BC Dirt Mile
Complexity Art Collector War of Will Mr Freeze Rushie Knicks Go 10-1-4/9-7-5/12-8/6–3-11

(Art Collector / Coady Photography)

There is no one in the Thoroughbred industry and sport better than trainer Tommy Drury. There may be some that are just as good, some may argue. Maybe. Perhaps. But in my book? No one is better than Tommy Drury.

The man is honest as the day is long.

The man is one of the hardest workers you will ever see…just like the boots that he wears.

The man is kind, generous, and giving. His gives his time freely to help the sport and others, in equal scoops of sweet feed.

And, the man is not one prone to excuses. You won’t get one of these:

— “My horse didn’t handle the track.”

— “The race just didn’t set up right for my horse.”

— “We got shuffled back at the start, and we didn’t ever get a chance to run our race.”

After his horse — Art Collector — lost to the filly Swiss Skydiver and Kentucky Derby winner Authentic in the G1 Preakness Stakes? Tommy Drury simply shrugged and said his horse got beat. Not too complicated. But a very honest assessment.

If he wins, he grins modestly.

If he loses, he bears it. Up front. Honestly. Moves on.

In a world where truth and conviction are in short supply, truthfully?

Tommy Drury is a swoosh of fresh air.

And, the fun thing is this: Tommy Drury is as good a horse trainer as he is a person.

If you are going to root for one horse in this Breeders’ Cup, you should consider rooting for Tommy Drury and his 3YO colt Art Collector, whom he trains for good friend and client Bruce Lunsford.

And, there is a good reason to support your “rooting” with supporting with your wallet, too. Art Collector may have been one of the hottest colts in the country before he injured a hoof in his last work before the rescheduled Kentucky Derby in September. The colt had won five races in a row — including two Stakes events and the G2 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes, which was contested over this same dirt track.

Simply put, Art Collector never got into the race at the Preakness Stakes. Never looked the same. Never ran the same.

But he has returned home and is working better than maybe ever before. Now, the returns to Keeneland — the home of his biggest win.

May be time for a “class” reunion. I know one thing. I will be rooting.

Here’s our look-in:

  1. Complexity (Maclean’s Music — Goldfield, by Yes It’s True): This 4YO colt is undefeated when racing at a mile distance. He’s a perfect 3-for-3. And, if those credentials are not enough to convince you that he is the horse to beat, just consider that the horse hails from the barn of Chad Brown. That’s the same guy who has won with .24% of his 632 starters this year. And, if that’s not enough? Just consider that Complexity is coming into the Breeders’ Cup off a near-miss 2nd to Win Win Win in the sloppy, G1 Forego Stakes and off a convincing win over Code of Honor in the G2 Kelso Handicap. He’s good at the distance. He’s trained by one of the best in the business. And, he’s really good right now, too. Adds up to formidable foe. The compromise is that he will break from the far outside in a race where the distance to the first turn is short and quick. Must break well. Must clear. Must get over closer to the rail. Lots of “musts.”
  2. Art Collector (Bernardini — Distorted Legacy, by Distorted Humor): As we wrote above, the Preakness Stakes was not a good race. Didn’t look the same. Didn’t act the same. Didn’t run the same. But this colt returns home to the place where he captured his biggest victory ever. So far. He has returned home and returned to training like the horse who won 5 in a row before the Preakness. He has returned home to find a much more comfortable post position that some of his critical rivals. On the downside, Art Collector will be moving up to face older horses for the first time on Saturday. Is he ready? He better be.
  3. War of Will (War Front — Visions of Clarity, by Sadler’s Wells): Over the last three races, trainer Mark Casse has geared one of his prized pupils up a major Stakes event over the grass. Makes sense. The pedigree certainly tilts that way. And, lo and behold, the colt won the G1 Maker’s Mark Mile right here at Keeneland, too. But instead of running in the Mile over the turf? Casse has opted to try the dirt. Again. This time, War of Will will go in the BC Dirt Mile. This is a distance that the colt has never run in a race before. Interesting. To be sure. But I think this may be one of the best Longshot Plays of the Day. The colt is talented. The colt has some speed. And, the colt certainly can tune it up on “Game Day,” too. I’m bullish on this one. Very bullish.
  4. Mr Freeze (To Honor and Serve — Heavenly Cat, by Tabasco Cat): At one time, and not so long ago, many would and could argue that this guy was and could be the best “Miler” in the world. He had won a G2 Stakes at Gulfstream Park at the distance. He had won a G3 Stakes at Churchill Downs at the distance. But, more importantly, many could also argue that this guy is the best “Miler” at Keeneland, in recent years. In total, he has raced over this track 3 times. Going into Saturday, he has 2 wins and a second and is coming off a rebound win here in the G2 Fayette Stakes — which was contested at 11/8 miles. Won’t be a surprise to see this one command the lead. And, he might have to — considering that he must break from the #9 hole just beside the expected PT favorite. The question will be if Mr Freeze fondness for this strip can help him hold off the others.
  5. Rushie (Liam’s Map — Conquest Angel, by Colonel John): This 3YO colt must move up to face the older ones for the first time, but there may not be a better time for him to give this jump a shot. He is coming off a huge win in the G2 Pat Day Mile — despite the fact that he not raced in nearly two months. In three career starts at this 1-mile distance? Has 2 wins and a second. Maybe has found his sweet spot.

How Do We Play It?

I am all in on Art Collector. He is coming home to the site of his biggest career win. He is coming home off one of his best and most impressive series of works. And, he is coming into this race with the same look and style that propelled him to 5 straight wins before the Preakness Stakes. He’s my pick, especially considering that Complexity drew the #10 hole on the draw. I bet Art Collector across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key Art Collector and War of Will over/under the “all button.”