On the Saturday
after Thanksgiving there are four stakes races at Aqueduct and they are the final four graded stakes of the year in
New York. The Demoiselle and Remsen are grade two events for the juvenile colts
and fillies respectively. Then two grade ones, the Cigar Mile for older males
and Gazelle for three-year old fillies. The total purse money for the four
stakes is $1,200,000.
If you remember Repole
Stable skipped the Breeders’ Cup this year. This was owner Mike Repole’s way of
protesting the Lasix policies and the fact that New York has not hosted the
World Championships since 2005. Instead he has been aiming for this weekend, “This is a big day
for Repole Stable, for me to have two colts in the Remsen and a filly in the
Demoiselle and Stay Thirsty in the Cigar Mile, Saturday is my Breeders’ Cup.”
The stakes are carded as races six through nine and The Demoiselle has a post time of
2:22pm ET. This grade two event is basically an N2L allowance race, since none
of the seven fillies have won a race beyond their maiden victory. Also the
entire field is made up of horses that are based in New York. Repole’s Coconut Shrimp is the only horse to have made a start outside of the
New York circuit. Unlimited Budget,
who has been installed as the 2-1 morning line favorite, is the other half of
the Repole/Todd Pletcher entry. Pletcher has won this race three times. Bill Mott, who has Emollient in the race for Juddmonte, has two victories in the
Demoiselle. Rick Dutrow won this race in 2004 and he has Miss Patricia starting from the rail.
The Remsen is part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby Championship Series and carries a 10-4-2-1 points distribution for the first four finishers. Up to now, none of the field had
earned any Derby qualifying points.
Five horses have won the Remsen and gone on to win the Kentucky Derby
the following May: 1995 Thunder Gulch, 1980 Pleasant Colony, 1963 Northern
Dancer, 1960 Carry Back, and 1938 Johnstown. Kicking off the $250,000 guaranteed Late Pick 4 in the seventh race
is the Remsen, which does have two stakes winners in its field. Repole Stables’ Overanalyze won the grade two Futurity
at Belmont on September 30. Vegas No Show, who runs for George and Lori Hall and trainer Kelly Breen, won the
Dover at Delaware on October 6.
In the Cigar Mile, which
will go as race eight, five of the seven horses have grade one victories in the
Donn Handicap, the 2010 Cigar Mile, the Haskell, the Santa Anita Sprint
Championship, the Humana Distaff, the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, and
the Travers. Trainers in the race have won nine previous runnings of the Cigar
Mile. Three ship cross-country after running in the Breeders’ Cup. Here is a
rundown of the field.
Stay Thirsty had a career high
109 BSF in his head loss in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at the end of September.
This will be his final race and a victory would be meaningful, “It
would be a huge win for him,” trainer Todd Pletcher said of the Cigar Mile.
“For a horse that’s already accomplished a lot, especially a Travers winner, to
also show the versatility to win at a mile would be a feather in his cap.”
Associate goes out for Trainer Rick Dutrow sporting a one for one record at Aqueduct.
Buffum won the Bold Ruler (G3) in his most recent comeback. The very talented but
injury prone four year-old is looking for his first grade one win for Godolphin
and Trainer Tom Albertrani.
Jersey Town won the Kelso (G2) over Shackleford earning a
BSF of 110. He followed that win with a poor showing in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt
Mile. Jersey Town won the Cigar Mile in 2010.
Hymn Book is also a grade one winner of the Donn
Handicap in February. That was
followed by several disappointing efforts in races that seemed to set up for
his closing kick. Hymn Book did
get another win in an overnight stake at Belmont that had a four-horse field
due to sloppy conditions.
Three-time winner of the Cigar Mile,
Bob Baffert, has shipped Coil to
Aqueduct after his poor performance in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Coil has never
run at Aqueduct and has never tried a one-turn mile. Prior to the BC Sprint,
Coil was victorious in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship with a 102 BSF and,
of course, he did win the 2011 Haskell.
The star of the day is Groupie Doll who was the most impressive winner at 2012 Breeders’ Cup. Her four-length victory was breathtaking while earning a 108 BSF. No filly or mare has ever won the Cigar Mile.
Would a victory put her in the conversation for Horse of the Year? No doubt
people would talk about it. More realistically, would that win give her the
Eclipse for older females over Royal Delta?
The Gazelle is run at nine furlongs and is restricted to three year-old
fillies and features My Wandy's Girl the winner of nine consecutive races. Eight of those victories happened at Camarero
Race Track in Puerto Rico, where she won at four different distances. Most
recently she was turned over to Mike Hushion and she won an overnight stake at
Aqueduct on November 15. “Mostly what you see from her you see in her form – she can run at
any distance,” Hushion said of My Wandy’s Girl, given odds of 7-2 for the Gazelle
morning line. “A friend recommended me [to owner Guillermo Berrios], and I got
a phone call. She’s been here awhile, 2½, three months. She showed a lot last
time; she ran very fast; she ate dirt. The way I read her form, a mile and an
eighth might be her best distance.”
The 9/5 morning line favorite is Dance Card. She comes in on a three-race win streak for Godolphin,
Kiarin McLaughlin, and the red hot Ramon Dominguez.
Check back on Saturday for late Pick 4 tickets for this great day of
racing at Aqueduct.