Dirt Mile Favorite? Morning Line, Who Else
Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II) winner Morning Line is made the 7-2 morning line favorite for the Nov. 6 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I) at Churchill Downs. Thoroughbred Legends Racing Stable's 3-year-old son of Tiznow will face 12 from post 10 in the one-turn mile worth $1 million.
Another son of Tiznow, the 5-year-old Tizway , drew Post 2 for the Dirt Mile.
“I’m very happy with the post,” said trainer James Bond. “He’s got speed, so he’s going to be close. He won’t take on the speed, but he won’t be far back. If nobody wants the front, then he has the speed to go to the lead—that’ll be up to the jockey. Rajiv (Maragh) knows the horse well.”
Tizway was a five-length winner last time out, taking the one-mile Kelso Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park in 1:34 2/5. Out of the Dayjur mare Bethany, Tizway is owned by William L. Clifton Jr.
Godolphin Racing and trainer Saeed bin Suroor have a pair for the Dirt Mile in Gayego (Post 6, 6-1) and Vineyard Haven (Post 12, 10-1). Gayego was fourth, beaten just a neck in a blanket finish in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I). He enters this year’s Dirt Mile off a two-length score over a synthetic surface Sept. 10 in the PID Mile at Presque Isle in Pennsylvania.
“Post six is a decent draw for him in the Dirt Mile,” said Rick Mettee, assistant to bin Suroor. “There certainly appears to be enough speed for him to run at.”
As for Vineyard Haven’s Post 12 draw, Mettee said: “We much preferred to be outside with him. He’ll do anything you ask of him, but I think he prefers running outside of horses.”
Vineyard Haven, winner of last year’s De Francis Dash (gr. I) at Laurel, has made only two starts this year, winning the James Marvin Stakes July 23 at Saratoga and finishing third to Here Comes Ben (6-1, Post 5) and (Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Sprint, gr. I, starter) Big Drama in the seven-furlong Forego Stakes (gr. I) Sept. 4 at Saratoga.
Crown of Thorns , the 4-1 second choice, drew post 8.
“I like being a little bit on the outside with Crown of Thorns,” said Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella. “That should be a good spot for him.”
Spendthrift Farm’s Crown of Thorns missed by a nose to Dancing Silks in last year’s Sprint. He’s finished second in both starts in 2010, both grade I events in Southern California. He has yet to make a start on dirt.
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