BREEDERS' CUP DIRT MILE | PURSE: $1 MILLION | GRADE 1 | 3-YEAR-OLDS & UP | 1 MILE
A well-balanced field of nine, including 2011 top 3-year-old Shackleford, has been entered for the $1 million Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita Park Nov. 3.
Trained by Dale Romans for Mike Lauffer, Bill Cubbedge, and Phillips Racing, Shackleford drew the 6 post under jockey Ramon Dominguez when nine horses were entered Oct. 29. Produced from the Unbridled mare Oatsee and bred by Lauffer and Cubbedge, Shackleford has won five of his 18 starts, including last year's Preakness Stakes.
Also during his 2011 campaign, Shackleford finished second in the Haskell Invitational and Florida Derby and was fourth to Animal Kingdom in the Kentucky Derby.
After beginning his season with a seventh-place finish in the Donn Handicap, the 4-year-old son of Forestry was cut back in distance to run third in the Carter Handicap and followed with a win in the Churchill Downs Handicap, both at seven furlongs. Shackleford showed his affinity for a mile when he won the Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park in May.
Given some time off, Shackleford returned in the A.G. Vanderbilt, run at six furlongs on a muddy Saratoga surface, finishing last of eight. In his most recent effort, the colt finished second to fellow Dirt Mile contender Jersey Town in the Kelso Handicap.
Shackleford comes into the Breeders' Cup with a career tally of 5-5-1 from 18 outings, with earnings of $2,824,047.
Trained by Barclay Tagg, Jersey Town prepped for the World Championships by finishing second to Emcee in the Forego before winning the Kelso. The son of Speightstown will break from post 3, with Javier Castellano up.
Charles Fipke's homebred has won or placed in 17 of 20 starts and earned $789,668. Included among his six wins was a triumph in the 2011 Cigar Mile Handicap. He ran sixth in last year's Dirt Mile.
Emcee's Forego victory was his first graded stakes after knocking on the door several times in his seven-race career. A Godolphin Racing homebred trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Emcee has four wins to his credit and has earned $479,900.
After finishing third in the Tom Fool Stakes, the son of Unbridled's Song was fourth in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap. A $50,000 optional claiming victory at Belmont Park served as a confidence builder for Emcee, who went on to be close-up third, beaten only a half-length, in the A.G. Vanderbilt before winning the Forego.
Handsome Mike, a 3-year-old son of Scat Daddy trained by Doug O'Neil, is coming off a two-length triumph in the Pennsylvania Derby when he was saddled by Leandro Mora. Mora is O'Neill's assistant who ran the stable during a suspension.
While he has won or placed three times in 10 starts, Handsome Mike has four fourths, including the Secretariat Stakes and Haskell Invitational. He has earned $756,780 for owner Paul Reddam, who teamed with O'Neill to win this year's Kentucky Derby.
One of the least-experienced horses in the field is Fed Biz, trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert. A 3-year-old son of Giant's Causeway, Fed Biz has won three of his five starts, with one third, while bankrolling $184,206. His three victories came in succession, all at a mile, and were capped by the El Cajon Stakes at Del Mar.