Saturday’s $400,000 Shoemaker Mile (G1) drew a field of seven runners that will battle on turf at Santa Anita, with a free ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) going to the winner.
The Shoemaker Mile is the first U.S. based Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” race of 2017. This year’s Breeders’ Cup will be held at Del Mar on Nov. 3-4.
The race drew an evenly matched group led by Bal a Bali (3-1), who is looking to rebound off his fifth-place finish in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs on May 6.
Heart to Heart is the 5-2 morning line favorite but not much separates him from our top pick or What a View (3-1), Farhaan (4-1) and Bolo (4-1).
The co-feature on Saturday’s card at Santa Anita is the $400,000 Beholder Mile (G1) which features a couple of Eclipse Award winners in Stellar Wind (3-5) and Finest City (3-1).
A field of five was entered but trainer Bob Baffert said Faithfully may scratch as did Jerry Hollendorfer, who entered Show Stealer, who may also be a defection.
Let’s head out to Santa Anta for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Santa Anita Race 7 The Shoemaker Mile G1 Post time 4:00 PT
3 Bal a Bali 3-1
1 Heart to Heart 5-2
4 Farhaan 4-1
2 What a View 3-1
Bal a Bali stalked the early pace, came with a five-wide bid and finished evenly in a fifth-place finish in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1) last out at Churchill Downs going nine furlongs over a turf course that had more give to it than this guy likes. The Richard Mandella trainee won the Frank Kilroe (G1) two back over the turf here off a long layoff with a near career top speed fig at a mile. The seven-year-old has won 7 of 12 at the distance and the cut back and the firmer footing with get this guy back on track. He should get an honest pace to run at in this spot.
Heart to Heart draws the rail and should be part of the early pace. Last out in the Makers 46 Mile (G1) at Keeneland the Brian Lynch trainee pressed the early pace, had a clear lead heading for home and drifted out and was caught by American Patriot, just hanging on to the runner up spot by a nose. He won the Canadian Turf (G3) two back at Gulfstream Park and has won 11 of his 21 starts on turf in his career. He owns solid early and mid pace numbers.
Farhaan made a good late rally to get up and win the Thunder Road (G3) last out at a mile here in his second start since landing with the Phil D’Amato barn. He ran second two back against $75,000 optional claimers after hipping in from New York. Carlos Martin claimed this guy for just $40,000 last summer and he ran a good fourth in the Bernard Baruch Handicap (G2) in his first go for the barn. He makes just his third start off the bench here and the race sets up nicely for him.
WIN: #3 to win at 5-2 or better.
EXACTA: 1,3 / 1,2,3,4
TRIFECTA: 1,3 / 1,2,3,4 / 1,2,3,4,7
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Michael’s two-day Breeders’ Cup Report includes his selections, analysis, fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for every race on the two-day championship event from Del Mar on Nov. 3-4.