Pro Player Quick Pick: BC Dirt Mile 10/31/2014

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D.S. Williamson

October 29th, 2014

Supposedly, the likeliest winner on the Breeders’ Cup Friday card is defending BC Dirt Mile champ Goldencents. He’s listed at 6/5 on the morning line. Although Goldencents will be tough, there is a horse in the field that could provide major dividends at what should be more than fair odds.

Santa Anita Park Race 7 | 3:05 pm ET

Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile 3&Up going 1 mi.

9 – Tapiture – 6/1 – The Grade 2 Rebel winner closed mightily in the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby in his last to lose by only 5 lengths to runaway winner Bayern. It was the best performance against Bayern that anybody else put into the race. Plus, it came after a terrific nose victory in the Grade 2 West Virginia in August. Both the Pennsylvania Derby and the West Virginia Derby are run at 1 1/8 miles. So, what does Asmussen do with his prize three-year-old? He brings him to Santa Anita three weeks before the BC Dirt Mile and puts in four works over the track. The work on Oct. 12, 5 furlongs in :59.1, and the work on Oct. 19 a week later, 5 furlongs in :59.3, are meant to help jockey Rosie Napravnik keep Tapiture close to Goldencents, Vicar’s In Trouble and Handsome Mike, the three possible dueling front-runners in this race. All indications are that Tapiture is sitting on a big race this Friday and if the other speedsters soften up Goldencents just a bit, Rosie figures to put Tapiture right there on the wire for the win.

1 – Goldencents – 6/5 – Beating Goldencents won’t be easy. The race does set up for Tapiture to put in a good run, but there is a reason that in a million dollar event, Goldencents is a 6/5 morning line chalk. He obliterated the field in the BC Dirt Mile last year and it took a race horse of Rich Tapestry’s caliber to beat Goldencents by a nose in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship, Goldencents prep for this. Rich Tapestry has won over $1.4 million dollars and is undefeated on dirt. Rafael Bejarano is one of the best riders on the West Coast. But there is a knock. Unless Calvin Borel is aboard the horse, most of the time they don’t respond to a rail run. What it means is that Rafa is going to have to hustle him out of there as soon as the gates open and hope that Johnny V. aboard Vicar’s In Trouble, Mario Gutierrez aboard Handsome Mike, and even Paco Lopez aboard Pants on Fire don’t press as hard as they could. Goldencents is a year older. And, yes, he’s awesome, but a young gun like Tapiture might still be improving and that could be the difference in this race.

3 – Vicar’s In Trouble – 12/1 – Rosie decided to go with Tapiture in this race even though she’s had great success aboard the Grade 2 Super Derby winner. Vicar’s In Trouble is extremely quick out of the gate. He’s been either on the lead or no worse than a length behind at the first call in 7 out of his 10 lifetime races. In his 4 lifetime wins, he’s been on the lead by the second call. It’s interesting to me that a horse with so much speed is being disregarded when it comes to pressuring Goldencents. Not only that, but if the pace isn’t as swift as many expect, there is nothing that says Goldencents will put away a horse like Vicar’s In Trouble in a dog fight in the stretch. Jockey Johnny Velasquez (Johnny V.) knows that Vicar’s In Trouble’s only shot is to go to the lead, pin Goldencents to the rail, and just go as fast as he can. Don’t discount Vicar’s In Trouble’s chances to win the BC Dirt Mile.