Last year's champion British juvenile, Distant Music ran poorly in two starts this spring in an interrupted campaign, but he put it all together to win a group III race at Doncaster in September. He then flew home over 10 furlongs to finish third to Turf-bound Kalanisi and Montjeu in the Dubai Champion Stakes (Eng-I). Distant Music represents excellent across-the-board value in a wide-open Mile.View a list of Breeders' Cup Mile pre-entries . . .
View a list of Breeders' Cup Mile pre-entries . . . From Europe's 17 Breeders' Cup wins, it isn't surprising to find that seven have come in the Turf (gr. IT) and seven in the Mile (gr. IT). Two of the seven in the 16 editions of the Mile have come at Churchill Downs -- Miesque in 1988 and Barathea six years later. The key European prep has been Ascot's Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Eng-I). Several Breeders' Cup Mile favorites, coming off a QEII victory, have failed in the Mile, but three Ascot second-place finishers have won -- Miesque, when she won her first Mile in '87, Barathea, and Ireland's Ridgewood Pearl in '95. This year's runner-up, Giant's Causeway, who was beaten by Observatory in an attempt to win his sixth group I race of the year, is headed for the Classic (gr. I). Crimplene, eighth at Ascot, has been entered in the Distaff (gr. I) with only seventh-placed Indian Lodge on his way to the Mile. Indian Lodge, trained by Amanda Perrett, confirmed the QEII form with his storming victory in Longchamp's Prix de la Foret (Fr-I, Oct. 15). The horse will be looking for soft ground while the trainer is looking to avenge her father, Guy Harwood, who sent out perhaps the most disappointing European horse ever to run in the Breeders' Cup: Dancing Brave, fourth at 1-2 in the '86 Turf. The home team has won the last two Miles and trainer Julio Canani is hoping to repeat Silic's '99 win with Ladies Din, owned by the two principals in Silic: Terrence Lanni and Bernie Schiappa. Ladies Din will need supplementing at $120,000 but he is coming in off a rallying fourth in the Atto Mile (Can-I) and victory in the Eddie Read Handicap (gr. IT). Only a neck separated Forbidden Apple (trained by Christophe Clement) and Affirmed Success (Richard Schosberg) in the Kelso Handicap (gr. IIT, Oct. 8) and the Belmont prep has proved a key indicator in three Breeders' Cups. Lure '92 and Da Hoss '96 both finished second before winning the Mile while in '93 Lure won the Kelso before winning his second Mile. The Bill Mott-trained Hap won four straight before finishing two lengths back in the Kelso and also has to come into the Mile reckoning while on the West Coast, War Chant has had a typically quiet Neil Drysdale preparation for the eight furlongs. Away since running ninth in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), War Chant returned to win the Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IIT), Oct. 14. Another for the short list is former European/Dubai runner Altibr, neck winner of Keeneland's Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes (gr. IIT) in stakes record time, Oct 7. British bookmaker Coral currently rates Arkadian Hero co-Mile favorite with Ladies Din, and no wonder. While he hasn't been competing in top company in Europe, Arkadian Hero let the cat out of the bag with his unlucky second to Riviera in the Atto Mile. Trainer Luca Cumani, responsible for Barathea, will have this one spot-on come Breeders' Cup Day. Also going to the Mile from the Atto is Godolphin's fifth-placed Muhtathir. Khalid Abdullah's Juddmonte Farms pinpointed two Mile runners after weekend racing in Europe, Oct. 14 and 15. Dansili, second in the Foret, should give a good account of himself but the "sleeper" may be Distant Music, trained by Barry Hills.