10/05/2011 11:24AM

Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile field remains in flux

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Tom Keyser
Jackson Bend is an early favorite for the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile.

The field for the $1 million Dirt Mile remains very much in flux as some of the would-be top contenders remain under consideration for other races as well.

Kelso winner Uncle Mo is a virtual certainty to run in the Classic, but his connections want to see him train before completely ruling out the Dirt Mile. Provided he runs in the Classic, that could send a bevy of horses into the Dirt Mile, where the early favorite is Jackson Bend, based on his runner-up finish to Uncle Mo in the Kelso and his Grade 1 Forego victory.

Twirling Candy, who missed the Goodwood due to a bruised foot, is back on the work tab, and trainer John Sadler said he is leaning toward the Dirt Mile over the Classic, but didn’t rule anything out.

“He’s going to be a shorter price in the Mile,” Sadler said.

A potential newcomer to the Dirt Mile field could be Wilburn, who won his third consecutive race taking last Saturday’s Grade 2 Indiana Derby by 4 3/4 lengths. The improving son of Bernardini looks similar to Morning Line, a 3-year-old who got beat a head in this race last year. His connections have yet to discuss Breeders’ Cup plans. Indiana Derby runner-up Shackleford and third-place finisher Caleb’s Posse also are under strong consideration for the Dirt Mile.

Trappe Shot, fourth as the favorite in the Vosburgh, will be pre-entered in both the Sprint and Dirt Mile, but trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said he is leaning toward the Dirt Mile. Trainer Bob Baffert said The Factor, running in Saturday’s Ancient Title at six furlongs at Santa Anita, also will be pre-entered in both spots, but he is leaning toward the Sprint. Baffert said that if Haskell winner Coil were to run in a Breeders’ Cup race, it would be the Mile.