Excellent Art, who is less than a length shy of being a winner of his last three races in England, all group I events, was made the 3-1 favorite for the Oct. 27 NetJets Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) at Monmouth Park. Had he not drawn the 13 post, that figure would probably have been lower.
The 3-year-old Pivotal colt, trained by Aidan O’Brien, has made four starts this year. Following a fourth in the French 2,000 Guineas (Fr-I), he won the St James’s Palace Stakes, was beaten a head in the Sussex Stakes, and was a half-length back in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
"It is not an ideal draw," said David Hood of William Hill, which raised its price on Excellent Art from 3-1 to 7-2. "He drafts back to last, which is why we just raised him a half-point. Six Perfections won the Mile from the 12, so though not ideal, it can be done."
Excellent Art, owned by Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, and Matthew Green, will be ridden for the first time by John Murtagh, who replaces Jamie Spencer. He and the other horses trained by O’Brien were to arrive at the Newark airport about 5 p.m. Oct. 23.
The 7-2 second choice is After Market, who won four straight races in California—including two grade Is—before shipping to Belmont and losing the Kelso Handicap (gr. IIT) by just a half-length. Owned by Marty and Pam Wygod and trained by John Shirreffs, the Storm Catcolt will break from the three post under Alex Solis.
Attractive at 8-1 is Nobiz Like Shobiz, who is unbeaten in three starts on the grass. A proven dirt performer before the switch by trainer Barclay Tagg, the Albert the Great colt will break from the nine hole under John Velazquez. He is a homebred for Elizabeth Valando.