How to bet the 2022 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile

November 4th, 2022

A well-matched field of 11 will go postward in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) at Keeneland on Saturday. The race lacks a clear standout, and it’s also lacking a plethora of pace, so I will favor the contenders that figure to be forwardly placed in the early going.

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Bob Baffert’s #6 Laurel River (9-2) has been brilliant in both of his starts in 2022, led by a facile tally in the Pat O’Brien (G2) at Del Mar last time out. By Into Mischief, the colt has a fine combination of early speed and a closing burst, and he also has room for improvement while making his third start of the season.

The Juddmonte homebred is perfectly drawn outside of the expected pace in the group, so he will likely sit a great trip from just off the tempo while getting first run on the deeper-closing types. Irad Ortiz Jr. inherits the mount atop the four-year-old, which I view as a major positive.

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I will key my top selection over four horses. #1 Slow Down Andy (30-1) has gate presence and might have to be sent from the start while breaking from the rail. The talented sophomore finished a good third in the Awesome Again (G1) at Santa Anita last time out and wisely cuts back in distance for this engagement. The Nyquist colt has won or placed in all but one lifetime try to date, and his morning line number makes him very interesting to me. 

#2 Simplification (15-1) has failed to hit the board in four straight and is a bit of a reach, but the sophomore has back class and some speed, so he’s worth including. The Antonio Sano pupil earned a lifetime-best 105 Brisnet Speed rating when fourth in the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) and would be a factor with even slight improvement on Saturday. The son of Not This Time has posted two swift morning moves on the oval recently and will have aggressive pilot Luis Saez in the silks.

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#5 Gunite (7-2) has superb current form and is a much better horse than I gave him credit for last season. Trained by Steve Asmussen, the recent Perryville S. romper is proven over the surface and will be in the mix early on while stretching out from seven furlongs. Tyler Gaffalione will ride the Gun Runner colt, who is an obvious win threat.

And I would be foolish to omit the razor-sharp #7 Cody’s Wish (5-2), who is coming off of a dynamic victory in the Forego (G1) at Saratoga. The Bill Mott trainee displayed a potent turn of foot at seven furlongs last time out and will be very tough to hold off with a repeat of his latest performance. The Godolphin homebred retains the services of Junior Alvarado.

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Dirt Mile Wagers

  • $30 to win and place on #6 Laurel River ($60)
  • $4 Trifecta key: 6 with 1,2,5,7 ($48)
  • $1 Trifecta: 6 with 1,2,5,7 with all ($36)
    Total: $144