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Dakota Phone heads back to the barn after winning the Dirt Mile
A field of 12 older horses made final entry in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1), a 1 mile trip around one turn of the main track at Churchill Downs. Here Comes Ben, winner of the Forego (G1) and Kelly's Landing, was sent off as the 5-2 favorite over 7-2 second choice Tizway, off his win in the Helso Handicap (G2) at Belmont Park. 6-1 third choice Morning Line, winner of the Pennsylvania Derby (G2), completed the top three on the tote board.
Dakota Phone catches Morning Line at the wire with Gayego just behind.
22-1 Hurricane Ike, Morning Line, and 7-1 Vineyard Haven battled for the lead through the chute and down the backstretch through fractions of 22.41 and 44.94. Around the turn, Hurricane Ike and Vineyard Haven both tired as Morning Line inherited a 1 1/2 length advantage through 3/4 in 1:09.44 and 7/8 in 1:22.09. However, 38-1 Dakota Phone, last for the first 5 furlongs, swung out wide by jockey Joel Rosario and closed with a rush to nail Morning Line at the winning post, by a head in 1:35.29. It was another 1 1/4 lengths back to 9-1 Gayego third. Favorite Here Comes Ben failed to fire, finishing 11th beaten 12 1/4 lengths.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 1 Dakota Phone Rosario 77.40 27.20 14.60 10 Morning Line Castellano 7.40 5.20 6 Gayego Dettori 6.80 Winning Time: 1:35.29 $2 Exacta 1-10 816.20 $2 Trifecta 1-10-6 6,633.80 $1 Superfecta 1-10-6-13 36,883.80Results chart
Left: Dakota Phone heads to the winner's circle. Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said, "We always thought that, if we could get our horse in a race where there was a very fast pace, he would have a chance to close them down no matter what the distance. I was pretty much in favor of running in the Mile, and there was some question if he could do it on dirt. I have a lot of confidence in Rosario, and he's fast proving that he's going to be one of the better riders in the country. He's a young rider and very strong finisher, and that helped us today."
Right: Dakota Phone in the post parade. Jockey Joel Rosario said, "The way he runs, I knew I'd wind up going outside. When we did, I got a good run from him. He was running well when I got up to (Morning Line) and I thought I could go past him. I was 90-percent sure, and then he got him."
Left: Second place finisher Morning Line was quite rambunctious in the post parade. Trainer Nick Zito, asked about yet another 2nd place finish in a long line of 2nd's in stakes races this year, said, "I can't believe this. What do they say about adversity and God testing somebody? I guess I'm becoming immune to it. But it's amazing how tough this year has been. But I have to be glad the way they ran. When Morning Line was in front and Cool Coal Man (finished 4th) was running, I said, I'm going to be OK."
Right: Third place finisher Gayego in the post parade. trainer Saeed bin Suroor said, "Gayego ran good." Jockey Frankie Dettori added, "They ran very, very quick, but my horse got into a good rhythm and he finished very strong for me."
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