Gorella, a beast on the turf course this year against the girls and a formidable foe against the boys, drew post position 12 of 14 for Saturday's NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) at Churchill Downs.
Pegged the 4-1 morning-line favorite by oddsmaker Mike Battaglia, the Martin Schwartz-owned filly comes into the Mile off a hard-fought nose victory over Karen's Caper in the First Lady Stakes (gr. IIT) at Keeneland Oct. 14. The 4-year-old French-bred filly covered a mile over the Keeneland turf course in 1:34.
Gorella, trained by Patrick Biancone, will be ridden by sensational apprentice-turned-journeyman jockey Julien Leparoux.
"We'd be better on the inside, that's for sure, but 12 is OK," Leparoux said of the draw. "We'll have to take back and cover up, so we should be OK for that."
Gorella's style is take back and make one charge in the stretch run. Her electrifying turn of foot almost got the job done in last year's Mile at Belmont Park, but she fell just short o in a third-place performance.
Leparoux, a lock for the Eclipse Award as the nation's top apprentice rider this year, will be riding in his first Breeders' Cup. The 24-year-old rider, however, has been in plenty of top races this season while riding first-call for Biancone, including Gorella's last-to-first tour de force in the Beverly D. Stakes (gr. IT) at Arlington Park Aug. 12.
"The Breeders' Cup Mile should be a different kind of race, because normally you'll have some pace, which will be good for us. We'll see the day of the race, but we might even be closer to the pace this time."
Close to the pace, or on the lead in the Mile will be Ballygallon Stud's Aragorn, pegged as the 5-1 third choice. The son of Giant's Causeway
has won four in a row in Southern California for trainer Neil Drysdale. Aragorn drew dead center in post 7 in the 14-horse field.
Second choice at 9-2 on the morning line is Arrafa, one of the top milers in Europe this season for trainer Jeremy Noseda.
From Aidan O'Brien's camp is Ad Valorem and Aussie Rules, impressive winner of the Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. IT) at Keeneland in early October. The 3-year-old colt by Mull of Kintyre drew the dreaded 14 post position.
Only one horse in Breeders' Cup Mile history has won from the 14 post, but several have won from posts 10, 11, and 12. War Chant
winner of the Mile the last time the event was at Churchill Downs in 2000 came from post 11.$2 Million NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT, Race 7, 3:15 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 Mile (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Ad Valorem (KY), 126, Jamie P. Spencer
2. Silent Name (JPN), 126, Victor Espinoza
3. Araafa (IRE), 123, John R. Velazquez
4. Sleeping Indian (GB), 126, Alex O. Solis
5. Free Thinking (KY), 126, Jose A. Santos
6. Echo of Light (GB), 126, Lanfranco Dettori
7. Aragorn (IRE), 126, Corey S. Nakatani
8. Badge of Silver (KY), 126, Edgar S. Prado
9. Rob Roy (KY), 126, Ramon A. Dominguez
10. Miesque's Approval (FL), 126, Eddie Castro
11. Super Frolic (KY), 126, Shaun Bridgmohan
12. Gorella (FR), 123, Julien R. Leparoux
13. Librettist (KY), 126, Christophe Soumillon
14. Aussie Rules (KY), 123, Garrett K. Gomez