Handicapping analysis of Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (Race 7) [Breeders’ Cup]

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The Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile is a 1 mile race for three-year-olds and up over the dirt. The purse is $1,000,000. This is race 7 on the program for Saturday’s Card. Post time is 4:01 p.m.

The horse I’m most excited to see here is Preakness winner Shackleford. Louisville’s own Dale Romans trains this three-year-old for Mike Lauffer and Bill Cubbedge. I would love to see Shackleford come out of this day a Breeders’ Cup champion, but he will have a lot of work to do and will face some tough competition. He finished second in his last start, the Grade 2 Indiana Derby, in between Wilbur and Caleb’s Posse, both of whom he’ll face today.

Shackleford broke his maiden at Churchill Downs and ran very well in the 1 ¼ mile Kentucky Derby. This distance was a bit further than he likes. He finished gamely in fourth. I really like him in this Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and am glad his connections opted for this race over the Classic.

Wilburn, who is trained by Steve Asmussen and will be ridden by Julien Leparoux, will be tough in here. He won his last three starts and earned Brisnet speed figures in the 100s. With five wins from eight starts this year, he has to be on your ticket.

Trappe Shot and The Factor are the others most likely to win this race. Neither has raced at this distance, but both have wins at 1 1/16 miles—Trappe Shot in the Longbranch and the Factor in the Rebel Stakes. Both are very speedy horses as well. One major difference in the two is that The Factor likes to be on or near the lead and Trappe Shot is content to sit off the pace. If The Factor and Shackleford (who also likes the lead) get into a speed duel and tire each other out, it could set it up for Trappe Shot or maybe a closer like Caleb’s Posse.