It’s crunch time for those aiming to participate in the Breeder’s Cup Championships, so this week we turn our attention to the G1 Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes at Keeneland. This Breeder’s Cup Mile win-and-you’re-in event presents a $1,000,000 purse for 3 year olds and up. In 2014 The Shadwell Turf Mile was the first million dollar race run at the historic Kentucky oval. Keeneland has attracted a competitive and full field of 14 for this year’s event, including 2 entries from its namesake, Shadwell Stables.
During Keeneland’s Spring meet, 1m graded stake turf races were run with a decided advantage to early speed. Four of the twelve graded 1m turf events were won in wire to wire fashion. There was also an advantage to breaking from an inside post position.
There are several runners who have put up some sizzling recent early fractions. FourStarDave winner Voodoo Song looks like the only pure “need the lead” type, with 7/2 morning line favorite Heart To Heart looking to prompt the pace, along with Multiplier, Analyze It and Holiday Stone.
Analyze It, a Chad Brown trainee, has never finished worse than 2nd in 6 lifetime starts. This 3yr old colt broke his maiden at Belmont as a 2yr old and has run in only graded stakes since. He is coming in off of consecutive 2nd place tries.
The speed in the race is made more interesting by several contenders exiting races from Kentucky Downs. The Kentucky Downs strip did not see any wire to wire turf route winners in its 5 day meet. One close exception is the #14, Bound for Nowhere, who sat chilly in 2nd for most of a mile and made a calculated stretch move to the winner’s circle. Another Kentucky Downs speedster is 30/1 morning line Multiplier who set the pace in the G3 Kentucky Turf Cup only to fade in the lane.
From the back of the pack we will have Next Shares and Divisidero from the inside posts, along with Almanaar, another Chad Brown trainee, and long shot Big Score.
The horse I landed on is the 4/1 morning line Qurbaan. Breaking from post #7, this horse won the G2 Baruch Stakes at Saratoga after hitting the gate, then traveling farther than any other horse in the field, all while making his stateside debut.
Qurbaan defeated Voodoo Song and Divisidero in that effort and I will look for him to improve even more and beat this field to the wire.