The BC Las Vegas Dirt Mile has Come Into Its Own
The Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, now called the Las Vegas Dirt Mile, has become one of the top features during the 2-day Breeders' Cup Event. At one time an afterthought, the last three years of the Dirt Mile has produced enough great performances to make the race the co-feature with the BC Distaff on Breeders Cup Friday. See below for a run down of those three races as well as some thoughts on the 2016 Las Vegas Dirt Mile.
2013, GoldencentsGoldencents' win in the 2013 Breeders Cup Dirt Mile has to be considered a watershed moment for the race. Up until then horses like Tapizar, Calbe's Posse and Dakota Phone had won the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile. Those three were good horses. Goldencents was a great horse. Goldencents ran the first quarter mile in a super quick :22.12. He ran the half in :44.75. It may have been the best performance of any Breeders Cup race in 2013.
2014, GoldencentsThe Doug O'Neil trainee came back with an even more impressive win in the 2014 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile. Once again, Goldencents ran the half in :44 and change. He was pressed up past the half-mile pole by Vickers In Trouble. The horse trying to chase him down in the attached video is the well-regarded Tapiture, who at one time was a hot Kentucky Derby prospect in 2014. After Goldencents second win, more horseplayers and horse racing fans began to take notice of the BC Dirt Mile. For two years in a row, it had garnered one of the best horses on the planet.
2015, Liam's MapLast year saw the second best horse in the United States, maybe the world, win the Las Vegas Dirt Mile after getting into tons of trouble. Liam's Map got into trouble at the start, along the backstretch, and right before they turned for home. All he did was run past Grade 1 winner Lea in the stretch. What a great race the super-talented Todd Pletcher trained horse ran.
It doesn't appear that the Las Vegas Dirt Mile will lose any of its luster in 2016. The groundwork that horses like Goldencents and Liam's Map have laid for the race could come to full fruition this year as both Frosted and Runhappy are likely to enter into the Dirt Mile. Runhappy has precious little time to get ready to defend his BC Sprint Championship from 2015. The Dirt Mile could be a better race for him anyhow since Bob Baffert's duo of Lord Nelson and Defrong will run in the BC Sprint. So will the incredibly fast A.P. Indian.
As far as Frosted is concerned, going after California Chrome, the best horse on the planet, as well as superstar in the making Arrogate at 1 1/4 miles may not be the ideal situation for Frosted. My gut feeling is that his connections are thinking Pegasus World Cup in February with him. If so, a 1 1/4 mile, grueling event like the Breeders Classic may not be in the cards for Frosted.