Updated on 09/15/2011 2:03PM

Countdown to the Cup: The Mile (9/20)


Last year in the Breeders' Cup Mile, War Chant posted a hard-fought victory as the lukewarm 7-2 favorite, outlasting three other rivals in an incredibly contentious running.

This year, the $1 million Mile could have every bit of Park. Familiar faces such as North East Bound, Affirmed Success and Hap are back in consideration for the Mile, joined by such new shooters as Irish Prize, Noverre, Numerous Times, Banks Hill and maybe even Balto Star.

Obviously, much is to be decided in the coming weeks.

The Mile picture should get at least a small degree of clarification with the running of three key American preps: the Kelso Mile at Belmont on Oct. 6, and the Keeneland Turf Mile and Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile, both on Oct. 7. In addition, European trainers generally are keen to run when the Breeders' Cup is at a cool-weather site such as Belmont, but clearly the

recent tragedy in New York may be an overriding factor in their decisions whether to travel here.

Irish Prize would aim to give trainer Neil Drysdale his second straight victory in the race. Two other trainers have won the Mile twice in a row - Francois Boutin with Miesque (1987-88) and Shug McGaughey with Lure (1992-93) - but Drysdale, having saddled War Chant last year, would be the first to win two in a

row with different horses.

Hap, second in the 1 1/4-mile Arlington Million, is something of a 'tweener, distance-wise, for Bill Mott, who has said that a mile may be a tad short for the distinctive-looking chestnut, but the 1 1/2-mile distance of the BC Turf too far.

Redattore would be a top prospect for Richard Mandella, but the horse would have to be supplemented for a 20-percent fee ($200,000).

With no North Americam horse having stamped himself as a clear-cut favorite for the Mile, a punter in Europe has taken a stand on one of their top horses.

According to The Sporting Life, Coral reported a 1,000-pound wager being made on Jim and Tonic after the French horse won a Grade 3 race at Maisons-Laffitte in his home country Tuesday. The British bookmaker immediately lowered the odds on Jim and Tonic from 14-1 to 10-1. Jim and Tonic, a 7-year-old trained by Francois Doumen, ran ninth in the Mile at Gulfstream in 1999 as the 4-1 second choice.

Other Mile favorites at Coral are Irish Prize and Hap at 6-1 each, Noverre at 7-1, and Numerous Times and Affirmed Success at 10-1 each.