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Aaron previews the 2022 Coolmore Turf Mile Stakes (G1) at Keeneland, then gives his top picks and longshots from this “Win & You’re In” for the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Mile. Set Piece looks to stay hot for trainer Brad Cox following his impressive victory in the BWI Turf Cup (G3) at Pimlico. Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!
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Godolphin’s Santin and Cannon Thoroughbreds’ Smooth Like Strait, the 1-2 finishers in the Arlington Million (G1) at Churchill Downs in August, head a field of 12 plus four also-eligibles entered Wednesday for Saturday’s 37th running of the $1 million Coolmore Turf Mile (G1).
In addition to the Coolmore Turf Mile, Saturday’s 11-race program will offer two other Grade 1 tests: the 25th running of the $750,000 First Lady Presented by UK HealthCare for fillies and mares going a mile on the turf and the 109th running of the $600,000 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity for 2-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles on the main track
The Coolmore Turf Mile is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race that awards the winner a fees-paid berth into the 39th running of the $2 million FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) to be run here Nov. 5. Two Turf Mile winners have gone on to win the Breeders’ Cup Mile: Wise Dan in 2012 and Steinlen (GB) in 1989.
The Coolmore Turf Mile will go as the 10th race on Saturday’s 11-race program with a 5:45 p.m. ET post time. First post is 1 p.m.
Trained by Brendan Walsh, Santin is a two-time Grade 1 winner this year with his other Grade 1 triumph also coming at Churchill in the Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic on Kentucky Derby Day, May 7. In his lone Keeneland start, Santin was an allowance winner last fall in his second career race. Tyler Gaffalione will ride Saturday and exit post position seven.
Smooth Like Strait, who has finished in the top three in all eight of his starts in Grade 1 stakes, is trained by Michael McCarthy. In his lone Keeneland race, Smooth Like Strait finished third this spring beaten a nose and a neck in the Maker’s Mark Mile (G1). John Velazquez has the mount Saturday and will break from post position two.
In addition to Santin and Smooth Like Strait, four other Grade 1 winners are in the field: Classic Causeway (2022 Belmont Derby), Order of Australia (IRE) (2020 Breeders’ Cup Mile), Ivar (BRZ) (2020 Shadwell Turf Mile) and Casa Creed (2022 Fourstardave and 2021-2022 Jaipur).
The field for the Coolmore Turf Mile, with riders and weights from the rail out, is: Classic Causeway (Julien Leparoux, 123 pounds), Smooth Like Strait (Velazquez, 126), Order of Australia (IRE) (Christophe Soumillon, 126), Gray’s Fable (Brian Hernandez Jr., 126), Masen (GB) (Flavien Prat, 126), Ivar (BRZ) (Joe Talamo, 126), Santin (Gaffalione, 126), Annapolis (Irad Ortiz Jr., 123), Casa Creed (Luis Saez, 126), Somelikeithotbrown (Jose Ortiz, 126), Emaraaty (GB) (Florent Geroux, 126), Set Piece (GB) (Joel Rosario, 126). Also-Eligibles: Atone (Ricardo Santana Jr., 126), Dark Shift (GB) (Vincent Cheminaud, 126), Natural Power (IRE) (Adam Beschizza, 126), Greyes Creek (Gerardo Corrales, 126).
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