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2011 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile Contenders


The 2011 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile boasts several interesting contenders, not the least of which is Preakness Stakes winner Shackleford – an out and out front-running dirt specialist. However, it appears as though it's the late-blooming Jackson Bend who is earning the plaudits as we get closer to the $1,000,000 Grade 1 contest at Churchill Downs.


Jackson Bend looked the business in the Grade 1 Forego Stakes which came just after his breakthrough race where his tactical speed was deployed correctly to post a strong final three panels and win going away.

Jackson Bend was beaten three lengths by Uncle Mo in the build-up to this one, the Grade 1 Kelso, and with Uncle Mo looking a near-certainty for the Breeders' Cup Classic it appears as though Jackson Bend may outmatch many who line up in the gate for this one. Jackson Bend is very much a trip horse and, for the majority of his racing career, he didn't really get good trips. He was a bit clunky and awkward but always tried – he just could never make the breakthrough until recently.

He is a justifiable favourite.

Wilburn scored by nearly five lengths over Shackleford when sent out of the gate as the 13/5 second choice in the Indiana Derby. He came off the Monmouth Circuit to win the ungraded Smarty Jones Stakes at Parx prior to his score at Hoosier. It's interesting to note that he broke his maiden at Churchill only to be beaten in a Grade 3 contest at 1m0.5f by some undistinguished contenders.

Steve Asmussen will have Wilburn raring to go for Stonestreet Stable and he trades at a 4/1 ante post listing.

The Factor maintains a co-entry for this one but may still opt for the Breeders' Cup Sprint – a fact made more likely by his disappointing fourth place to Amazombie when sent off at a slim 2/5 in the Grade 1 Ancient Title. He looked pure class when making easy work of Camp Victory to score in the Grade 1 Pat O'Brien at Del Mar on the Pacific Classic under card. Worth noting that he's beaten a few who are entered for this one but Bob Baffert will likely opt for the sprint. He trades at 11/2 regardless. 

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