Mitole capped a 6-for-7 season and a terrific 10-for-14 lifetime career with a 1 1/4-length score in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita on Nov. 2, beating his younger and favored rival Shancelot. That put the 4-year-old son of Eskendereya back into the discussion for Horse of the Year, and for that honor he finished a distant second behind grass champion Bricks and Mortar.
In addition to the Breeders’ Cup, Mitole also notched victories in the Count Fleet Sprint H. (G3) at Oaklawn, the Churchill Downs (G1), and Forego (G1) at Saratoga, all at 6 or 7 furlongs. His only loss sprinting was to the occasionally brilliant Imperial Hint, who ran away from the pack in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt H. (G1) at Saratoga by four lengths, while Mitole struggled over an inside path generally considered unfavorable to those racing over it on that July 27 afternoon. Imperial Hint, however, lost three of his other four starts during the season and was a vet scratch from the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
Mitole’s most significant victory of the season was his only one beyond 7 furlongs, the famed Metropolitan H. (G1) at Belmont Park at a mile. Considered by many the highlight of the Belmont Stakes Day card, Mitole stretched his speed and won by three parts of a length from the ultra-consistent Grade 1 star McKinzie, with two-time Dubai World Cup (G1) hero Thunder Snow another neck behind in third.
The Met Mile score elevated Mitole’s stature to more than that of a mere sprinter, and made him a serious contender for champion older dirt male as well. That award went to Vino Rosso, the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner, in a tight 129-108 vote.
Mitole finished 2019 with a record of 7-6-0-1, $2,756,200, and overall earned more than $3.1 million. Owned by William and Corinne Heiligbrodt and trained by Steve Asmussen, Mitole was bred in Kentucky by Edward Cox Jr. He sold twice at auction, for $20,000 as a Keeneland September yearling and then for $245,000 at the OBS April 2-year-old sale.
Produced by Indian Miss, an Indian Charlie half-sister to Grade 2 winner Live Lively, Mitole now stands at Spendthrift Farm.
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