BC Mile (Grade 1)- $2,000.000 Purse
SA- For Three Year Olds and Upward
One Mile on the Turf
November 4, 2023
Up next, on our look at BC weekend, we bring you the 21st running of the BC Mile, which is an open race for three-year-olds and upward on the grass. Alpha Ultimo would go down as the first ever winner of the race, and since then the race has seen the likes of Jagged Account (2006 and 2008), Seven Years (2014), Sir Tom (2015), and Iron Nation (2020) be just some of those who have taken home the coveted trophy for this race. Three trainers (Australia Wide, Saratoga Stud, and Nakamura Stables) have won the race twice, and no one has won more than that. In 2022, Aer Stables picked up the win with the late Great Bonkers. He never really got much traction going as a five-year-old this year, and his final race was the Manhattan, in June, where he struggled. One thing we can be certain of with this field is that we will have a first-time winner in the race, so let’s meet those who will be taking a shot on Saturday!
#1- Riley (Royalty Stables, ridden by L Dettori)- Around this time last year, Riley was a horse that was doing decently in overnights, but you never would have thought he’d be here. Not sure where exactly you would point to his turnaround, and perhaps it was just a case of needing to have the opportunity to race in bigger races. Here in May, he won the $100.000 Crystal Water Stakes, for CA-Breds, then showed he could compete against graded foes when he was second in the Kelso. The momentum never stopped, as he won the Grade 2 King Edward BC Stakes prior to running third in the WO Mile. How far forward can Riley go? What we do know is that he certainly belongs here and could pull it off.
#2- Penal Hockey Party (Maxmillion Farm, ridden by J R Velazquez)- There was plenty of reason to party last year, as the Penal Code gelding made it to the BC Mile, but he could only finish in the middle of the field. This year, like a team that fell short in the Stanley Cup playoffs, Penal Hockey Party has been able to build on that, accumulating over $1,800.000 in earnings this year alone. Winning a pair of $1,000.000 races: The Forester Turf Classic and the AP Million went a long way in that, but he was consistently finishing well in top notch races. This includes his last start, where he can from behind to be third in the Shadwell Turf Mile, missing by just half a length. Maxmillion Farm seems to be a name that belongs on the winner’s list of this race, and just maybe this will be his year.
#3- Indian Summer (Diablo Diablo, ridden by R M Hernandez)- In nine starts this year, Indian Summer has only won once, and he has not always been on the grass. His results are much better on the turf, even when it is yielding, as was the case with his win in the Grade 3 Kittens Joy. Otherwise, he’s been steady, placing third in the Grade 2 American Turf, and then running second last month in the Grade 2 Eddie D Stakes. That’s all good, but whether or not he is good enough to beat the likes of some of the ones he sees here, I am not as confident about. Sure, he can have his day, he has that ability, but others just seem like they are doing a little more, and in races that are a little bigger.
#4- Grand Opening (Riggins Racing, ridden by L Saez)- In February, Riggins picked up a horse that was riding a three-race winning streak at mid-level tracks in private sales for $20.000. The visions would be much greater than that, and in May, he would win the Grade 3 Dinner Party Stakes at PIM. After arguably hitting a bit of a rut, Grand Opening eventually made his way north of the border at WO, and picked up the win that got him to the BC Mile: capturing the WO Mile in a photo over Pxg and Riley, each of which will be taking another run at him here. By the way, if you thought his dam, Beginning Of The End sounded familiar, she was also the dam of last year’s BC Fillies & Mares Sprint winner, Oceanus.
#5- Absolutely Grande (Grimley, ridden by E J Zayas)- While Grand Opening had a great time in the WO Mile, there was nothing grand about it for Absolutely Grande, as he failed to beat anyone in the race. That was a surprise, because he had looked so good a month prior in winning the Fourstardave Handicap at SAR. It may be that race was the fluke, though, when you look at the performances that surround it. His beginning of the year form was better, and in the Fourstardave, we learned that he can still fire a good one off. Absolutely, that can happen here, but others feel like safer bets for one’s virtual money.
#6- Last Way To The Beac (Maxmillion Farm, ridden by P Lopez)- Making his third appearance in the BC, but it is the first time that it will be the BC Mile. He’s run in the Turf twice before, and both of them saw a finish in the double digits. Last Way To The Beac is a better horse than that, so perhaps he will find that the BC Mile is more to his liking. He’s running as good as he ever has, with five straight SRF’s of 100 or greater and wins in both the Read Stakes and the Mint Million during that stretch of time. At times, he throws in a dud but I don’t think that is going to happen here.
