BREEDERS' CUP DIRT MILE | PURSE: $1 MILLION | 3-YEAR-OLDS & UP | 1 MILE
Trappe Shot, the 3-1 morning line favorite for the $1 million Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, will break from the far outside post position Nov. 5 at Chruchill Downs.
"We're happy," said the 4-year-old Tapit colt's trainer, Kiaran McLaughlin, after Trappe Shot got the No. 9 spot in the starting gate. "If we had drawn inside, we might have had to show more pace. Outside, we can let those on the inside -- The Factor, Shackleford, and [trainer] Steve Asmussen's horse, [Tapizar] -- go from the inside and we're sitting on the outside seeing what's going on."
Trappe Shot, who is owned by Mill House, will be ridden by John Velazquez, who has been aboard the swift chestnut in all four of his races this year. The colt made his 2011 debut May 11, winning the Waldoboro Stakes by a half-length over D'Funnybone at Belmont Park. Since then, Trappe Shot has captured the True North Handicap by 8 1/2 lengths at Belmont, finished second by only a nose in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga, and finished fourth in the Vosburgh Invitational Stakes at Belmont. In the Oct. 1 Vosburgh, he was bumped after the start and ran three-wide.
All four of Trappe Shot's races this year have been at six furlongs.
The Factor and Shackleford are the 7-2 co-second choices in the Dirt Mile's field of nine and they will be next to each other at the break. The Factor has the No. 1 post position and Shackleford is in the No. 2 spot.
"One of the reasons I put him [The Factor] in the Mile [instead of the Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Sprint] was just in case he drew the one," said Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. "In the Sprint, it would probably be worse for him. He's not going to rate or anything. [Jockey] Martin [Garcia] will just put him on the lead and see how far he takes him."
A 3-year-old son of War Front owned by Fog City Stable and George Bolton, The Factor has won three of his five races this year. He comes into the Dirt Mile off of a fourth-place effort in the six-furlong Ancient Title Stakes Oct. 8 at Santa Anita Park. He suffered his other loss back in the spring in the Arkansas Derby, when he finished seventh at Oaklawn Park while going 1 1/8 miles.
The Factor has captured the seven-furlong Pat O'Brien Stakes at Del Mar, the 1 1/16-mile Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn, and the seven-furlong San Vincente Stakes at Santa Anita.
Shackleford, owned by Michael Lauffer and W.D. Cubbedge, is a 3-year-old Forestry colt whose biggest claim to fame is his half-length victory over Kentucky Derby Presented By Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Animal Kingdomin the Preakness Stakes in May. Shackleford hasn't won in his four outings since then, but he did finish second in the Haskell Invitational Stakes and Indiana Derby, which was won by another Dirt Mile scheduled starter, Wilburn, who has the No. 5 post position and is 4-1 on the morning line.
"That's a good spot," said Shackleford's trainer, Dale Romans, of the colt's post postion. "I didn't really want to be down on the rail and any other spot I didn't really mind because you have a half-mile run to the turn to jockey for position. It looks like The Factor, being on the rail, will have to go. Maybe he'll just drag us along with him and we can sit right off of him."
Shackleford, who will be ridden by Jesus Castenon in the Dirt Mile, worked five furlongs in :58 1/5 at Churchill Oct. 29 with Tammy Fox in the irons. He went in company with De Price and jockey Mark Guidry. Shackleford and his workmate ran together around the far turn, with Shackleford on the outside. The Preakness winner then out-finished De Price, drawing clear by about five lengths at the wire.
"He's been sharp," said Romans of Shackleford. "That work the other day was super, and he seemed fresh and happy this morning [Oct. 31]. We worked him in company and that's the first time I've done that [with him] this year.
"I didn't do a lot with him after the Indiana Derby," Romans continued. "I just wanted to get one really good work in him. I wanted the horse [De Price] to just break off with him [Shackleford] and that's all he needed. It got him on the bit early and he just dragged Tammy around there the rest of the way."