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Maker’s Mark Mile Preview: Hit the Road Does Exactly That
Hit the Road winning the Thunder Road (Credit: Ernie Belmonte)

Maker’s Mark Mile Preview: Hit the Road Does Exactly That

LEXINGTON, KY – Trainer Dan Blacker’s red-hot Hit the Road does exactly that as he makes his first sojourn away from California for Friday’s $300,000 Maker’s Mark Mile Stakes (G1) at Keeneland.

The Maker’s Mile is a two-turn turf route open to all horses ages 4 and up. This year’s edition is the penultimate event on a 10-race card and has a local post time of 5:30 PM.

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Here’s a look at the full field for the Maker’s Mark:

1. Get Smokin 8/1 – The super-speedy Tom Bush trainee had a strong 2021 debut in the Tampa Bay Stakes (G3) last month, fighting hard on the front end from start to finish in his first test against older horses. He took the 1-mile Hill Prince Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park last October and jockey Junior Alvarado (aboard for the first time in the Tampa Bay) will gun him right from the bell with this rail draw.

2. Hit the Road 4/1 – He brings a 4-race win streak with him as he travels outside of California for the first time, but he brings a tremendous amount of class with him. He started 2021 winning the Thunder Road Stakes (G3) before necking out several toughies in the Kilroe Mile Stakes (G1) last time out, earning 99 Beyer Speed Figures each time, and he has an overall turf mile record of 8-6-0-0.

3. Somelikeithotbrown 6/1 – Another entry with a sharp early turn of foot, he kicks off his 5-year-old campaign trying a turf mile for the first time since the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1), where he finished third. He won a pair of 1 1/16-mile stakes routes on Belmont Park’s inner turf last year but seems like a pure need-the-lead type, so what happens if someone else beats him to the front?

4. Sacred Life 4/1 – The first of two from the Chad Brown barn debuts as a 6-year-old running the shortest distance that he’s attempted since August 2018, when he finished second in a stakes while racing in his native France. He has a 7-2-3-0 stateside record and reunites with Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano, who piloted him to a 1 1/16-mile allowance score over this course in 2019.

5. Darain 8/1 – Brad Cox’s British-bred trainee steps up to the big leagues for the first time in America after back-to-back impressive efforts against Fair Grounds turf allowance runners, including a 2-length rallying score last time out. He also earned strong Beyer Speed Figures of 92 and 95 that put him in contention with another step forward, but he ran off the board in both overseas stakes tries last year.

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6. Ride a Comet 6/1 – His 4-race win streak came to a screeching halt last time out when he finished seventh in the Kilroe Mile, though in his defense, he was forced to race farther back than he prefers and still finished less than 3 lengths behind Hit the Road. That was his first loss in a turf mile and he’s one of four entries to post a triple-digit Beyer Speed Figure in his career; expect an improved effort here.

7. Flying Scotsman 30/1 – He might have the morning line’s longest odds, but owner/breeder Calumet Farm loves taking shots in big races (see last week’s Wood Memorial [G2]). He wired Gulfstream Park optional claimers in a two-turn mile 2 starts back while receiving race-day Lasix, but his off-the-board defeats 1 and 3 starts ago came without that same assistance; he won’t get Lasix here, either.

8. Raging Bull 7/2 – Chad Brown must be hoping that the third time’s the charm for this horse who was fourth in the 2019 edition and third by a neck last year. He makes his first start since finishing 10th in last November’s Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) held over this same course and distance, but he broke his maiden here and gets the nation’s leading rider Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard for the first time.

9. Field Pass 8/1 – Somelikeithotbrown’s stablemate in the Mike Maker barn prefers to sit mid-pack and get first jump on the leaders, a style that should mesh well with new jockey Joel Rosario, who won 5 of Keeneland’s 7 stakes last weekend. He makes his first start since finishing a close fourth in last December’s Mathis Brothers Mile Stakes (G2) and won last July’s local Transylvania Stakes (G3).

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