How to bet the 2021 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

November 4th, 2021

Eight horses will travel one-mile on the Del Mar main surface in Saturday’s $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1). The race looks formful on paper to me, with each of the trio of morning-line choices in with a big chance. But there is still value to be had.

#3 Ginobili (4-1) is the third favorite on the morning-line and gets top billing from this corner. The Richard Baltas trainee flashed ability as a juvenile and kicked off his sophomore season with a sharp runner-up finish in the 2020 San Vicente S. (G2) behind Nadal, but the colt hit a rough patch following that effort. The gelded son of Munnings hit the board just once in his next six outings, all of which came in the first-level allowance ranks, but his poor form stopped abruptly in July.

The Kentucky-bred was equipped with blinkers in an allowance tilt on July 17, and he ran off the screen en route to a 9 3/4-length victory while registering a robust 104 Brisnet Speed figure at Del Mar. Sent directly to the graded ranks following that triumph, the four-year-old was an impressive winner of the Pat O’Brien S. (G2) over a top field, again recording a 104 figure.

While I am not sure if it was the addition of blinkers or racing over the Del Mar strip, or a combination of the two, that helped transform the bay, he certainly moved forward by a considerable margin. I expect my top pick to sit in second or third behind a swift pace early on, and to get first run turning for home on Saturday beneath Drayden Van Dyke.

#1 Silver State (7-2) has found his niche as a top-level miler for Steve Asmussen. By Hard Spun, the four-year-old has endured a fine four-year-old campaign that is led by a strong tally in the Met Mile (G1) in June. He has been defeated in two straight, but he has excuses for both and I envision him firing a big one from off the early tempo beneath Ricardo Santana.

Todd Pletcher’s #5 Life is Good (4-5) is a neck shy from being unbeaten in his career and comes off a waltz in the Kelso H. (G2) at Belmont Park. The electric sophomore has substantial early gas and has led at the first and second calls in each of his five career outings. But the son of Into Mischief is sure to receive pressure throughout on Saturday, and while he has my full respect, I don’t love his price in a tricky field. Irad Ortiz will be in the silks and forcing the pace from the break.

Dirt Mile Wagers

  • $40 win #3 Ginobili ($40)
  • $4 superfecta 3 with 1, 5 with 1, 5 with all ($40)
  • $2 superfecta 3 with 1, 5 with all with 1, 5 ($20)