BC Dirt Mile – Grade I
SA Race #9 1m Dirt Graded Stake
Purse $1,000.000 For Three Year Olds And Upward.
The BC Dirt Mile has long been held as the little brother of the BC Classic but as a race for specialist milers it is the pinnacle of the year, and you only have to look at the previous winners to see how big a deal it is in the racing calendar. Madhouse, Whats Up, Hardline, Moment of Madness to name but a few so I don’t think this race is anyone’s little brother. Australia Wide has won the race three times and still stands out in that achievement but Mb Stables has two wins on the board, and they will be keen to wipe that record today. The race was dominated by the three-year-olds from 2013 to 2020 but in 2021 we saw a shift as Broken Tap won as a six-year-old and that was repeated last year when Gran Z won it at the same age. Whilst there has been no documented shift in development, we have definitely seen the older horses have more success against the threes in recent years, so this race has now moved beyond just picking the best three-year-old.
The race record is still held by One For The Road who recorded the remarkable time of 1.33.4 for this race in 2012, he never won another graded stand, race after that and was retired in 2016 after finishing down the field in a $7 claimer. As things stand I don’t think that record will fall in a while, but it is likely the winner will have to run somewhere in the 1.34’s so I still expect a good race time especially with the on-pace nature of the race engine this year.
Onto the runners now, lets see who measures up for 2023:
1 Ginger Clean
A six-year-old gelding, trained and bred by the Sidley Stud
The winner of 12 from 44 for $779.460
This trainer is known for switching between race levels with great success but this one has been doing well enough for a while now to hold his entries at the graded level. He slots into the ace draw which may not be the best for him as he likes to close late and going back from the one gate can see a lot of horses to negotiate. But if luck is with him and the pathways open up then he has shown all year he is capable of a strong finish. His recent works have been very strong, and he may be worth a look at what may be good odds.
2 Dancing Rattler
A four-year-old gelding, trained and bred by Martyparty
A winner of 8 from 22 for $684.650
He has been in good form this year and has been within a length of all of the top sprinters at some point this season. He has run triple digit speed figures in his last six starts and not won any of them which just goes to show how competitive the sprint division is, thus the rather surprising decision to run him here instead of the sprint. I must admit I do not blame the trainer for having a go in this race which should be less of a lottery than the shorter race and he certainly has the ability if he can see out the mile. He is rewarded with a great draw which will certainly help and may reward the trainer’s bold decision.
A three-year-old colt, trained by Fractious and bred by Arkansas Elite
A winner of 2 from 13 for $737.800
This one’s career is of immense interest to me because he really seems like an enigma. Even the fact that he lines up here after just a maiden win and a grade three win is unlikely but only as unlikely than after being beaten less than a length by Wahpekute Sious and Jacks Courage in the AR Derby he finished second last in both the KYD and The Preakness. Add to that the fact that he sold for a season’s record $2325.000 after two awful efforts in the TC and we have a mystery inside an enigma, surrounded by intrigue. So taking away his history what of his chances of getting anywhere near paying back the money he was bought for today. Well, he won the WV Derby nicely, he gets a weight advantage and he is drawn well, all very positive. Also a positive is the fact that I have long thought this horse would love the mile trip so he may be in here with a much better chance his form lines suggest. I would imagine this horse is going to make his money back in the shed, but I reckon he may just be the dark horse in this race.
4 Stormy Liberal
A five-year-old gelding, trained by Big Guns Stable, bred by Wood Duck Stables
9 wins from 27 starts for $647.89
Doesn’t even break into the top 50 of qualifiers for this race but gets in thanks to an automatic qualification in the O Brien where he won by a nose after coming from the back from a wide draw. He has never won a route race and is better known as a sprinter, but such is HRP that the trip isn’t such a major factor in performance which he proved last time when very close in the Awesome Again when going down by just a half-length. The ratings are against him, but I think he could surprise a few.
5 Seydoux II
A five-year-old gelding, trained by Arindel and bred by Smokey Stover
9 wins from 31 starts for $1253,060
I have a feeling that this one may be flying under the radar for this race. Five-year-olds can go through a transformation as they mature, whether it’s a planned rapid rise in their improvement curve which is programmed in or something that the trainer has changed I don’t know but he has gone from solid overnight allowance level to a CT Classic winner and a really good chance in this BC race in the course of the year. In his last three starts he has either won or been beaten a whisker in some high-level graded stakes and worked a sub 1.36 mile time all of which would not look out of place against a BC winners name.
6 Anna Da Artist
A four-year-old gelding, trained and bred by Smokey Stover
10 wins from 19 starts for $956.420
This one has a lovely win percentage and on his close second in the CT Classic last time has every chance in this race, A prolific winner he has generally been kept out of the limelight, but the trainer has stepped him up in his last two and he managed a great win in the MTH Cup and then that brave second in the CT Classic giving him the chance to compete here. The promise has always been there, and the trainer has been very patient so today will be the acid test.
7 Skylight Sword
A five-year-old gelding, trained by Onlineracingclub.com and bred by Smokey Stover.
