2018 Breeders Cup Dirt Mile

2018 Breeders Cup Dirt Mile

A whole lot of things will be right with the racing world November 2-3 when the Breeders' Cup returns to the most iconic racing venue in North America under the famed twin spires of Churchill Downs. That means plenty of pomp, circumstance and general good vibes, but it also means the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile will be run at one turn - the preference for most serious handicappers giving free picks and a great entry point to this discussion of future bets on this key race.

Since 2011 - the last time the Breeders' Cup was held at Churchill Downs - the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile has been held at three venues: Santa Anita, Keeneland and Del Mar. While all three are glorious racing venues, none are particularly well-suited for a true one-mile race. All of those races, in fact, featured the event around two turns - meaning the horses start on the grandstand side and make a full circle around the track.

Churchill's chute configuration on the backside allows for the Dirt Mile to be held at one-turn, and that, my race betting friends, is a truer indication of talent and pure speed than we've witnessed in recent years.   

Betting Tips

Meet the challengers

Bodog and Bovada offer a reasonable list of contenders to consider for future bets, but the list is by no means comprehensive. Consider that they will offer action on other horses upon request - a topic I'll discuss in more detail later.

  • Catalina Cruiser +175
  • Diversify +500
  • Mind Your Biscuits +600
  • McKinzie +800
  • City of Light +500
  • Whitmore +1200
  • American Anthem +2000
  • Backyard Heaven +2000
  • Ax Man +1600
  • Bolt d'Oro +1600

I like to begin with candor. Ax Man, Bolt d'Oro, Backyard Heaven, American Anthem and possibly others are unlikely to make the starting gate. Not sure why they are being offered, but a confident process of elimination is always a great thing when you are betting.

From this list, I like City of Light and Whitmore. Both are solid older horses and both have the look and credentials of top contenders. Whitmore's price of +1200 is particularly appealing considering this horse almost always shows up with a big race.

And why is Promises Fulfilled not on this list? While a possible candidate for the BC Sprint, this horse would fit nicely in this race and would have to be considered once bettors are certain of the pre-entries to be released Monday, Oct.22.

As for the favorite, Catalina Cruiser is a prodigious talent and will bring an undefeated resume to Churchill Downs. But let's get real about this price. +175 is much too short a number to take on a horse that has never faced anything close to as deep a field as he'll face here. Of equal note, Catalina Cruiser will need to take his show on the road, traveling outside of California for the first time, which is never a given for any racehorse.

Ax Man Breeders Cup Dirt Mile Odds
+1600

The pick

In a word, Whitmore. This horse has proven his mettle at one turn distances from 6 furlongs to a full mile. He's always moving forward in the lane and has run well at Churchill Downs. With a little pace in front of him, I like Whitmore to do the job at a good price in the future betting market.

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