In what is being billed as one of the more intriguing of the Breeders’ Cup, superstar Omaha Beach has drawn post five for the Big Ass Fans Dirt Mile. His draw might be meaningless, though, considering the versatility that he has shown this season. The Dirt Mile will be the sixth race on the Saturday card at Santa Anita Park and offers a purse of $1,000,000.
Here is a look at the field:
#1 Giant Expectations – One horse with plenty of experience in the Dirt Mile is Giant Expectations, who will make his third appearance in this race. In 2017, he finished sixth behind Battle of Midway, while last year, he was a distant fifth to City of Light. He is winless in five starts this year, but he has hit the board four times. His last race was the best effort of the season when he finished second by a nose in the Pat O’Brien Stakes (G2) at Del Mar.
#2 Improbable – This Bob Baffert trainee was at one time a top choice to win the Kentucky Derby (G1). In fact, he went off as the favorite in both that race and the Preakness Stakes (G1). He was unable to win either one, but he did win two starts back in the Shared Belief Stakes over the highly-talented King Jack. Last time out, he shipped to Parx for the Pennsylvania Derby (G1), but he could do no better than fourth after acting up in the paddock and the gate.
#3 Spun to Run – He comes into this spot under the radar despite winning two of his last three starts. After running third in the Haskell Stakes (G1) earlier this summer, the Hard Spun colt won the Smarty Jones Stakes (G3) at Parx before finishing fifth there in the Pennsylvania Derby (G1). Most recently, he was a winner once again at Parx, cruising home to an easy victory in the M.P. Ballezzi Appreciation Mile Stakes.
#4 Mr. Money – After a poor Kentucky Derby Trail effort, he got on track by winning the Pat Day Mile (G3) and the Matt Winn Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs. He then took the Indiana Derby (G3) at Indiana Grand and the West Virginia Derby (G3) at Mountaineer, victories that led to a try against Grade 1 company in the Pennsylvania Derby last time out. He ultimately finished second by a neck behind Math Wizard.
#5 Omaha Beach – He certainly has the most to gain with a win in this spot. The son of War Front was on his way to becoming the favorite in this year’s Kentucky Derby (G1) before throat surgery forced him to miss several months of action. After breaking his maiden at Santa Anita Park in February, he shipped to Oaklawn Park for his next two starts and came home a winner in both the Rebel Stakes (G2) and the Arkansas Derby (G1). Those victories had everyone buzzing, but he wasn’t seen again until the Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1), where he returned with a tremendous victory over Shancelot while going 6 furlongs.
#6 Ambassadorial – This European shipper comes over to run on the dirt, which is rare; most European runners prefer American turf. He does have an American pedigree, though, which could bode well for him. He has one victory in six starts this season while finishing third in his last three races; one of those was his lone start on dirt in the Korea Cup Stakes (G1), while the other two were on a synthetic surface.
#7 Coal Front – Earlier in the year, he put up an amazing performance in Dubai, winning the Godolphin Mile (G2) by 3/4 of a length. That victory elevated his status quite a bit, but it also took a lot out of him when he returned to America. He finished seventh in the Met Mile (G1) and third in the Monmouth Cup (G3) before finally winning last time out in the Parx Dirt Mile.
#8 Blue Chipper – This Tiznow gelding has done all of his racing in Korea, where he has won seven of eight lifetime. He comes to the Breeders’ Cup on a solid six-race winning streak, including some impressive wins in his last two starts. In fact, last time out, he became a Grade 1 winner when taking home the Keeneland Korea Sprint Stakes at Seoul. He adds a lot of international spice to a race that hardly ever attracts overseas shippers.
#9 Diamond Oops – This horse has shown tremendous versatility this season, running well on both turf and dirt. He picked up the biggest win of his career three starts back in the Smile Sprint Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park, which led to a second-place effort in the Vanderbilt Handicap (G1) at Saratoga. Last time out, he moved to the turf and ran second in the Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes (G1) at Keeneland.
#10 Snapper Sinclair – He switches back to the dirt after winning the Tourist Mile Stakes on turf last time out at Kentucky Downs. This versatile colt by City Zip is solid on both surfaces, though, and the mile distance is where he gives his best efforts. In his last try on dirt, he finished a solid third at Mountaineer in the West Virginia Governor’s Stakes (G3).
The race is all centered around Omaha Beach, who is going to be a strong favorite. A win here will certainly get him back in the picture for 3-year-old Horse of the Year, depending on what Code of Honor does later on in the card. Fellow 3-year-old Improbable could be his biggest challenger, especially if he can behave himself in the paddock before the race – he has had issues with that several times in the past.