Breeders’ Cup Big Ass Fans Dirt Mile Updates

October 31, 2019

Mr. Money Looking Like A Million Bucks

Photo Credit Eclipse Sportswire / Breeders’ Cup Photos ©

Updated notes on the Big Ass Fans Breeders Cup Dirt Mile

Diamond Oops – Diamond Oops jogged once around the Santa Anita racetrack Thursday morning under assistant trainer Andie Biancone while preparing for a start in Saturday’s $1 million Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.

“We’re in it to win it, as simple as that,” said trainer Patrick Biancone when asked about his confidence level for the 4yo son of Lookin At Lucky’s quest to upset morning-line favorite Omaha Beach.

Diamond Oops won the 6f Smile Sprint at Gulfstream Park June 29 and finished second behind Imperial Hint in the 6f Alfred G. Vanderbilt at Saratoga July 27 before finishing second on turf in the Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland, where he set a pressured pace before losing by less than a length to Bowies Hero.

“We ran in the mile race to give him conditioning for this race. In January 2018 he got an injury. It took time to fix him. It was eight months of stall rest. It’s eight months he’s been in training and we have used his races to prepare him instead of breeze and breeze and breeze,” said Biancone, who considers Diamond Oops a better horse on dirt than turf. “We have gone step by step and hope we have him perfect for this weekend. That seems to be the case.”

Since recovering from a pulled flexor in a pastern, Diamond Oops has breezed exclusively on turf at Gulfstream’s Palm Meadows Training Center when he has breezed. 

Improbable – Trainer Bob Baffert figures that Improbable’s behavior before the race starts will determine whether he can be successful in the Dirt Mile. The 3yo City Zip colt has talent – he was the favorite in the Kentucky Derby and the Preaknesss – but has been a bad actor at times.

Improbable will start from post two under new rider Rafael Bejarano.

“Man, you just hope that he doesn’t go in the gate and starts his antics. He’s his worst enemy right now,” Baffert said. “He’s a really good horse, and there are some good horses there. You’ve got Omaha Beach. The break is going to be essential. In the Mile it’s pedal to the metal. It’s pedal to the metal in all these races with all these good horses. At least he’s on the inside. If he breaks well, if he’s not first or second … he’s got to break.”

Mr. Money – Multiple Grade 3 winner and Pennsylvania Derby runner-up Mr. Money galloped Thursday morning under Simon Camacho and was scheduled for a paddock schooling session with horses in the first race Thursday afternoon.

Owned by Allied Racing Stable and Spendthrift Farm, Mr. Money is one of two horses in the 10-horse Dirt Mile field to have raced exclusively in graded company in 2019 with Hog Creek Hustle being the other,

“He has never missed a beat,” trainer Bret Calhoun said. “He’s a very aggressive horse and we are very fortunate he has stayed sound all year.

Santa Anita will mark the sixth track at which Mr. Money has run this year.

“After the Pat Day Mile, he stayed at Churchill Downs and then the Indiana Derby was only a couple hours away,” Calhoun said. “His first real ship was to West Virginia and then to Parx and he handled everything great.”

Gabriel Saez, who has been aboard Mr. Money in 10 of his 11 starts, will be aboard Saturday.

Omaha Beach – Dirt Mile favorite Omaha Beach galloped 1 1/2m Thursday under regular rider Taylor Cambra and the horse’s performance left both his rider and Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella smiling.

One of the most successful trainers in Breeders’ Cup history with nine wins, Mandella had several options for Omaha Beach, who had been the morning-line favorite for the Kentucky Derby before being scratched days before the race with a breathing issue and won a 6f sprint in his return to the races five months later, but in the end decided to do what was best by the horse and opted for Dirt Mile.

“He’s certainly talented enough for the Classic, but the Proper thing is the mile,” Mandella said. “The Classic may have been asking too much.”

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