It took two horses dropping out to get Order of Australia into the Breeders’ Cup Mile last fall. Then, once he was in the then-3-year-old son of Australia went off at a dismissive 73/1.
A tick over 93 seconds later, bettors holding Order of Australia win tickets weren’t dismissive. Not after he scored one of the biggest upsets in Breeders’ Cup history. His neck victory not only headed a 1-2-3 Aidan O’Brien sweep of the one-mile turf test, but rewarded savvy/lucky bettors to the order of $148.40 for a $2 win.
Now, Order of Australia returns to the scene of his greatest victory. He headlines a 13-horse field in the Saturday’s Grade 1 Keeneland Turf Mile. The Turf Mile is one of three Grade 1s on Keeneland’s 11-race Saturday card. The Breeders’ Futurity for 2-year-old colts and the First Lady for fillies and mares are the others.
The Keeneland Turf Mile gives its winner a berth in the same Breeders’ Cup Mile Order of Australia captured in stunning fashion. And in a perfect, Hollywood-esque world, Order of Australia’s neck victory over fellow Irish-bred Circus Maximus would have propelled the colt to havoc-wreaking wins across the globe.
Order of Australia finished down under his next races
Spoiler alert. It didn’t. O’Brien sent his improbable star to Hong Kong in December, whereupon he finished sixth to the unbeatable Golden Sixty in the Hong Kong Mile. Six months later, O’Brien sent him to Royal Ascot, where he finished a miserable eighth in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes.
Just when you thought Order of Australia was a fluke, his form reappeared. He won the Group 2 Romanised Minstrel Stakes at the Curragh in Ireland in July. O’Brien wheeled him back 10 days later in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes at Goodwood, where Order of Australia finished fifth.
But he hasn’t missed the board since, finishing third in a Group 3 race at Deauville in August and second behind favorite Baaeed at Longchamp in September. Still, this is a horse that, despite more than $1.5 million in career earnings, hit the board exactly half the time in his 14 career races (4-1-2).
Don’t ignore the rest of the Turf Mile field
And it’s a horse that has a wide-open field of contenders awaiting him in the Keeneland Turf Mile. There’s Ivar, who won this race last year when it was the Shadwell Turf Mile. After that, he finished fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile to Order of Australia and his stablemates. Ivar comes in off a sixth in the Turf Classic on the Kentucky Derby undercard May 1.
There’s the top four horses from the Grade 3 Mint Million at Kentucky Downs: Pixelate, Somelikeithotbrown, Monarchs Glen and Argentello. There’s In Love, who won the TVG Stakes at Kentucky Downs.
There’s Tell Your Daddy, who captured the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch at Saratoga in his last outing. And there’s sprinting star Diamond Oops, the fast, but inconsistent, colt who took the Ogden Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland last year.
Even with that accomplished and talented field, Order of Australia’s 73/1 days are long gone. Now, the question is: did his form from that race go with those lofty odds?