10/23/2002 11:00PM

Handicappers' analysis of the Breeders' Cup Mile


The world's best miler towers over the competition. European superstar Rock of Gibraltar has won seven straight Group 1's, possesses a blistering turn of foot, and his recent victories have been more visually impressive than the margins suggest. Barring the unforeseen, he should dominate. Good Journey may be better than anyone realizes. He has pointed to this race all year, is lightly raced and unbeaten in 2002, enters on a four-race win streak, and is the leading American threat. Euro-shipper Medecis is not as good as Rock of Gibraltar on form, but he fits. Lightly raced since spring, he finished well in his prep, arrives in peak form, and may start at overlaid odds. Beat Hollow looks over the top.

- Brad Free

Rock of Gibraltar would have been in tough in the Classic, but figures to make short work of his foes here. His class and consistency make him hard to deny at low odds. Aldebaran is an interesting possibility based on his dirt form. He rallied from off the pace for second behind Orientate in the Forego and Bonapaw in the Vosburgh, and won't mind the surface and distance switches. Beat Hollow was all out to win at 7-10 in the Arlington Million, and disappointed at low odds in the Eddie Read and in the Keeneland Turf Mile. You'll get a much higher price than usual on him, but he still has the look of an underlaid contender. Landseer had the right style for the Keeneland course, and was also helped by the solid pace. He'll have to work harder to upset this stronger field.

- Steve Klein

Top connections opted to run Rock of Gibraltar where he belongs, which is bad news for rest of Mile field. A winner of seven straight Group 1 races, he handles any course condition, with his lone conceivable Achilles' heel a lack of race-day experience on a left-handed layout. Aldebaran has spent 2002 clunking up for second in dirt sprints, including a paceless Vosburgh, but his true niche may be one-mile turf races judging from his U.S. debut nearly a year ago to the day. Chavez back on. Dress to Thrill beat Turf contender Ballingarry in debut vs. males at 2, and since then has won five of six, including a 4-for-4 record at a mile; live longshot handles good-to-firm ground. Landseer is a Grade 1 winner here and abroad, but post 13 is often a killer for pace-pressers types like this.

- Dave Litfin

After hemming and hawing between the Mile and the Classic, Rock of Gibraltar's connections chose this race, as they should have. With seven consecutive Group 1 victories - the last five at this distance - and with a late kick that is nothing short of deadly, Rock of Gibraltar is simply the best miler in the world. Good Journey is facing much better than he did during his current four-race win streak, but he ran strongly last time out in the Atto Mile, sustaining a solid pace throughout. Aldebaran makes his first start of the year on turf here. But, he has been competitive with the best sprinters around, and he ran well on turf in his last two starts last year; consider at a price.

- Mike Watchmaker