BC Mile: Shakespeare best of U.S. bunch
Last Sunday's Woodbine Mile might have revealed the best North American miler pointing for the Breeders' Cup Mile, but after seeing last year's Mile, one wonders how much that matters.
Shakespeare won the Woodbine Mile by a length, but it was the manner of his victory - think lightning bolt crackling through deep stretch - plus his compelling personal history that vaulted Shakespeare to the head of the pack. Shakespeare rallied from eighth a quarter-mile from home, and came home that final quarter-mile in about 22.40 seconds. Away from the races for more than a year because of a tendon injury, Shakespeare has come all the way back - and then some.
"He's a very special horse," said Kiaran McLaughlin, who has trained Shakespeare through the two races of his 2007 comeback, and confirmed the horse's intended participation in the BC Mile on Tuesday. "He just has so many gears."
Shakespeare is back at Belmont Park and "came out of his race great," according to McLaughlin, but the most highly regarded horse does not always win the Mile. Last year, Miesque's Approval, considered something like the fourth-best American horse in the race, won the Mile at 24-1.
His victory made it three straight for U.S.-based horses in the Mile, but the pendulum could swing this year, if only because the depth of the Mile division in the U.S. is, well, shallow. Look out for any of the top three finishers in the Sept. 9 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp: Darjina, Ramonti, and George Washington. The connections of Darjina, a 3-year-old filly, are passing the 1 1/4-mile Champion Stakes in England to keep her in one-mile races. Ramonti looked like Europe's top miler before his runner-up finish at Longchamp. George Washington, sixth last year in the BC Classic, was a closing, troubled third. Darjina and Ramonti would each have to be supplemented for $180,000.
After Shakespeare at Woodbine came the highly capable Kip Deville, but he would have to be supplemented to the $2 million Mile at a cost of $300,000. So would Crossing the Line, California's top miler, and his connections already have said they will bypass the Breeders' Cup.
BREEDERS' CUP CHALLENGE
For the first time, the winner of each of 25 selected Breeders' Cup Challenge races will automatically earn a start in the corresponding division of the Breeders' Cup World Championships at Monmouth Park on Oct. 26 & 27 on ESPN. This year, "Win and You're In" ...
Already InOak Tree: October 7
• Spinster: Panty Raid has Cup options
• Ancient Title: Ideal trip sets up Idiot Proof
• Tough Tiz's Sis first in First Lady
• Out of Control anything but in Oak Tree Mile
Keeneland: October 6
• War Pass wires field in Champagne
• Shadwell Turf: Purim tops off day of upsets
• Wicked Style wires Breeders' Futurity
• Vacare wears down 'Kitten' in First Lady
• Phoenix: Off Duty outlasts Rebellion
Belmont: September 30
• Curlin reels in Lawyer Ron to win Gold Cup
• English Channel repeats in Joe Hirsch Turf
• Fabulous Strike impresses in Vosburgh
• Unbridled Belle nips Indian Vale to take Beldame
• Goodwood (9/29, Oak Tree): Tiago gets in
Del Mar: August 19
• Pacific Classic: Student Council schools field
• Crossing the Line fires big in Del Mar Mile
• Greg's Gold takes Pat O'Brien
Arlington Park: August 11
• Perfect trip for Jambalaya in Arlington Million
• Royal Highness queen of the Beverly D.
• Shamdinan impresses in Secretariat
Saratoga: July 28
• Whitney: Lawyer Ron romps, earns BC berth
• Diana: My Typhoon earns Breeders' Cup slot
• Go For Wand: Ginger Punch wins by six
• Vanderbilt: Diabolical runs down Attila's Storm
Sha Tin Race Course: April 29
• Champions Mile: Able One first to qualify
Finley: Challenge Fallout
• Zito sips Champagne again, BC Juvenile next?
• Curlin rebounds, tops huge weekend of Cup preps
• Student Council still enigma after Pacific Classic
• Jamabalya takes Million, is Cup bound in Week 2
• Lawyer Ron's record win highlights Week 1
Plonk: Breeders' Cup Hits & Misses