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Jersey Town Stuns Cigar Mile Rivals

Jersey Town, the longest shot in the field at 34-1, dueled with Haynesfield through the final 200 yards before prevailing by a head to win a rousing edition of the Grade 1, $250,000 Hill ‘n’ Dale Cigar Mile on Saturday afternoon at Aqueduct Racetrack.

 

Trained by Barclay Tagg for owner Charles Fipke, who teamed to win the 2008 edition of the race with Tale of Ekati, Jersey Town ran third through the early going as pacesetter Vineyard Haven was prompted through fractions of 22.69 and 45.27 by Haynesfield. Moving up to challenge for the lead on the turn, Jersey Town bore down on Haynesfield in upper stretch and the two battled back-and-forth to the wire, with Jersey Town sticking his head in front at the last second for the victory.

 

His time for the mile was 1:34.43.

 

“Today, he wanted to win,” said jockey Cornelio Velasquez, aboard the 4-year-old son of Speightstown. “The other horse, he ran a big one too. My horse is a very good horse.”

 

Girolamo closed from mid-pack to finish third, 1 ¾ lengths clear of favored Bribon, who in turn was followed by Friend Or Foe, Soaring Empire, Vineyard Haven, Musket Man, and Half Metal Jacket.

 

“I thought he ran well and tried hard; he just came up a little flat the last sixteenth of a mile,” said Todd Pletcher, trainer of the beaten favorite.

 

The Hill ‘n’ Dale Cigar Mile, the final Grade 1 race of the year in New York, was the first stakes victory of any kind of Jersey Town, who was bred in Kentucky by his owner. Unraced at two, Jersey Town won four of his first five starts in 2009, then finished second in his first graded stakes effort, the Grade 3 British Columbia Derby at Hastings Racecourse, in his final start of the year. Off for 10 months with a leg injury, Jersey Town came back at Emerald Downs over the summer, and then was returned to Tagg at Belmont Park with the original intention of running in the Breeders’ Cup.

 

“Mr. Fipke had him out West, and wanted to go to the Breeders’ Cup,” said Tagg, who this fall saddled Jersey Town to a third-place finish in the Grade 2 Kelso and a second-place finish behind Bribon in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler. “I talked him out of that, and said the Cigar Mile would be a lot easier, and it’s still a Grade 1. Then the race came up so tough, and I thought we made a mistake.”

 

Overlooked in a field that included four Grade 1 winners in Girolamo, Vineyard Haven, Bribon and Haynesfield, Jersey Town returned $71.50 for a $2 win bet to his backers in the crowd of 6,723. With the winner’s purse of $150,000, he now has earned $394,001, and compiled a record of 5-5-1 from 15 starts.

 

“I have no idea what’s next,” said Tagg. “Hopefully, we’ll keep him around for a little bit.”

 

 

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he has to go to emerald downs to win nossa beach

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