Perhaps the most important of the post position draws for the World Thoroughbred Championships is the NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT). Taking into consideration the tight track configuration and a full field of 14 top-quality horses, horsemen like to draw inside to help save ground or gain a forward position. An outside post is perceived as a negative although the last two winners of the Mile have come from post 11.
Taking the worst of the draw, in post 14, is Nuclear Debate. The late-running 7-year-old son of Geiger Counter, owned by William and Donna Herrick and trained by Southern Californian Darrell Vienna, enters the Mile off a third-place finish in the Atto Mile (Can-I).
"Let's just turn this table over now," Vienna said after the announcement at his table in the Breeders' Cup Pavilion outside Arlington Park. Then, on a more serious note, he said, "We were going to take up and go over (to the rail) anyway, so it's not the end of the world."
Gary Stevens was named to ride Nuclear Debate, who was listed at 30-1 on the morning line.
Drawing the inside post was Arthur I. Appleton's Forbidden Apple (15-1), last year's Mile runner-up. Jockey Jose Santos, who has ridden Forbidden Apple in his last four starts, will be replaced by Corey Nakatani. Nakatani rode Forbidden Apple for trainer Christophe Clement last year. Forbidden Apple is coming off a second-place finish in the Kelso Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIT) at Belmont Park.
The trainer and connections of one horse were happy. Trainer and part owner Wally Dollase, Michael Jarvis, and Gary Margolis were pleased with post 4 for their Good Journey. When their number was announced, Jarvis and Margolis gave each other a high five. Good Journey, the Atto Mile winner, is 8-1 on the morning line.
"Anything from one through seven, we'd be happy," Jarvis said. "We got four, which is right in the middle."
"We're fortunate," Dollase said. "We wanted to be more to the inside."
Pat Day was named to ride Good Journey for the third time. His first two mounts aboard the son of Nureyev resulted in graded stakes victories. "We picked up Pat Day at Churchill Downs for the Firecracker," Dollase said. Good Journey won the Firecracker Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIT) on July 4. "He liked the horse and he said he'd stick with us. When he says he likes a horse, that's good news. It means something to me."
Trainer Bobby Frankel has two Mile entrants: Aldebaran (15-1), who drew post 7, and Beat Hollow, who drew post 2. Beat Hollow is the 6-1 second choice in the race behind heavy favorite Rock of Gibraltar (even money), who drew post 10 after his Coolmore connections opted for the Mile over the Classic (gr. I).
"I'm not worried (about Rock of Gibraltar), it takes the pressure off me," Frankel said. "I'm going in relaxed. I'm not nervous. The horses are doing perfect."
In the previous 18 runnings of the Mile, nine of the winners have come from posts 1-4. Five of the winners have come from posts 10-12. Oddly enough, posts 5-9, where most trainers would prefer to start from, have only registered four wins. Post 11, the gate of the last two Mile winners (War Chant and Val Royal), was drawn by Gainsborough Farms' Touch of the Blues (20-1). He will be ridden by Kent Desormeaux and is trained by Neil Drysdale, the trainer of War Chant.
NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT), $1 million, one mile (turf), 3-year-olds and up.
PP, Horse, Morning Line Odds
1, Forbidden Apple, 15-1
2, Beat Hollow, 6-1
3, Medecis, 15-1
4, Good Journey, 8-1
5, Domedriver, 15-1
6, Green Fee, 50-1
7, Aldebaran, 15-1
8, Del Mar Show, 20-1
9, Boston Common, 50-1
10, Rock of Gibraltar, even
11, Touch of the Blues, 20-1
12, Dress to Thrill, 30-1
13, Landseer, 8-1
14, Nuclear Debate, 30-1