History's Top 10 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile performances
In advance of the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile on Nov. 5 at Keeneland, let’s rank the Top 10 best performances in the history of the Dirt Mile:
10. Battle of Midway (2017)
The 2017 Dirt Mile unfolded at a slower pace than usual with Grade 1 winner Sharp Azteca setting splits of :22.94, :46.95, and 1:11.13. Rallying from midfield, Battle of Midway had a tough task catching up, but he boldly sprinted the final quarter-mile in just over :24 seconds to defeat Sharp Azteca by half a length with the rest of the field well behind.
9. Corinthian (2007)
The inaugural Dirt Mile winner relished racing over a sloppy track at Monmouth Park, settling in midfield before launching a sharp burst of acceleration to win by 6 1/2 lengths. His margin of victory remains the largest in Dirt Mile history.
8. Life Is Good (2021)
There was never any doubt about Life Is Good’s superiority in the 2021 Dirt Mile. Favored at 7-10, he maintained a one-length lead through fast splits of :21.88, :44.94, and 1:08.76 before kicking clear with ease to dominate by 5 3/4 lengths.
7. City of Light (2018)
A short run-up distance means City of Light’s fractions of :22.64, :45.16, and 1:09.03 from the 2018 Dirt Mile were significantly more intense than they first appear. Certainly they wore out the other speed horses, but City of Light kept on rolling to beat stretch-running Grade 1 winner Seeking the Soul by 2 3/4 lengths in 1:33.83. The only faster Dirt Mile clocking occurred over a synthetic track in 2008.
6. Caleb’s Posse (2011)
Caleb’s Posse made a difficult task look easy in the 2011 Dirt Mile. Facing a deep field, including Preakness S. (G1) winner Shackleford and eventual 2012 Dirt Mile winner Tapizar, Caleb’s Posse settled back in eighth place before swallowing his rivals down the homestretch to win by four lengths.
5. Goldencents (2013)
Goldencents broke from the far outside post position in his first Dirt Mile appearance and had to sprint hard to secure the lead through fractions of :22.12, :44.75, and 1:08.64. But Goldencents was so good, he opened up a five-length lead down the homestretch and ultimately cruised home 2 3/4 lengths clear of Travers S. (G1) winner Golden Ticket.
4. Goldencents (2014)
In 2014, Goldencents became the first and only two-time winner of the Dirt Mile, and he did so in tremendous fashion. Breaking from the rail, Goldencents rushed up to battle with Vicar’s in Trouble through fractions of :22.06, :44.80, and 1:09.27, and at one point they were eight lengths clear of the rest. Vicar’s in Trouble gave way to finish last, but Goldencents somehow kept going to score by 1 1/4 lengths.
3. Knicks Go (2020)
Setting intense fractions of :21.98, :44.40, and 1:08.25 did little to tire Knicks Go in the 2020 Dirt Mile. The future 2021 Horse of the Year and Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner actually pulled away down the homestretch to win by 3 1/2 lengths in the fast time of 1:33.85.
2. Tamarkuz (2016)
A powerful outside rally carried Tamarkuz from 9 1/2 lengths off the pace to 3 1/2 lengths in front at the finish line of the 2016 Dirt Mile, and his decisive victory came against one of the deepest Dirt Mile fields ever assembled. Future Horses of the Year and Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winners Gun Runner and Accelerate rounded out the top three, while champion and Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) winner Runhappy finished farther back in the field.
1. Liam’s Map (2015)
Liam’s Map didn’t get the best trip in the 2015 Dirt Mile, breaking slowly and losing ground when steadying in traffic down the backstretch. But once he worked his way out of tight quarters, Liam’s Map was full of run, rocketing his final quarter-mile in about :23 3/5 to beat Grade 1 winner Lea by 2 1/2 lengths.