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Submitted by National Race Masters on Monday, October 31, 2016 at 12:00 AM

Monday, 10/31


One only look at the average prices for all Breeders’ Cup races to know that the term “wide open” can be applied on a majority of the races. Yet in 2016 at Santa Anita the BC Mile might be the poster-board for that definition.

By now we know that Turf and European shippers creates its own spotlight but this year’s Mile has more European influence than we’ve seen in this race in quite some time.

Perennial Breeders Cup trainer Aiden Obrien has a pair in Alice Springs and Cougar Mountain.

The former should have little trouble transitioning from her last race, her third straight Group I Win with each being at the Mile distance on the turf when she won the Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket 5 weeks ago. She’ll have little transitioning issue because she did it last year. On that occasion as a juvenile she was a winner of the Tattersall Stakes at Newmarket 4 weeks prior to the Juvenile Fillies Turf and sent off as the favorite she rallied strongly from mid-pack after having her head turned at the break and finishing ¾ of a length behind Catch A Glimpse. Aiden Obrien has Ryan Moore in to ride and despite being her first try against males, the history of the Breeders’ Cup Mile has been receptive to fillies and mares in the past.  

As to Cougar Mountain, he will be on the AE list and is clearly virtue of his 3-for-19 career mark only along for the trip…just in case.

Dutch Connection is another pond-crosser and although his 2016 resume is spotty at best he did run a solid race last out at his course-for-horse preferred Goodwood in the Lennox Stakes. Like Cougar Mountain he is on the AE list for the Mile and might wind up in his second preference BC Turf Sprint.

For those who like to find a reason for clutching to any reason to clutch a Longshot straw. After all, Santa Anita has already been the scene of a Breeders' Cup coup by his trainer. Hills sent out the ill-fated Chriselliam for a devastating victory here in the 2013 Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1).

Like ALICE SPRINGS, SPECTRE is another 3-year old Mile Turf Specialist who will be facing the boys in the BC Mile. The differences between the two is that in her last three races, also each a Group I effort, SPECTRE has not managed to win. Yet those three races, in which she was a close up 2nd, 4th and 3rd were each run against males.

As a runner who vies for supporting honors and resolutely outperforms her double-digit odds she is one of the reasons handicapping the 2016 edition of the BC Mile is such a challenge place claims at Santa Anita.

Remember, the Collective Of Experts at NATIONAL RACE MASTERS has been analyzing and winning these Breeders Cup races for decades. No one is better equipped to match up European Shippers and North American based runners.

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Just as strong as any runner that has come over in the European contingent is Limato.  His class and talent are beyond question. His breeding lines say the mile should be an almost perfect distance for him. He’s out of a Singspiel mare, and his second dam is a full sister to 1999 Eclipse (G1) winner Compton Admiral and a half-sister to 2001 Queen Elizabeth II (G1) upset winner Summoner. A more recognizable family line member might be multiple Group 1-winning high weight champion The Fugue, who might have been the most hard-luck Breeders’ Cup loser in recent memory in the 2012 Filly & Mare Turf (G1) and 2013 Turf (G1), both at Santa Anita.

Limato is another that bettors must consider as they construct their exotic combos. From 13 career races the son of Tagula has won 8 times and run second in another 4.

One last thought you should keep in mind is that not only do these Europeans present numerous challenges but in 2016 they are a backdrop for a number of questions surrounding the North American contingent as well.

Just look at some of the serious American entrants and the challenges they present.

IRONICUS – First or second in 12 of 14 lifetime (6 wins-6 seconds) but has yet to win a Grade I and is a confirmed speed horse that figures to be tested.

MISS TEMPLE CITY – Pulled the upset when she beat males in the Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland in her last but has only won 2 of 6 at the distance and both wins were at Keeneland.

MONDALISTE – Won the Arlington Million two races back but was 4th in the Shadwell and the Arlington Million was his only win in his last 7 races.

PHOTO CALL – The 5-year old mare stamped her ticket with a 29-1 upset in the First Lady in her last when she beat last year’s BC Mile winner TEPIN and ended that one’s 8 race win streak. Can she battle all the other speed after such an uncontested from running win in her last?

TEPIN – Despite her legitimate excuse due tom the short field and pace of the First lady, as the defending champ will she be asked to rebound at a much too short price?  

WHAT A VIEW – This horse for the course is a perfect 5-for-5 over the Santa Anita grass and overall is 4-for-7 at the mile distance on the turf. Will he continue that success vs what is the strongest field he has ever faced?

Keep in mind this is just one of the many contentious Breeders’ Cup Races (as they should be) in 2016 and you can assuredly get many of your questions answered by the offers you can see Right Here from our NRM Handicappers.




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