Oklahoma-bred Kip Deville has come a long way since November 2005, when he broke his maiden at Remington Park in his career debut.
Three grade I victories and more than $2.7 million in earnings later, the 5-year-old horse has a chance to join elite company Oct. 25 at Santa Anita Park in the $2-million Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT). Kip Deville is seeking a repeat in the event, won twice by Miesque (1987-88), Lure (1992-93), and Da Hoss (1996 and 1998).
Owned by IEAH Stables, Pegasus Holding Group Stables, John Roberts, and Andrew and Steve Cohen, Kip Deville enters this year’s Mile as he did in 2007—with a prep race in the Woodbine Mile (Can-IT) in Canada. His second-place finish at Woodbine last year set him up for the Breeders’ Cup; he won the Mile in style on a “soft” course at Monmouth Park.
This year, Kip Deville again rated just off the pace in the Woodbine Mile, but had no punch in the stretch and finished fifth. Michael Iavarone of IEAH Stables said Kip Deville didn’t care for the surface and has since trained well in anticipation of his trip to California.
Indeed, on Oct. 13, Kip Deville worked six furlongs in 1:12 4⁄5 on the turf at Aqueduct, where he is based with trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. It was the latest in a series of solid works since the trip to Canada.
This year’s Mile could take on extra meaning for IEAH and company given the events of Oct. 13. Kip Deville worked in tandem with Big Brown , who was injured during the workout and quickly retired. Big Brown, owned by IEAH Stables and Paul Pompa Jr., was scheduled to run in the $5-million Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I).
Kip Deville, by Kipling out of the Encino mare Klondike Kaytie, has produced few poor efforts in his 24-race career. His first graded stakes victory came in December 2006, appropriately at Santa Anita in the grade III Sir Beaufort Stakes at one mile on the turf. In his only other start on the Santa Anita grass, Kip Deville won the Frank E. Kilroe Handicap (gr. IT) in March 2007.
Kip Deville rated just off the pace in both Santa Anita races, which were run on firm turf. Though based on the East Coast, Kip Deville should benefit from those efforts and not be at a disadvantage in this year’s Mile.
The Mile has been run three times at Santa Anita, all on firm turf. Last Tycoon, close to the pace throughout, won in 1986; Lure led at every call except the first one in 1993; and in 2003 Six Perfections capitalized on a hot early pace after being well back at the start.
In six trips to California, the Breeders’ Cup, not surprisingly, has seen firm turf. In the unlikely event the course isn’t firm, Kip Deville would be among those with good “off” turf form.
Kip Deville has been lightly raced this year but has two stakes wins: the grade I Maker’s Mark Mile on the turf at Keeneland, and the grade III Poker Handicap on the turf at Belmont Park.
The complexion of the Mile largely hinges on the European presence.
Raven’s Pass, owned by Princess Haya, won the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Eng-I) at Ascot in England Sept. 27 and earned a guaranteed berth in the Mile. Still, trainer John Gosden also entered Raven’s Pass, who defeated the highly-regarded Henrythenavigator in the QEII, in the Breeders’ Cup Classic as a first preference.
2008 Breeders' Cup Mile Pre-Entries:
Awesome Gem has first preference in the Classic
Lord Admiral has second preference in the Dirt Mile
Precious Kitten has second preference in the Filly & Mare Turf
Ventura has first preference in the Filly & Mare Sprint
Goldikova (IRE) has second preference in the Filly & Mare Turf