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Breeders' Cup 2017

HRN Original Blog:
A New York State of Racing

Groupie Doll Tops Big Weekend at Aqueduct

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.


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Older Comments about Groupie Doll Tops Big Weekend at Aqueduct ...

On top of the four graded stakes there is a $109,000 Pick 6 carryover!
Toughest test of the year for Groupie Doll ... I hope she can do it! Looking at a long shot in the Remsen in Indy's Illusion.

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Matt Shifman has been on the Horse Racing Nation staff since 2011 and currently serves as Assistant Editor. 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.


Matt’s articles and tweets frequently appear in the America’s Best Racing weekly Notebook. In 2012 he became a voter in the NTRA weekly polls for the Top Thoroughbred and Top Three-Year-Old.


The best way to get to know Matt is to check out some of his favorite articles from the past couple years.

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• What is the Best Kentucky Derby Running Style?



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