#7- Pxg (Mb Stables, ridden by Mario Gutierrez)- Pxg was a part of the BC Mile festivities last year, but he could only finish in the middle of the field. In 2023, the now seven-year-old gelding has been hit and miss, and his only win was in a $18.450 open allowance. His last start is what got him here, and where he showed he still has it, as he finished second in the WO Mile, narrowly missing out at the wire. Can we count on that happening again? Maybe, but races like the Kilroe Mile and the Forester Turf Classic cannot be overlooked, either, asking, that’s the problem.
#8- Bronze Bomber (Threshold, ridden by R A Vazquez)- Threshold has never won a BC race, but this year, he’s got some very good entries and one of them is right here with Bronze Bomber. So, perhaps this year will be the year for him! Bronze Bomber has won half of his races in 2023, three of six, which is highlighted by taking the Grade 3 Arlington, not to be confused with the AP Million, in June. In his last race, he won the City of Hope Mile (Grade 2), and if you’re asking, “where’s the Grade 1’s”, he ran fourth in the Forester Turf Classic, proving that he can run against the company he faces here. He won’t be the favorite, but I don’t really see why he couldn’t win.
#9- Love Of The Derby (Mb Stables, ridden by J Lezcano)- Purchased in private sales this January for $50.000 when he was still unknown, and Mb Stables has been rewarded with quite a horse. He certainly loved Love Of The Derby’s three race winning streak that followed, which included an ungraded stake, but there would be even better up ahead. He went back-to-back in the Grade 3 Manila at BEL and the National Museum Of Racing (Grade 2) at SAR, as well. In his last race, the finishing position of sixth in the Shadwell Turf Mile isn’t exciting, but it was a better run than that will indicate, earning a 102 SRF. If he’s not a factor this year, he seems like a good bet to be back next year, as he’s only made ten starts (winning six).
#10- American Generals (Blazin D, ridden by F Pennington)- Another lightly raced horse in this type of race, as the three-year-old has made just eight starts, and won three. After not getting it done on the dirt, Blazin D moved him to the grass and got great results right from the get-go, beginning modestly before culminating in the Grade 2 DMR Mile that he won, and what played a big part in getting him here. There’s not more than that to get excited about, but if he runs like that again, he can very much win this race. However, he’s another one that a year from now I could see being right back here and maybe with a stronger chance.
#11- Atomic Eclipse (Spankys Barn, ridden by T Gaffalione)- This six-year-old gelding has made 40 starts, and won over $900.000 during his career but this will be his first time running in the BC. He’s been a regular in races like the WO Mile, and the little bit of progress that he has made this year has allowed “just missing out” finishes to turn into results where he hit the board. In June, he did win the Poker Stakes (Grade 3) at BEL, and in his last two starts, he was second in a pair of Grade 2’s: the DMR Mile and the City Of Hope Mile, and that’s what got him here. Has he proven that he can beat this type of field? I’m not fully sure, but he certainly deserves the shot.
#12- Prom King (Mb Stables, ridden by M Franco)- In 14 career starts, Prom King has either been dating the prom queen, or sitting on the sidelines entirely. He’s won half of those starts, highlighted by the Shadwell Turf Mile last month, and the Kelso three starts ago. Between them, he was awful in the Mint Million, which shows his other side: when he doesn’t win, he doesn’t hit the board. In a typical graded stake, I could still give him a chance, but in the BC, it’s too risky. He’s never won two stakes in a row.
#13- Jakarta (Nakamura Stables, ridden by D E Centeno)- The trainer has the chance to be the first three-time winner of this race, and in his effort to do so, he starts Jakarta, who’s won just a bit shy of $1,000.000 on the year. A three-race winning streak earlier in the year, which was finished off by taking the Shoemaker Mile here in May, played a big part in those earnings. That win clinched his spot here, but he kept on running well, finishing second in the United Nations and third in the Mint Million. Sure, he’s on a run where he finishes one spot worse that he did in the race previous, but that can be changed. I really like his consistency on the turf, and feel he is one of the better options in this field.
#14- Hawaiian Lord (Our Athletes, ridden by F Geroux)- Consistently finishing second or third in top graded races has allowed Hawaiian Lord to run here in the BC Mile. He does have a win this year, but that was in an optional claimer for FL-Breds in March. Nice and all, but not something that’s going to intimidate these rivals. Otherwise, it has been primarily second or third in races like the Mint Million, Forester Turf Classic, and Fourstardave Handicap, so he is certainly being highly competitive. Is he due for a breakout? Sure, that argument can be made, but more likely it is an argument to include him in exotics, but probably not on top.