The $1 million Las Vegas Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1) featured a field of 10 older horses going 1 mile around 2 turns of the main track. Mor Spirit was sent off as the 5-2 favorite off wins in the Essex Handicap, Steve Sexton Mile (G3), and Metropolitan Handicap (G1). In to challenge him included 3-1 second choice Sharp Azteca, winner of the Monmouth Cup (G3) and Kelso Handicap (G2), and 4-1 third choice Accelerate, third in the Pacific Classic (G1) after winning the San Diego Handicap (G2).
Battle of Midway rallies on the outside in the stretch run of the Dirt Mile
Jockey Paco Lopez sent Sharp Azteca to lead through fractions of 22.94, 46.95, and 1:11.13 over the fast track while pressed by 68-1 Gato Del Oro and stalked by Mor Spirit. Sharp Azteca continued to lead through 7f in 1:23.02, but 14-1 Battle of Midway, 5th early under Flavien Prat, came out 5 wide for room and rallied to win by 1/2 a length in 1:35.20. It was a long 4 1/4 lengths back to 14-1 Awesome Slew third, while Mor Spirit faded to finish 8th.
Left: Battle of Midway in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said, "He's a horse for the course. He loves Del Mar. He had run a huge number here (when winning the Shared Belief Stakes). We had a lot of confidence in him coming into this race."
Right: The trophy presentation for the Dirt Mile. Hollendorfer added, "I talked to Flavien (Prat) and we agreed there was a lot of speed in the race. At the break he was able to follow John Sadler's horse (Accelerate) and got a good position. This horse has always been a fighter and he showed that today. He showed a lot of courage in winning this race."
Left: Flavien Prat celebrates as Battle of Midway heads out to the track before the race. Prat said, "I let him break and find position and was wide early. I thought there would be more pace. Then down the backside he relaxed well and gave me a really good kick. He was training really well in the morning."
Right: Battle of Midway in mid-pack shortly after the start.
Left: econd place finisher Sharp Azteca heads out to the track before the race. Trainer Jorge Navarro said, "When the four horse (Gato del Oro) went by, it stuck him down on the rail and he had nowhere to go. But, he dug in through the stretch and tried hard. He showed up and I'm really proud."
Right: Third place finisher Awesome Slew returns after the race. Trainer Mark Casse said, "We couldn't be more proud of him. We thought he came into this race wonderful and he ran his eyeballs out so we're happy. The pace was a little slow. I knew down the backside that we were in a little trouble. I thought we were too close, and going too easy. That tells you something."
Left: Eighth place finisher and beaten favorite Mor Spirit heads out to the track before the race. Trainer Bob Baffert said, "I was afraid that with Mor Spirit going in that I couldn't get enough into him. He just got tired. I was disappointed in Cupid (10th). Maybe it was too short for him. He chased a little bit. If they don't show up, they don't show up. I'm happy for Jerry Hollendorfer. I'm a big fan of his, so I'm happy for him."
Right: The horses break from the starting gate for the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile. Jockey Mike Smith aboard Mor Spirit (post 6) said, "I was in a really good spot. He just didn't want it today. That's not him. He just let go."
2017 Breeders' Cup Friday - There were four Breeders' Cup races on Friday at Del Mar headlined by the Distaff (G1) where Forever Unbridled held off Abel Tasman to win by a half length. Also on the card, Rushing Fall won the Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1), Battle of Midway won the Dirt Mile (G1), and Mendelssohn won the Juvenile Turf (G1). Get the results, charts, and photos for all 8 stakes on the card. More photos: Juvenile Turf -
Juvenile Fillies Turf - Dirt Mile - Distaff
2017 Breeders' Cup Entries - Entries closed Monday and post positions were drawn for the 13 Breeders' Cup Championship races on November 3 and 4 at Del Mar. The Classic will have a field of 11 with Gun Runner in post 5 the 9-5 favorite over Arrogate in post 1 at 2-1.
Review: Crushing the Cup 2017 - by Jim Mazur and Peter Mallett. An invaluable tool for trying to unlock the mysteries of handicapping the Breeders' Cup races at Del Mar. Updated for 2017, this is their 26th anniversary edition and first for Del Mar.
The Breeders' Cup Championship Day - The official page for the Breeders' Cup championship races. Just about anything you need to know about it: results, video clips, and race calls for past years, and eventually nominations, entries, and results.
Free Prep Replays - for major prep races in the Breeders' Cup Challenge. The ones with camera logos have video available.
Breeders' Cup Supplemental Entries - The old official policy on supplemental entries plus all the supplemental entries and how they fared, mostly it was a losing proposition. There are no more supplements now, only late nominations making it impossible to track since the change.