8 wins from 25 starts for $559.61
Another that wouldn’t get in the field by a long way if it wasn’t for an automatic qualification, I actually really like this one as a lively outsider. You do not get better blood than this one has, being a son of State Police out of Distant Cousin and like many he seems to have found his racing legs at age five. Claimed for just $35.000 at the end of last year he was muddling along until he seemed to turn a corner in the Salvator Mile and then just kept on improving to his last win in the Ack Ack. This race can very often throw up a winner from the left field and this may be the one.
8 Puppet Master
A seven-year-old gelding, trained by Spankys Barn and bred by Barcelona Farms
6 wins from 30 starts for $1,337.970
Competed in the BC Sprint last year and goes to the mile for the first time in his 30-race career. His best sprinting trip was probably seven furlongs, and he has gone as far as 12 furlongs when second in the Tokyo City Cup so I am not worried about the trip for him today. Early in the year he was in fine form winning two grade ones and then finishing a close third in the Foster at grade one. That form put him at another level at the ripe old age of seven but there has been a hiccup in his last two. I really think that his best trip is around the mile so excuses can be made for the fact he weakened over nine and ten furlongs in his last two so that may be the excuse we need to make his case for winning this. He could easily bounce back to winning ways here and I do like older horses in these races as they have a bit more ring craft than some.
9 Twin Rackets
A three-year-old gelding, trained and bred by Alydar Stables
4 wins from 12 starts for $828.800
The form these days can be a bit up and down at the top levels due to the closeness in ability of our top 200 or so horses and this one’s form has that look about it. He ran poorly in the BC Juvenile last year and seemed to spend the first part of the year struggling with his best trip going from deep closing in the TC qualifiers to deep closing in sprints with little success. However, it only takes one race to make a horse look good and he did that in his last start when timing his run perfectly to land the PA Derby. He certainly seems better suited by an off track so maybe his best chance lies with rain but as we saw in the PA Derby when he gets his timing right, he can produce a potent finish. He will need some favors from the race engine but if he gets them there aren’t many that can finish like him.
10 Sirius Black
A three-year-old gelding, trained and bred by Arindel
4 wins from 14 starts for $828.200
A three-year-old that comes here with some pretty good credentials despite his public works being a little bit off the best of these. He ran really well in the KYD from a terrible gate running on late to be beaten just two lengths and did better in the BEL when fourth and running from a better draw. He showed his well-being with an easy win in the OK Derby last time out and that race may have been a dress rehearsal for this race. I expect the trainer to try and use some wide gate speed push to get this one in the lead and I think that is where he has his best chance over the mile which may test his turn of foot if he has to come from the back.
A three-year-old colt, trained and bred by Pan Farms
2 wins from 8 starts for $395.700
The most lightly raced in the field he didn’t run at all as a two-year-old, so this is practically his first season of racing. Considering he hasn’t won any sort of stakes race it is surprising that he even made this field,, but such is racing at HRP because you can easily find a reason he could win this. Third in the Day Mile in his only attempt at this trip in only his fourth start and working 1.36 flat he is as good as anything here. He has faced a wet track in his last two starts and has been placed twice at grade one in only 8 races so I feel those two wins could easily have been more if the trainer had gone that way.
I really feel this one may be the biggest outsider of the BC which could win someone the pick em, but he could also be installed at the 1/10 favorite by the odds monkeys and finish last so please don’t get too inspired by my enthusiasm.
12 Noble Faerie
A three-year-old gelding, trained by Riggins Racing and bred by Chubby Racing
6 wins from 19 starts for $662.100
Some here will be suited by an off track but going by this one’s effort in the Travers last time we will not even see him if it rains. That run was so bad you would have to believe he has some sort of allergy to the wet but let’s ignore that for now and treat it with the sort of pessimism the run deserves. Prior to that he was a fine second in the grade one Haskell and despite his public works being less inspiring than some a case for winning this can easily be made by his efforts at the races, Looking at his running style to date he will go back from the wide draw so will need some race engine luck but if he gets it there is no reason he can’t get into it at the end.
13 More Twist
A three-year-old gelding, trained by Mb Stables and bred by Team 7 Illusions
4 wins from 12 starts for $654.640
Another three-year-old who’s form is up and down he certainly has the ability to win but so do all the others so all we can do is assess his chances. My main fear for him is that he has been unimpressive when running from wide draws in the past and he gets that today so if there is any consistency to him that could be a negative. But on the positive side he was a good second in the pacific Classic and won the grade one Stephens so there is more than enough to believe he can win this.
A three-year-old colt, trained and bred by Mb Stables
2 wins from 10 starts for $582.600
The trainer gets the two outside draws with their two runners but with so many runners in the BC overall they won’t be complaining though it will certainly be challenging to get the most out of these two in this race. Maybe it will be a case of one forward and one back and this may be the one that is chosen to go forward taking full advantage of the wide gate speed push. He looked a big KYD hope when taking the SA Derby and didn’t run badly there or in the Bel but didn’t get into the top four either. He went to sprinting after that before a decent run in the Awesome Again beaten less than a length but his overall record seems to lack the consistent winning form that may be required here.
Just as I come across one here that looks like the winner, so I come across another then another and so on. This is a very even race with 14 winning chances so once again the pin may be required for the pick em. I would imagine we will see about six, six to one joint favorites for this race so I have no confidence in predicting the winner but for the sake of this preview I will call 5, 7 and 9 as my numbers.