10/27/2009 11:00PM

Mott has two for latest try in BC Mile

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Barbara D. Livingston
Bill Mott has twice sent out the second-place finisher in the Mile. This year he has Courageous Cat, winner of the Hall of Fame at Saratoga, and Mr. Sidney, who won the Maker's Mark at Keeneland.

That four Europeans and three Godolphin-owned horses were among the 14 pre-entries for the Breeders' Cup Mile roused little surprise. That Bill Mott has two horses in the race - that was a little surprising.

Mott's pair certainly belong in top-class competition on their best day. It's just that neither Courageous Cat nor Mr. Sidney had his best day when last seen racing. Mr. Sidney finished a distant third in the Shadwell Turf Mile last out at Keeneland, while Courageous Cat was a close third as the odds-on favorite in the Jamaica Handicap at Aqueduct.

Both Mott-trained horses are likely to take a backseat in the betting, as are all the Americans. The likely Mile favorite is last year's winner, the French filly Goldikova, who heads a strong overseas contingent. Also certain to be well backed are Zacinto and Delegator, who have traded decisions in recent English one-mile stakes, both finishing behind BC Classic-bound Rip Van Winkle last out in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot. Confirmed front-runner Gladiatorus is the last of the trans-Atlantic Mile quartet.

Zacinto and Delegator both are 3-year-olds, as is Courageous Cat, the Mott-trained full brother to the high-class turf horse After Market. Courageous Cat won his maiden just four starts ago, on June 10 at Belmont, but was quickly jumped into stakes competition, winning an overnight race over the decent Al Khali in a blazing time on July 19. About a month later, Courageous Cat easily won the Grade 2 Hall of Fame at Saratoga, looking like any kind of horse.

That was why he was odds-on in the Grade 1 Jamaica, where things did not really work out. Courageous Cat took an early lead, set slow fractions, and then was strangely taken back off the lead on the far turn, coming on again late to finish third by less than a length.

"It would have worked out fine if he'd have gone on with it, but that didn't happen," Mott said.

Mott showed confidence in moving Courageous Cat from a maiden win to a stakes, and the same can be said of his entry in the BC Mile.

"He's come along very nicely over the course of the summer," said Mott.

Five-year-old Mr. Sidney has less upside than Courageous Cat, but more accomplishment, with one-mile turf wins this year in the Grade 1 Maker's Mark and the Grade 2 Firecracker. But while Mr. Sidney won the Maker's Mark over a yielding Keeneland course, he appeared to sputter over a soft Keeneland course in the Oct. 10 Shadwell.

"He just didn't seem to be going anywhere on it," Mott said. "He's won a Grade 1 and a Grade 2. We're all for taking our chances."

Mott himself will be trying to win the Mile for the first time, and is out to end an 11-year Breeders' Cup losing streak, having last won with Escena in the 1998 Distaff. He sent out second-place Mile finisher Geri in 1997, and second-place finisher Paradise Creek in 1992. And this time, Mott has two shots to get the top spot.