10/30/2009 12:00AM

Mr. Sidney opts for Dirt Mile


Though the connections of Mr. Sidney made the $2 million Mile on turf their first preference when pre-entries were made Monday, they have changed their mind and will instead run their 5-year-old son of Storm Cat in the $1 million Dirt Mile over Santa Anita's Pro-Ride surface.

Mr. Sidney is 5 for 9 on turf, including a victory in the Grade 1 Maker's Mark Mile in April and the Grade 2 Firecracker at Churchill in July. In his lone start on a synthetic surface, Mr. Sidney finished second in a second-level allowance race at Keeneland. Coincidentally, the third-place finisher from that Oct. 12, 2008, allowance race, Bullsbay, also is targeting the Dirt Mile.

Moreover, both trainer Bill Mott and owner Lee Einsidler felt the competition in the Mile - with the likes of Goldikova, Court Vision, Cowboy Cal, Delegator, and Karelian - was tougher than the Dirt Mile.

"The turf mile looked extra deep," said Mott, who will run Courageous Cat in the Mile. "Our horse actually handled the synthetic very good in his one race, and we just thought it made some sense to give it a try."

According to Einsidler, jockey Kent Desormeaux told him he gave Mr. Sidney a bad ride in that synthetic race.

"Kent would be the first to tell you horrible ride; six-wide, overly confident thought we were going to win easy, we were second," Einsidler said. "We ran a '2' on the [Ragozin] sheets that day. If we run back to that race, that's a winning-type race in this race, we think."

Desormeaux will ride Mr. Sidney in the Dirt Mile.