Meet the 2022 Breeders' Cup Mile contenders
Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson takes a horse-by-horse look at pre-entries for the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) at Keeneland, exploring the pros and cons of each contender.
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Pros: Speedy three-year-old defeated older rivals in the Coolmore Turf Mile (G1) over the course and distance of the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
Cons: He’s facing a deep contingent of European raiders in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
Pros: Unleashed a strong finish to win the prestigious one-mile Queen Elizabeth II (G1) in England three weeks before the Breeders’ Cup.
Cons: He’s done his best work over soft ground and might not encounter his preferred footing at Keeneland.
Pros: The 2021 Hollywood Derby (G1) winner led all the way to nab a quick renewal of the Oct. 1 City of Hope Mile (G2).
Cons: He’s never run outside of California and is stepping up in class for the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
Pros: Powerful stretch runner has won three Grade 1 races, including a strong renewal of the 1 1/4-mile Manhattan (G1).
Cons: He’s done his best work racing 1 1/8 miles or farther and hasn’t run since August 2021.
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Pros: Trounced 2020 Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Order of Australia to win the one-mile Prix du Moulin de Longchamp (G1) by 5 1/2 lengths.
Cons: She’s achieved her signature victories over good-to-soft ground and might not find that footing at Keeneland.
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Front Run the Fed
Pros: His biggest win to date came racing one mile in Saratoga’s 2019 Better Talk Now S.
Cons: He’s never won a graded stakes and has been more effective as a sprinter in recent years.
Pros: Occasionally fires a strong shot against quality competition, most notably winning the 2021 Turf Sprint (G3) at Kentucky Downs.
Cons: He’s 0-for-5 this season and hasn’t contested a route race since the spring of 2021.
Pros: Talented miler won the 2020 Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) over this course and distance and ran third in the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1).
Cons: Proved no match for possible Breeders’ Cup Mile favorite Modern Games when second by 5 1/2 lengths in the Sept. 17 Woodbine Mile (G1).
Pros: Produced a career-best effort to lead all the way in the Knickerbocker (G3) at Aqueduct last time out.
Cons: He’s never contested a Grade 1 race and is stepping up in class for the Mile.
Pros: Red-hot sprinter has won four straight group stakes, including the Prix de la Foret (G1) and British Champions Sprint (G1).
Cons: He excels over soft ground rather than firm turf and is running back just three weeks after the British Champions Sprint.
Pros: Finished a good second behind Kinross in the Prix de la Foret (G1) and showed an affinity for U.S. racing when running second by half a length in the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1).
Cons: Hasn’t managed to win at the Grade/Group 1 level and is facing her fiercest challenge yet in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
Pros: The 2021 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) winner is 2-for-2 in North America. Two starts back, he smashed the Woodbine Mile (G1) by 5 1/4 lengths.
Cons: He ran a hard race just three weeks ago when coming home second against Bayside Boy in the Queen Elizabeth II (G1).
Order of Australia
Pros: Upset the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) at Keeneland and regularly cracks the top three against Grade 1 and Group 1 competition.
Cons: He couldn’t outkick Annapolis and Ivar when finishing third in the Oct. 8 Coolmore Turf Mile (G1) over this course and distance.
Pros: Veteran of 37 starts has three group stakes wins to his credit, including a recent score in the Challenge (G2) in England.
Cons: He hasn’t cracked the exacta in three previous starts at the highest level.
Pros: Three-time Grade 1 winner has been a force to reckon with against elite fillies and mares, and trainer Chad Brown won this race with the mare Uni in 2019.
Cons: She finished second without a clear excuse when facing males in the Fourstardave H. (G1) during the summer at Saratoga.
Pros: Accomplished miler counts the Prix Rothschild (G1) and Matron (G1) among her 2022 victories.
Cons: Exits an eighth-place finish in the Sun Chariot (G1) and missed the trifecta in her lone previous start against males.
Pros: Displayed an affinity for Keeneland when upsetting the Maker’s Mark Mile (G1) during the spring.
Cons: He’s gone 0-for-4 since the Maker’s Mark Mile, most recently finishing a distant fourth against Modern Games in the Woodbine Mile (G1).
Smooth Like Strait
Pros: Finished second by half a length in the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Mile and consistently holds his own against Grade 1 competition.
Cons: He’s prone to settling for minor awards and hasn’t visited the winner’s circle since May 2021, finishing second or third in seven straight graded stakes since then.