Tamarkuz Annexes Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile
By Laura Pugh
A hot pace and a fair track made the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (GI) ripe for the picking, should a closer have the ability to capitalize, and that is exactly what the Godolphin Stables-owned Tamarkuz did winning at odds of nearly 12-1.
At the break it was last year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint (GI) champion Runhappy who gunned it for the lead with the Bob Baffert trained Dortmund in hot pursuit. The two sped through early fractions of :22 2/5, and :45 1/5, before Runhappy began to show signs of weariness.
After six furlongs went in 1:10 , Tamarkuz was just beginning to make his move while Dortmund seized the lead with the Winchell Thoroughbreds’ entrant Gun Runner at his throatlatch. At the top of the of the stretch Gun Runner wrestled the lead from Dortmund, who eventually faded from contention.
For a moment it looked as though Gun Runner would reach the wire first, but Tamarkuz found another gear in mid-stretch and swept by to take the lead. Tamarkuz would continue to lengthen his advantage, hitting the wire over three lengths the best in a final time of 1:35 and 3/5 flat.
“We got the monkey off our back for tomorrow,” trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. “More than that it was just so important to win for Sheik Mohammad. He’s been a great supporter of mine for 23 years. You are never confident in these big races until you get to the wire, but Mike rode a great race.”
After Tamarkuz came Gun Runner in second, a neck ahead of Accelerate, who edged Dortmund for third by a half a length.