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The Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile is one race which certainly won't be going the way of the Europeans...

The Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile was one of the races added to the fixture when it was expanded to two days in 2007. However, this year is the first when the race will be exactly as it is named, as the inaugural running in 2007, won by James Jerkens' Corinthian, was run over a distance of one mile and 70 yards (in very sloppy conditions), while the two subsequent runnings at Santa Anita have been run on the Pro-Ride surface.

Nonetheless, the Americans have dominated the event and are set to do so again, with the Europeans (aside from Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor's two US-based runners) not even entering.

Crown of Thorns, runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Sprint in 2009, is one of the current market leaders on Betfair. He has finished second on both starts this year, in the Pat O'Brien Stakes at Del Mar (encouraging effort when beaten ½ length by El Brujo) and the Goodwood Stakes at Hollywood (beaten same margin by Richard's Kid), in the latter showing he's effective at nine furlongs. However, he has made it to track only eight times in four seasons and there have to be doubts about him.

Richard Mandella's favourite faces plenty of competition, not least from Charles Loprestri's Here Comes Ben, who has been much improved this year. Here Comes Ben has won all four of his starts this season, including the Grade 1 Forego Handicap at Saratoga last time. Here Comes Ben had cast his lines in calmer waters prior to Saratoga, but there was no fluke about his success and, if anything, he should be well suited by the step back up to a mile. That form looks solid, and he's probably the one to beat.

The pick of the Godolphin pair is Vineyard Haven, who won a non-graded stakes at Saratoga prior to finishing third there to Here Comes Ben in the Forego. Vineyard Haven is on a recovery mission having been sent off joint favourite there, but can't be ruled out, with his ability to front run likely to prove an asset. Gayego hasn't been quite so good this year as when fourth in the Sprint in 2009 and has a bit to find on the form of his Presque Isle Mile win last time.

One of the more interesting runners is Tizway. He was third to America's top colt Quality Road in the Metropolitan at Belmont before going back there to win a Grade 2 Handicap by five lengths. A reproduction of that improved effort will see him right in the mix

(read more at betting.betfair.com)
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