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Turf Mile Field of 12 Loaded With Six Grade 1 Winners

Field includes Arlington Million (G1T) 1-2 finishers Santin and Smooth Like Strait.

Santin wins the Arlington Million at Churchill Downs

Santin wins the Arlington Million at Churchill Downs

Coady Photography

A salty group of graded stakes winners has been entered in the $1 million Coolmore Turf Mile (G1T) Oct. 8 at Keeneland, led by the 1-2 finishers in the Churchill Downs edition of the Arlington Million (G1T)—Santin and Smooth Like Strait.

The Turf Mile is a Breeders' Cup Challenge Race for the FanDuel Breeders' Cup Mile Presented by PDJF (G1T), which will be run Nov. 5 at Keeneland. Wise Dan in 2012 and Steinlen in 1989 are two Turf Mile winners that went on to victory in the Breeders' Cup Mile.

Godolphin's homebred Santin and Cannon Thoroughbreds' Smooth Like Strait are among six grade/group 1 winners entered in the Turf Mile.

Santin, a 4-year-old son of Distorted Humor, has two grade 1 wins so far this year. Two races prior to the Arlington Million, he captured the Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic Stakes (G1T) at Churchill May 7. Immediately before the Arlington Million, he ran sixth in the Resorts World Casino Manhattan Stakes (G1) where he had to have a shoe repaired in the saddling paddock and also faced his first test at 1 1/4 miles. The distance of the Manhattan may have been an issue but other things conspired against the colt, like a wide trip and jockey Tyler Gaffalione having the whip knocked out of his hands in the stretch.

Trainer Brendan Walsh said the Turf Mile looks like an ideal set-up, with Santin having already won at Keeneland and twice at a mile.

"(The Turf Mile) seems the obvious next step for him, really, especially with the Breeders' Cup being at Keeneland this year," he said. "It makes sense to try this spot and see how it works out. If it does, then we look at going on to the Breeders' Cup and if it doesn't then it doesn't."

Walsh added that with two grade 1 wins to his credit this year, his colt will be more than competitive against a tough field.

"Santin has done nothing wrong all year, and he has all the qualities a good miler requires," he said. "It is a deep field, and you could make a case for a half dozen of them and still not pick the right one. But Santin fits really well in there and if he gets a good trip on Saturday, he'll be right there at the end."

Gaffalione, who has been aboard Santin all year, has the mount and will exit from post 7.

Smooth Like Strait wins 2021 Shoemaker Mile Stakes at Santa Anita Park
Photo: Benoit Photo
Smooth Like Strait wins the 2021 Shoemaker Mile Stakes at Santa Anita Park

Smooth Like Strait made his first and only start at Keeneland in April when he was a tight third in the Maker's Mark Mile Stakes (G1T), just a neck behind Masen, who was a nose behind Shirl's Speight at the wire. The 5-year-old son of Midnight Lute , trained by Michael McCarthy, has won or placed in his last 13 starts—all in graded stakes—but he hasn't been to the winner's circle since May 31, 2021, in the Shoemaker Mile Stakes (G1T) at Santa Anita Park. He's suffered a series of oh-so-close finishes, with his losing margins a head or a neck in six of his last 10 placed performances.

John Velazquez has the mount on Smooth Like Strait, who he rode in the Arlington Million, and will break from post 2.

Other grade 1 winners who could offer plenty of competition include Casa Creed, who is coming into the race off consecutive wins in the Jaipur Stakes (G1T) and Fourstardave Handicap (G1T); Classic Causeway, who won the Caesars Belmont Derby Invitational (G1T) in July; Order of Australia, who delivered a stunner in the 2020 Breeders' Cup Mile at Keeneland at 73-1; and, Ivar, who won the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1T) at Keeneland in 2020 and comes into this year's Turf Mile off a second in the Ricoh Woodbine Mile (G1T).

Casa Creed with Luis Saez wins the Jaipur Stakes (G1T) at Belmont Park in Elmont, NY on June 11, 2022.
Photo: Chad B. Harmon
Casa Creed surges home to win the Jaipur Stakes at Belmont Park

Order of Australia has not won a grade/group 1 since his victory in the Breeders' Cup Mile and there was talk of retirement toward the end of 2021. The 5-year-old son of Australia returned this year in the Queen Anne Stakes (G1) during Royal Ascot, where he finished third. He won the Romanised Minstrel Stakes (G2) at the Curragh in his next start and comes into the Turf Mile off a second Sept. 4 in Prix du Moulin de Longchamp (G1). He will be ridden by Christophe Soumillon and break from post 3.

The Turf Mile field includes four also-eligibles.

Entries: Coolmore Turf Mile S. (G1T)

Keeneland, Saturday, October 8, 2022, Race 10

  • Grade IT
  • 1m
  • Turf
  • $1,000,000
  • 3 yo's & up
  • 5:45 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Classic Causeway (KY)Julien R. Leparoux123Kenneth G. McPeek20/1
22Smooth Like Strait (KY)John R. Velazquez126Michael W. McCarthy9/2
33Order of Australia (IRE)Christophe Soumillon126Aidan P. O'Brien8/1
44Gray's Fable (KY)Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.126Brian A. Lynch30/1
55Masen (GB)Flavien Prat126Chad C. Brown12/1
66Ivar (BRZ)Joseph Talamo126Paulo H. Lobo6/1
77Santin (KY)Tyler Gaffalione126Brendan P. Walsh7/2
88Annapolis (KY)Irad Ortiz, Jr.123Todd A. Pletcher10/1
99Casa Creed (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateLuis Saez126William I. Mott5/1
1010Somelikeithotbrown (NY)Jose L. Ortiz126Michael J. Maker12/1
1111Emaraaty (GB)Florent Geroux126Chad C. Brown12/1
1212Set Piece (GB)Joel Rosario126Brad H. Cox15/1
1313Atone (KY)Ricardo Santana, Jr.126Michael J. Maker20/1
1414Dark Shift (GB)Vincent Cheminaud126Conor Murphy20/1
1515Natural Power (IRE)Adam Beschizza126Jeff A. Hiles30/1
1616Greyes Creek (KY)Gerardo Corrales126Paulo H. Lobo50/1