Neal. Goldencents retired following his 2014 victory, winning a total of 7 races and 7 runner-up finishes in 18 career starts with earnings of more than $3 million. 

The 2016 winner was impressive as Tamarkuz settled off the pace and jockey Mike Smith made a bold move along the far turn. As they turned for home, Tamarkuz caught the favorite Dortmund and the future dominant colt Gun Runner, passing them with a furlong to run and drawing clear to finish 3 1/2 lengths in front of Gun Runner. 

Tamarkuz was retired after the race to stand at Shadwell Stud near Lexington, KY. He finished his racing career with 8 wins in 20 starts, and the Breeders’ Cup 1st place prize of $920,000 doubled his career earnings to $1.84 million. 


The History of the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile

The Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile is one of the newest additions to the world champions having been conceived in 2007. As the name suggests, this event is run over one mile on dirt and is eligible for horse aged three-years-old and up. Initially run as an ungraded stakes race for its first two runs, the Dirt Mile has since been promoted to a Grade-I status.

Corinthian was the first winner of the race in 2007 and also ran the slowest recorded time ever, with a one-mile pace of 1:39.06. Albertus Maximus set the speed record at Santa Anita with a time of 1:33.41.

Goldencents is the most prolific winner of the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, and is also the only horse to have won the event twice. After finishing 17th in the 2013 Kentucky Derby and 5th in the Preakness Stakes, he would go on to win the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile as a 4/1 shot. He would repeat the feat the following season in 2014 before retiring.

Jockey Rafael Bjearano was aboard Goldencents for those two victories and is thus the winningest jockey in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. W.C. Racing, who owned Goldencents, is also the owner with the most victories. Incidentally, Goldencents was trained by two different hands for his victories. He was first saddled by Doug O’Neill before changing hands to trainer Leondro Mora. Jerry Hollendorfer is the only trainer to visit the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner’s circle twice.

Tamarkuz owns the biggest upset in Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile history with his incredible victory in 2016. While his 11/1 odds aren’t considered all that cavernous, he bested 6/5 favorite Dortmund, 3/1 second choice Runhappy and 9/2 third choice Gun Runner. At six-years-old, Tamarkuz was also the oldest horse to ever win the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, He retired following his 2016 win to Shadwell Stud.

The Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile has just two prep races which offer automatic berths. These are the Metropolitan Handicap, which is also known as “The Met Mile”, and the Pat O’Brien Stakes. Goldencents won both the 2014 Pat O’Brien and the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. No horse that has won the Met Mile has scored in the Dirt Mile.

BREEDERS’ CUP DIRT MILE WINNERS & RECORDS

Year/Track Winner/ Jockey/ Time/
Date/Distance Owner Trainer Odds
2017 - DMR Battle of Midway  F. Prat 01:35.2
Nov 03 - 1M Don Alberto Stable and WinStar Farm LLC J. Hollendorfer $14.20
2016 - SA  Tamarkuz  M. Smith 01:35.7
Nov 04 - 1M Shadwell Stable K. McLaughlin $11.90
2015 - KEE Liam's Map  J. Castellano 01:34.5
Oct 30 - 1M Teresa Viola Racing Stables and West Point Thoroughbreds T. Pletcher $0.50*
2014 - SA  Goldencents  R. Bejarano 01:35.2
Oct 31 - 1M W. C. Racing L. Mora $0.70*
2013 - SA  Goldencents  R. Bejarano 01:35.1
Nov 01 - 1M W. C. Racing, Kenney, Dave and RAP Racing D. O'Neill $3.80
2012 - SA  Tapizar  C. Nakatani 01:35.3
Nov 03 - 1M Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC S. Asmussen $15.30
2011 - CD  Caleb's Posse  R. Maragh 01:34.6
Nov 05 - 1M McNeil Stables, LLC and Cheyenne Stables, LLC D. Von Hemel $6.80
2010 - CD  Dakota Phone  J. Rosario 01:35.3
Nov 06 - 1M Carver, John, Halo Farms, Todaro, George and Hollendorfer, Jerry J. Hollendorfer $37.70
2009 - OSA Furthest Land  J. Leparoux 01:35.5
Nov 07 - 1M Ramsey, Kenneth L. and Sarah K. M. Maker $21.30
2008 - OSA Albertus Maximus  G. Gomez 01:33.4
Oct 25 - 1M Chase, Brandon L. and Marianne V. Cerin $6.30
2007 - MTH Corinthian  K. Desormeaux 01:39.1
Oct 26 - 1M 70Y Centennial Farms J. Jerkens $3.70

 

Historical Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Results:

2016 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile Results

The 2016 Breeders’ Cup World Championships took place at the Santa Anita Racetrack in Arcadia, California on November 4th to the 5th. It was the 33rd edition of the premier North American horse racing event and featured a number of exciting races and finishes. One of the highlights of the card was the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile presented by the City of Las Vegas (G1).

The 2016 Las Vegas Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) featured a field of nine older horses competing in a one-mile race on the main Santa Anita track. Dortmund, who was coming off a second-place finish in the Awesome Again Stakes (G1), was installed as the pre-race favorite at odds of 7-10. His top challengers included Gunner Runner (4-1 odds) and 2015 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) winner Runhappy (7-1 odds).

Runhappy set the pace early with fractions of 22.45 and 45.37. Gun Runner would take the lead after ¾ of the way in and led after 7/8 with fractions of 1:10.00 and 1:22.64, respectively. However, Tamarkuz would circle the field five wide and win by 3 ½ lengths in a time of 1:35.72. Gun Runner would finish second, while Accelerate would come in third.

“I had really a good trip. It set up. There was a lot of pace. Tamarkuz has speed himself and right away they opened 2, 3, 4 (lengths), so I knew they were going fast. After that it was just a matter of getting him into a comfortable rhythm and a happy place. When I called on him, he finished like he's been finishing for me. I really thought he had a good shot today,” said Tamarkuz jockey Mike Smith.

Tamarkuz paid $25.00, $9.40, and $8.00 across the board. Gun Runner returned $5.20 to place and $4.60 to show. Accelerate paid $16.00 to show.

 

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