Exotics Plays for the 2023 Coolmore Turf Mile Stakes
A total of nine horses will contest the lucrative $1 million Coolmore Turf Mile S. (G1) at Keeneland on Saturday. Five of the contenders in the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” challenge series event own previous Grade 1 wins, and the race will go through the accomplished handful in the cast.
Turf Mile Exotics Wagers
Godolphin homebred #1 Master of the Seas (2-1) didn’t defeat the deepest of fields in the Woodbine Mile (G1) last time out, but the five-year-old was all class in his 3 3/4-length romp and might even improve in his second stateside appearance. Trained by Charlie Appleby, the bay has been a high-class performer throughout his career and will benefit from drawing the rail on this occasion. The Dubawi gelding will stalk while saving ground early and pounce in the lane with James Doyle in the silks.
Defending champ #9 Annapolis (6-1) has been somewhat disappointing in 2023 but has a lot of appeal in this race nonetheless, over a course that he surely enjoys. One of two in the heat for conditioner Todd Pletcher, the four-year-old colt gets a pass for running subpar on the unique grounds at Kentucky Downs most recently, and he is one of only a few true milers in this race. The War Front colt has the tactical speed to be up close in the early going, which will give him a big edge over his main foes turning for home. The Kentucky-bred bay will have Flavien Prat in the stirrups.
The trio of remaining Grade 1 victors in the heat all do their best work at longer trips, and while I surely respect Arlington Million (G1) #4 Set Piece (5-1), Manhattan S. (G1) romper #5 Up to the Mark (5-2), and Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) hero #7 Atone (10-1), I’ll limit the inclusion of each to the lower rungs of the vertical gimmicks on this particular afternoon.