Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile Picks
Breeders’ Cup Mile Picks 2016
While the structure of the race couldn’t appear more simple on paper, handicappers are well aware that races aren’t run on paper. 2015 BC Sprint Champion Runhappy (3/1) figures to snag the early lead and would certainly be a meance if able to return to his 2015 form, but that seems anything but certain after the champ faded badly October 1 in his only start this year. Now he’ll try two turns for the first time and face the likes of Dortmund (6/5), who is 5 for 6 in his career over the Santa Anita dirt and has run very well in three starts this year. In fact, Dortmund, a massive four-year trained by Bob Baffert, appears to be at his very best runnning shorter and will get the opportunity to do just that after running at 1 1/8-miles and 1 1/4-miles in his last two starts.
- 1st: (#3) Dortmund
- 2nd: (#9) Gun Runner
- 3rd: (#1) Vyjack
- 4th: (#8) Tamarkuz
Playing against second-favorite could be profitable
Runhappy will surely take an ample share of the wagering dollars, but there is legitimate pause of concern that this four year-old isn’t close to the same horse he was while earning Sprinter of the Year honors in 2015. The comeback race was bad, the workouts haven’t been encouraging, and the fact that he’s now going around two turns isn’t at all encouraging. If ever there were a short-priced throwout, it appears to be Runhappy in the BC Mile. If the champ can somehow rise back into his former self, he’s capable of taking this bunch a long way on the front end, but conventional handicapping angles suggest that he’s really up against it in this spot.
Longer shots on board can crash exotics
Gun Runner (9/2) has hit the board in 8 of 10 career starts for trainer Steve Asmussen and looks like the kind of colt who prefers the one-mile distance despite the face that he was able to run third in the Kentucky Derby and Travers Stakes – both Grade 1 events at a mile and a quarter. With an outside post (9) and regular jockey Florent Geroux aboard, Gun Runner is a very logical pick to run late and pick up a the pieces for second or third. Vyjack (10/1) is a veteran runner in career-best form after setting a track record last out going eight furlongs on turf. This is a logical spot for him, and he should be right around the wire once again.
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