The Excitement of the Maker’s Mark Mile Stakes at Keeneland
It’s easy to mistake the Grade 1 Maker’s Mark Mile Stakes at Keeneland with the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile at Santa Anita Park. Although they are 2,000 miles apart and in different time zones, these races share more than just being Grade 1 races for older horses over a turf mile. The similarities extend to the field of talented competitors.
The Key Contenders from the Shoemaker Mile
Raging Bull, the impressive winner of the Shoemaker Mile, will be among the contenders in the Maker’s Mark Mile Stakes at Keeneland. He had a perfect trip in the previous race, and now three of his rivals from that contest will try to turn the tables and challenge him again. Next Shares, Without Parole, and War of Will finished second, third, and sixth in the Shoemaker Mile and will be seeking redemption at Keeneland. They will face additional competition from stakes winners Hembree, English Bee, and Emmaus, as well as High Crime, Parlor, and Everfast.
The Contenders and Their Morning Line Odds
- Hembree (12/1) – Jockey: Javier Castellano
- High Crime (30/1) – Jockey: Luis Saez
- Parlor (10/1) – Jockey: Florent Geroux
- Raging Bull (9/5) – Jockey: Joel Rosario
- English Bee (10/1) – Jockey: James Graham
- Everfast (15/1) – Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.
- Emmaus (20/1) – Jockey: Brian Hernandez Jr.
- Without Parole (5/2) – Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.
- Next Shares (8/1) – Jockey: John Velazquez
- War of Will (6/1) – Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione
The Prestige of the Maker’s Mark Mile Stakes
The Maker’s Mark Mile Stakes is one of the four prestigious Grade 1 stakes events featured on Keeneland’s stakes-packed weekend card. Alongside the Maker’s Mark Mile Stakes, there are the Jenny Wiley for older fillies and mares routers, the Madison for older filly and mare sprinters, and the Ashland Oaks, a renowned Kentucky Oaks prep race. Despite these notable races, the Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes steals the spotlight as a Kentucky Derby prep that attracts significant betting action.
Chad Brown’s Pursuit of Victory
The Maker’s Mark Mile Stakes boasts an abundance of turf talent, which invariably involves the esteemed trainer Chad Brown. Renowned for his expertise with turf horses, Brown is a four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer. Surprisingly, victory in the Maker’s Mark Mile Stakes has eluded him thus far. However, this year he enters the race with two strong contenders, Raging Bull and Without Parole, both vying to secure Brown’s first triumph in this event.
Dominance of Raging Bull
Raging Bull, the favorite with odds of 9/5, showcased his exceptional form in his previous outing on the Santa Anita turf. He secured a commanding victory over his rivals, earning a career-best 105 Beyer Speed Figure. Impressively, this was Raging Bull’s third triple-digit Beyer Speed Figure in just four starts, highlighting his remarkable talent. With an effortless trip that made his victory seem almost too easy, Raging Bull notched his fourth graded stakes win in 13 starts.
The Unfortunate Streak of Without Parole
Without Parole, sired by the legendary English stallion Frankel, hasn’t had Lady Luck on his side recently. Despite the virtuosity of jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., Without Parole has been hit by a streak of misfortune. He remains winless in his last eight races, stretching back to the 2018 St. James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. Throughout this winless period, he has competed at seven different tracks in four countries â€” the US, England, France, and Dubai. Although he did finish a commendable third in the Breeders’ Cup Mile last fall at Santa Anita, he is eager to break his streak of misfortune in the Maker’s Mark Mile Stakes.
Trainer Chad Brown is confident in Without Parole’s abilities, saying, “Heâ€™s better than his record shows.” And indeed, this talented competitor has the potential to showcase his true capabilities in the upcoming race.
War of Will’s Return to Turf
Mark Casse, the trainer of 2019 Preakness Stakes winner War of Will, is keeping the faith in his versatile colt. Following a rather erratic performance in the Shoemaker Mile, where War of Will veered into the path of Next Shares at the start, Casse has chosen to return to turf for this contest. Despite a crowding incident that resulted in a position penalty from the stewards, War of Will has a second and a third-place finish from his previous turf starts. In search of his elusive form, Casse has made adjustments, removing the blinkers and reinstating jockey Tyler Gaffalione in the saddle, replacing Flavien Prat.
The Reliability of Next Shares
Next Shares, a 7-year-old trained by Richard Baltus, possesses the desirable late kick that characterizes exceptional turf horses. He boasts a Grade 1 win at Keeneland in the Shadwell Turf Mile back in 2018, along with three graded stakes victories and earnings surpassing $1.7 million throughout his extensive 33-race career. While Next Shares often performs impressively against B-level runners, he tends to struggle when faced with top-tier competition. However, in this field, his consistency should position him well on the leaderboard, although winning may prove elusive.
Our Prediction for the Maker’s Mark Mile Stakes
After thorough consideration, our prediction for the Maker’s Mark Mile Stakes is a victory for Raging Bull. With his exceptional speed and impressive form in 2020, Raging Bull undoubtedly stands as the fastest horse in the field. Furthermore, with Chad Brown at the helm, skillfully pulling the strings, Raging Bull’s chances of success appear even more promising. While value may be lacking in terms of odds, it would be unwise to overlook this standout favorite and attempt to beat him with riskier options. Raging Bull seems poised to dominate the competition and secure the coveted victory.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are the similarities between the Maker’s Mark Mile Stakes and the Shoemaker Mile?
Both the Maker’s Mark Mile Stakes and the Shoemaker Mile are Grade 1 races for older horses held over a turf mile. Despite being geographically distant, these races attract top-caliber competitors vying for prestigious victories.
2. Which jockeys will be riding the top contenders in the Maker’s Mark Mile Stakes?
Joel Rosario will be aboard Raging Bull, Irad Ortiz Jr. will pilot Without Parole, and Tyler Gaffalione will guide War of Will in the upcoming race.
3. Has Chad Brown previously won the Maker’s Mark Mile Stakes?
No, Chad Brown, a highly acclaimed trainer, has yet to win the Maker’s Mark Mile Stakes. However, with Raging Bull and Without Parole as formidable contenders in this edition, he has a strong chance of securing his first victory in the race.
4. What is the betting value in the Maker’s Mark Mile Stakes?
While Raging Bull stands out as the favorite, offering limited betting value, attempting to beat him with riskier options may prove futile. It is advisable to recognize the favorite’s superiority and consider other wagering strategies rather than seeking higher odds.
5. What is the significance of the Maker’s Mark Mile Stakes in the context of Keeneland’s stakes-packed weekend card?
The Maker’s Mark Mile Stakes is one of four renowned Grade 1 stakes events held during Keeneland’s stakes-packed weekend card. Despite the presence of other prestigious races, such as the Blue Grass Stakes, the Maker’s Mark Mile Stakes attracts significant attention due to its strong field of turf talent and the pursuit of victory by top trainers and jockeys.