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HRN Original Blog:
A New York State of Racing

2013 Cigar Mile: So Many Questions

Groupie Doll wins her second Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.
Photo: Don August
I am really looking forward to the 2013 Cigar Mile, probably more as the Horse Racing Nation NYRA correspondent than as a handicapper. There are so many questions about the very contentious field and what will happen during the race, that it is going to be much easier to write about the outcome than to pick the winner.
 
Tougher than the Breeders’ Cup?
With the lure of purse incentives for grade one winners to run for $750,000 and Breeders’ Cup champions going after $1,000,000, the Cigar Mile has one of the strongest fields assembled in 2013.
 
The field, which unexpectedly drew 11 horses, includes six grade one winners: Goldencents (BC Dirt Mile), Groupie Doll (BC Filly and Mare Sprint), Verrazano (Wood Memorial at AQU and Haskell), Capo Bastone (King’s Bishop), Flat Out (Jockey Club Gold Cup), and Private Zone (Vosburgh).
It appears that Goldencents and Groupie Doll will be facing competition that is much more difficult than the Breeders’ Cup races that they won some four weeks ago.
 
Sprinter or Router? One Turn or Two Turns?
The NYRA Mile was first created and run in 1988 as a way to get the top sprinters and routers to compete in the same race. This silver edition of the race certainly fits the bill.
This year’s field is loaded with sprinters: Capo Bastone, Clearly Now, Forty Tales, Groupie Doll, Laugh Track, and Private Zone. Can these sprinters get the full one-turn mile distance? Or will it be one of the routers, the horses that have had significant success at the mile and beyond: Flat Out, Goldencents, Praetereo, Saratoga Snacks, and Verrazano?
 
Since the year 2000, more of the Cigar Mile winners have done the best running of their careers at a mile or longer. Only Kodiak Kowboy in 2009, Congaree in 2002 and 2003, and Left Bank in 2001 had most of their success in sprints and were able to stretch out to handle the mile.
A couple of trainers have both running styles covered with their multiple entrants. Doug O’Neill has Private Zone sprinting and Goldencents going long.  Todd Pletcher has sprinters in Capo Bastone and Forty Tales and Verrazano as a router.
Breeders’ Cup Bounce?
 
A favorite angle of some handicappers is the Breeders’ Cup bounce. Proponents of this bounce like to eliminate any horse whose last start was in the World Championships. If so, that would leave only four possible winners in Forty Tales, Clearly Now, Praetereo, and Saratoga Snacks because the other seven runners all made their last start in a Breeders’ Cup race. I don’t put much credence in this angle because in 2012 there were plenty of horses that came back and ran well.
 
In 2012 Groupie Doll won the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint and then narrowly missed winning the Cigar Mile. This year she gets an extra week of rest after her win at Santa Anita.
 
Verrazano’s Last Stand?
 
I am borrowing the title from one of Brian Zipse’s recent blogs about the Cigar Mile. Verrazano is a horse that many racing fans love to dismiss, saying that he can’t handle any adversity. That may be true, but he was at his best at Aqueduct with his most gritty victory in the Wood Memorial. He is one of the few horses that has any experience on this track. Add in his record of six wins in nine career starts and I can’t wait to see if Verrazano can get his greatest victory in his last start.
  
 
Check back on Saturday evening, after the race, for my recap when we will have the answers to all these questions. 

 

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Older Comments about 2013 Cigar Mile: So Many Questions...

LennyGeorge--The tracks in NY usually are deep, far deeper than in CA. For Breeders' Cup the track at Santa Anita had almost no depth. If Goldencents can win in NY it will be a big feather in his cap.
Hope track isn't deep......................
I think Goldencents is at his peak right now enough said...
Can wait for the Cigar
Looking forward to it Andy.I just posted on another thread.Some idiot opened an accountTMALLIOS2. How do i go about having it removed. I asked Brian for assistance,but in case he does not log on.
tmallios--I will be there, but Brian is not making the trip out east. I'll see you in the paddock?
Brian are you still coming up,if yes i would like to say hello.Maybe we will run in to each other in the paddock.Hopefully will get to say hello again Andy.Happy holiday.
My favorite race of the weekend ... I have to root for the Doll!
Cigar looks a great race for the 50¢ trifectas! Forty Tales, Flat Out w/ALL w/ ALL
longshot Our Double Play and Will Take Charge
i'm torn between what my heart feels & what my head thinks with this race & the Clark.
Just feel like going with one I like best: Clearly Now.
I'm feeling like you Storm though I'm leaning towards Forty Tales.
I'm betting against the BC winners and going for the upset - Capo Bastone.
I think Laugh Track will be nearer to the lead a 8F. He closes well at 6F, but I doubt he'll have the same late punch at a mile and against these. In the Vigil Stakes, he ran the last furlong in an ordinary 13 seconds. He wasn't so much closing as Essence Hitman was stopping.
Laugh Track always comes late with one big run. He caught Essence Hitman going 7f and he galloped out strong after that race. That set him up nicely for the Breeders cup sprint but he ran out of real estate. 7-8f is right up his alley and he will be there late. I just don't know how I missed he was entered in this race. Best of luck to him and Mike Smith.
Give him trouble, but not enough to beat him is my feeling Icy. Looks like I'll get a price too.
Flat Out didn't bounce, he just happened to be in with the best dirt horses in the world in the BCC. That isn't the case here. After he runs the speed down who's left to run him down. Flat Out 1:34.2... In the race prior to the BCC the JCGC he stumbled badly. This horse always runs his race no matter the position of finish, and in here he's in shallow not deep. No Cross Traffic, Graydar, Sahara Sky, etc. The Doll could give him trouble if she runs her race.
The BC bounce should not include horses who didn't perform (ie Flat Out, Verrazano, Private Zone)
Andy i am not dissmissing her from winning.I just feel she will be overbet.Last year she went off Even money in this race. With her popularity ,i can''t see her higher than 2-1. With me it is not dismissing,i see no value in her.

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Matt Shifman has been on the Horse Racing Nation staff since 2011. Matt covers Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga in his two HRN blogs Racing at the Jersey Shore and New York State of Racing.

 

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