The Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile is maybe my favorite event on racing’s biggest weekend. There are always so many different directions you can go from wagering perspective. We have horses stretching out. We have horses cutting back. And they all meet in the middle in this one-turn mile. And this year, we will likely find ourselves still mostly unsure of the final field until the week of the race, as a number of BC Dirt Mile contenders will undoubtedly be entered in two spots. But one major Dirt Mile contender that I can’t see landing anywhere else is City of Light.
With two Grade 1 wins at 7F and a fantastic 2nd in the Grade 1 Forego off the 90-day layoff when six-wide turning for home, you COULD make a case for running City of Light in the Sprint. But that would be a flimsy case and a mistake. He belongs in the Dirt Mile and I’m sure that’s where we’ll see him. And speaking of his Forego effort, it was really good. His wide trip cost him valuable ground, while winner Whitmore ran up the rail and sprinted home in front. But City of Light ran farther and was best that day. Then if you toss the 10F try in the Gold Cup, what you’ve got is a pretty darn impressive resume. And don’t ignore that win at Oaklawn over Accelerate going 1 1/8 miles, a full 1/4 mile stretch-out from his prior start. A mile is right where this guy wants to be.
So what could make him vulnerable in the Dirt Mile? With the long run down the Churchill backstretch, an outside post shouldn’t hurt him like it did in the Forego. He broke from Post 11 of 11 and won in the Oaklawn Handicap. And he broke from the rail when winning the Malibu going 7F in his stakes debut. We also know he can win on the lead and from off the pace, and he takes his racetrack with him, having won or run bang-up races at Del Mar, Santa Anita, Oaklawn, and Saratoga. So it’s hard to point to any one thing and call it a vulnerability. City of Light is the total package. Let’s hope Catalina Cruiser comes to Louisville undefeated and helps our price. And what if Mind Your Biscuits lands here too? Or Promises Fulfilled? This guy might be among my top plays of the weekend if everything goes smoothly for the next month. He’s fast, versatile, tenacious, and just plain good.