By Jarrod Horak
The Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile was introduced at Monmouth Park in 2007 and Corinthian was the initial winner. This race has been held at Santa Anita seven times, and the 2023 renewal will be held at the Great Race Place on Saturday, Nov. 4. They will be traveling one mile on the main track.
Recent BC Dirt Mile Results
Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile hero Cody’s Wish was exiting a win in the Forego (G1) at Saratoga. He is expected to attempt a Dirt Mile repeat this year.
Life is Good ran them off their feet in 2021 and was exiting a win in the Kelso (G2). Knicks Go wired the field in this event at Keeneland in 2020 and was exiting a local optional claiming score. In 2019, it was Spun to Run all the way. He prepped for the BC with a win in the M.P. Ballezzi Appreciation Mile at Parx.
City of Light, the 2018 Dirt Mile winner, was never headed and prepped for the BC with a runner-up finish in the Forego (G1). Battle of Midway won this race as a sophomore at Del Mar in 2017. He was exiting a runner-up finish in the Oklahoma Derby (G3) at 1 1/8 miles and had previously won the Shared Belief Stakes at one mile at Del Mar.
In 2016, Tamarkuz produced an 11-1 upset from off the pace and was exiting a runner-up finish in the Kelso (G2). Liam’s Map stalked and scored as the strong favorite at Keelenand in 2015 and was exiting a victory in the Woodward (G1).
The Santa Anita Years
The Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile has been run seven times at Santa Anita and Goldencents won it in 2013 and 2014.
The chart below shows all 7 winners of the BC Dirt Mile at Santa Anita, and it includes winning riders, trainers, post positions, running styles, win payoffs, and final preps.
Trainers to Watch
Todd Pletcher won the BC Dirt Mile in 2015 with Liam’s Map and in 2021 with Life Is Good.
Doug O’Neill has officially saddled one winner in this race (Goldencents – 2013). That runner repeated in the BC Dirt Mile in 2014, but he ran under the name of O’Neill’s assistant Leandro Mora.
Jockeys to Watch
Four riders have struck twice in the BC Dirt Mile (Rafael Bejarano, Javier Castellano, Irad Ortiz Jr., Joel Rosario).
BC Dirt Mile Trends
The one trait almost all Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winners share is past success in two turn races longer than one mile. Tamarkuz is the lone exception. He was a 7-8 furlong specialist. Last year’s winner Cody’s Wish was also a 7-8 furlong specialist, but he did finish second by a neck in the Challenger (G3) at Tampa Bay. This is not a race for sprinters. Four of the last five BC Dirt Mile winners wired the field. An ideal Dirt Mile top contender should have early-pressing versatility, past success at one mile, and sharp recent graded stakes form.
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