The Day at the Races: Pletcher picks Dirt Mile over Classic for Liam's Map

The Day at the Races

Wednesday's figures: On-track attendance, 9,685; on-track betting, $631,836.50; total betting including simulcast, $4,531,515.17.

This day last year: On-track attendance, 9,851; on-track betting, $719,004; total betting including simulcast, $5,059,561.

Coming up: There are no stakes races on Thursday's card but some past stakes performers are among the entrants. Circle Unbroken, winner of the 2012 Grade III Bashford Stakes, is entered in the day's second race.

Final furlong

■ Liam's Map, winner of the Grade I Woodward Stakes at Saratoga, will point for the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile at Keeneland on Oct. 30 rather than the $5 million Classic, trainer Todd Pletcher confirmed Wednesday.

Owned by Teresa Viola Racing Stables, Liam's Map made his front-end speed last during the 11⁄8-mile Woodward on Sept. 5, drawing off to win by 43/4 lengths and prompting serious consideration of starting him in the 11/4-mile Classic on Oct. 31. With the Classic already expected to feature Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and champion mare Beholder and distance limitations still a question for Liam's Map, Pletcher said the Dirt Mile figured to give the son of Unbridled's Song his best chance at a Breeders' Cup triumph.

"After talking it over with the Violas, we felt it was the right race for him," Pletcher said Wednesday. "He's proven he's a brilliant miler. The two-turn aspect of it here (at Keeneland) I think that suits him very well. Just want to take our best shot at winning a Breeders' Cup."

Liam's Map has five wins from seven career starts with earnings of $808,940. After winning four of his first five starts, the gray colt made his debut against graded stakes competition in the Grade I Whitney on Aug. 8, leading every point of call before beaten in the last jump by Honor Code.

■ Sentiero Italia, who is coming off Grade II victories as the favorite at Saratoga and Belmont, headlines a field of nine 3-year-old fillies entered for Saturday's Grade I, $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup. Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Sentiero Italia finished fourth in her stakes debut in the Belmont Oaks Invitational behind the undefeated Lady Eli. Following that effort, she posted victories in the Lake Placid at Saratoga and the Sands Point at Belmont.


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