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Alpha Targets Cigar Mile

Alpha Woodward 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

Among those pointing to the Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap is dual Grade 1 winner Alpha, coming off an eighth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile following a slow start.


"He's here at Belmont and we will train him that way," said Kiaran McLaughlin of the Godolphin Racing color-bearer. "We had been looking at it even before the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile; it was a month in between [the two races]. That race didn't seem to take much out of him. He stepped back right at the start and lost all chance at the start, especially with the track being a little speed-favoring. He was last throughout and passed a few."


Winner of the 2013 Woodward and 2012 Travers in a dead heat with Golden Ticket, Alpha is 2-1-0 from three starts at the Big A, including victories in the Count Fleet and the Grade 3 Withers and a second in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial behind Gemologist.


As a Grade 1 winner, Alpha would be competing for a $750,000 gross purse in the Cigar Mile as one of the purse incentives announced by NYRA in September.


McLaughlin added that Grade 2 Nashua winner Cairo Prince came out of the race in good order and would be nominated to the Grade 2 Remsen on the Cigar Mile undercard.


"We don't know what we're going to do," he said. "The Nashua was impressive for his second start, coming off a 5 ½-furlong maiden race. He had a great post, he tracked beautifully and he swept to the lead impressively."




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Older Comments about Alpha Targets Cigar Mile...

I picked Alpha to win the Travers 4 months prior to that race. Picked him for the Cigar Mile early, too. Now there's all of that pace. etc. to be considered, but I'll think about that later. This is one of my boys.

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