The Mile has a prime position on the Breeders' Cup card, being the final race before the Classic. That means that it gets more eyes than other races as casual fans tune in to get ready for the Classic. The history of this race is rich. In the last decade we have seen the great Goldikova win this three straight years starting in 2008, and then we saw Wise Dan win the race in 2012 and 2013 to clinch Horse of the Year both times. Other legends - Miesque, Lure and Da Hoss - have won the race twice to claim their place in history as well. Now Tepin is looking to be next. She won the Mile impressively last year and has had a great season again this year. Is she the next Mile legend? She has a deep field here. Twenty-three horses pre-entered for the 14 spots in the starting gate, so we are going to see a strong field and, hopefully, a very good race. Here are the highlights of the field:
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Tepin (3/1 morning line): What a great champion. Her Breeders' Cup win last year was her second straight win, and she followed it up with six more wins. The most impressive of those wins was the Queen Anne Stakes at Ascot. To cross the ocean to the epicenter of turf racing and beat all comers in a very significant race is a big deal. The challenge for handicapping Tepin comes in the last race. Two back, after returning from England, she won the Woodbine Mile, but she had to work harder than ideal to do so. Then in early October she went to the First Lady at Keeneland and was finally beaten - long shot Photo Call wired the field at 30/1. The spin form trainer Mark Casse has been that they weren't too concerned about the loss because the priority was not burning too much in that race. I only sort of buy it. She has looked below her best two in a row now, and her works have only been okay. She is a great horse, and the most likely winner, but if the price gets too low we'll have no choice but to look to beat her - it will be easy for the value to be bet out of her.
Ironicus (8/1): In the Shadwell Turf at Keeneland in early October he found himself way back of the lead early as he usually does, exploded like a rocket around the final turn, and came up just a head short of winner Miss Temple City. It was a solid effort, and especially so when it was his first race since early June. He's looked great in the morning since and seems to be rounding into form. He's a big threat to the champ.
Alice Springs (4/1): This is remarkable - a three-year-old European filly who already has 15 races to her credit. All have been in Great Britain, and in the last two she has won strong Group 1 races. She's legitimate. A three-year-old filly running against older males is a big concern, and this is a long trip for a young horse leaving home for the first time. Her connections are about as good as they can get, though, and she looks like she will thrive on the hard turf she'll face here. You can't ignore her.
Midnight Storm (12/1): This five year old has won his last three races - all graded stakes and all in California. He's beaten good horses and is certainly good enough to be a threat here. He hasn't raced since Aug. 21, so rust is a bit of a concern. I suspect that the price is going to be good enough that we can't avoid betting on him.
Limato (7/2): He's another Euro with two big wins and a second in Group 1 races in his last three. Very good and very fast horse. The issue, though, is that those three have been in sprints, and it is far from a sure thing that he can get this distance as effectively as he needs to. I'm inclined to toss him. Whether I do or not, though, this is just a crazy morning line price.
Miss Temple City (12/1): He held off Ironicus' blistering stretch drive to win the Shadwell last time out. She's a four-year-old filly, and that was the second time this year she has beat older males. Impressive. The reason she has faced older males, though, is because it was the easiest way for her to avoid Tepin. That's probably wise - she's a nice horse but probably doesn't quite measure up.
Tourist (15/1): It takes me a while, but eventually I can learn a lesson. The last two years I have bet on this guy in this race. I like a lot about him. He has rewarded my loyalty by finishing 14th and eighth in this race before, though, and I don't think he's quite as good now as he has been. I will avoid the temptation this time around.
Photo Call (15/1): She beat Tepin last time, so we know she is capable. To do that, though, she got loose on the lead and got away with the gamble. That doesn't always work - just like it didn't the two races before the win. I can't bet on it happening against a field this deep.
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