LEXINGTON, Ky.— To get Mira Mission to the $4 million Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) here on Nov. 5, trainer Ian Wilkes had a choice of using last Saturday’s $500,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) at Aqueduct or Friday’s $300,000 Sycamore (G3) at Keeneland.
In the end, there was really no decision at all.
“I’m based here, so why ship 14 to 16 hours to New York and then back?” Wilkes said. “He can run right out of his stall here and why risk the chance of shipping and knocking him out (of the Breeders’ Cup).
“You’ve got to think of the horse and he’s a small, lighter frame horse, so why put extra stress in shipping?”
Owned by the Mary Abeel Sullivan Revocable Trust, Mira Mission came to the Wilkes barn last fall after beginning his career with Tom Bush. Winner of the Canadian Turf (G3) at Gulfstream in March, Mira Mission made his presence felt on Kentucky Derby Day at Churchill Downs with a runner-up finish in the Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic (G1) going 1 1/8 miles.
In his most recent start, Mira Mission nearly pulled off an 18-1 upset in the Resorts World Casino Sword Dancer (G1) at Saratoga on Aug. 27.
“I loved his first race at a mile and a half,” Wilkes said of the Sword Dancer. “He has a great turn of foot for a mile, mile and an eighth, and I wanted to see if he had it at a mile and a half.”
Julien Leparoux has ridden Mira Mission in all seven of his races for Wilkes and will be aboard Friday afternoon.
“The good thing about Mira Mission is he listens to the rider,” Wilkes said. “He doesn’t get rank and he doesn’t pull.”
The plan for Mira Mission, with a good showing Friday, is to go to the Breeders’ Cup.
“We’d be coming back in three weeks, but we do that all the time,” Wilkes said.
Keeneland Press Release
Photo: Mira Mission (Coglianese)
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