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Trainers Have Both Walked Longest Mile

Gosden won the inaugural race in 1984 with Royal Heroine, but Frankel has not made it to the winner's circle in eight attempts.

October 25, 2003|Bob Mieszerski | Times Staff Writer

John Gosden and Bobby Frankel are the only trainers with starters in the Breeders' Cup Mile who were also involved in the first running of the race on Nov. 10, 1984, at Hollywood Park.

Gosden enjoyed the outcome. He trained the brilliant filly Royal Heroine, who set a course and American record for a mile on the turf, beating 69-1 shot Star Choice by 1 1/2 lengths in 1:32 3/5.

Meanwhile, Frankel's representative, Night Mover, never posed a threat. Under Laffit Pincay Jr., he finished eighth of 10 at 6-1.

The country's dominant trainer, Frankel has failed in seven other Miles through the years, managing runner-up finishes with Al Mamoon in 1985 and Val des Bois in 1991.

Unable to get close with Beat Hollow (sixth) and Aldebaran (11th) last year, Frankel is back for another try with a 3-year-old who hasn't run on the grass in nearly 10 months.

Owned by Ed Gann, who will also be well-represented in the Sprint and Classic, Peace Rules has distinguished himself on the dirt this year.

The son of Jules has won three times, including Grade I victories in the Blue Grass at Keeneland and the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park. He also was third in the Kentucky Derby and second in the Travers.

If he may seem, to some, misplaced in the Mile, he is not. Peace Rules earned the first three wins of his life on the turf. He broke his maiden by four lengths on the Belmont Park lawn when trained by Gary Contessa, then won the Generous at Hollywood Park and the Hill Rise locally for Frankel.

In his lone defeat on turf, Peace Rules was second, beaten by a head by Man Among Men in the Pinjara a year ago.

Whether the Florida-bred chestnut is up to handling older competition remains to be seen, but if he is beat, it won't be because of any aversion to turf.

"I think a mile's a good distance for him," Frankel said. "His [speed-figure] numbers on turf were really strong when he was a 2-year-old. He looks good. He's doing well."

In his last major work for the Mile on Monday at Hollywood Park, Peace Rules had an adventure. After going a half in 47 1/5, the 3-year-old dumped exercise rider Marco Ramirez when the left stirrup broke.

Peace Rules left the track and wandered the barn area for a short time -- without incident -- before he was caught.

Gosden, who has been training in his native England for 15 years after a successful nine-year stay in the United States, has one of the horses to beat in the Mile.

Oasis Dream enters with four wins in eight starts; three of his victories have come in Group 1 races.

Owned and bred by Juddmonte, the son of Green Desert has never raced beyond seven furlongs, but, along with the talented filly Six Perfections, gives Europe a chance to win another Breeders' Cup race in California.

"He's been sprinting all year because the races came up right for him," Gosden said. "He broke the course record for six furlongs at Newmarket as a 2-year-old, so he obviously has a lot of speed, but he also has a lot of stamina on his dam's side," referring to Hope, who is a daughter of Dancing Brave.

There is a misconception that European-based horses are at a disadvantage because of the hot weather when they come here, but the continent has done just fine in Arcadia and Inglewood.

Last Tycoon, a 35-1 shot, won the 1986 Mile at Santa Anita, Miesque earned the first of her two Mile wins in 1987 at Hollywood Park and Spinning World equaled the course record when winning six years ago at Hollywood Park.

Among those trying to beat the Europeans is Julio Canani. The trainer will be trying to win the race for the third time since 1999 with Special Ring, a 6-year-old who has developed into a far better racehorse since being gelded nearly two years ago.

If Special Ring is going to win, he will do it in far different fashion than Silic and Val Royal, Canani's two other Mile heroes. The son of Nureyev will be on the lead, while those two rallied from far back to win at, respectively, Gulfstream in 1999 and Belmont Park in 2001.

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