The Cigar Mile Rankings

November 24, 2013 04:07pm
Stay Thirsty Cigar Mile 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire - Sue Kawczynski


With one of the more interesting looking Cigar Mile fields just a few days away, I decided to have a little fun with the prestigious, late-season race at Aqueduct. In 24 editions, there have been 23 winners (Congaree won it twice), of the Grade 1 race. Today, I took on the unenviable task of ranking all the winners, 1 through 23. To absolutely no one's surprise, the incomparable Cigar sits in the #1 spot. Remember this race was originally called the NYRA Mile, until the winner of the sixth edition went on to conquer the world. My basis for ranking the rest of them was on their overall racing career and a blending of excellence and accomplishments. Have fun and please let me know where you think I may have gone astray, and also where you think this year's winner will fit in...

1. Cigar 33-19-4-5

2. Forty Niner 19-11-5-0

3. Congaree 25-12-4-0

4. Left Bank 24-14-2-0

5. Rubiano 28-13-6-1

6. Dispersal 22-12-3-2

7. Discreet Cat 9-6-0-2

8. Affirmed Success 42-17-10-6

9. El Corredor 10-7-1-0

10. Kodiak Kowboy 23-11-4-3

11. To Honor and Serve 17-8-1-3

12. Quiet American 12-4-3-1

13. Sir Bear 71-19-12-14

14. Lion Tamer 20-8-3-2

15. Ibero 34-10-7-4 

16. Stay Thirsty 17-5-5-1

17. Gold Fever 18-7-4-1

18. Jersey Town 21-6-8-3

19. Purge 15-6-1-2

20. Tale of Ekati 12-5-1-0

21. Flying Chevron 12-5-1-1

22. Daaher 9-4-0-2

23. Devious Course 32-6-6-5



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Older Comments about The Cigar Mile Rankings...

As far as durability goes, Seabiscuit was a chronic cripple who ran well.
I will give you a more recent example. Countess Dianna,who my friend vetted. She was refused to the owners to buy , because of so called obvious issues. He approved her.Not a bad call,if i say so myself. I have been told by many a trainer and vet. The next completely clean race horse you see.That horse will be the first. All of these horses that ran or are running have some sort of story behind them.Just because the public is not privy,does not mean it does not exist. Like they say in Sports,You play when you are hurti, but you sit when you are injured.
Kelso had a high bow which was among the reasons that Nerud and others didn't buy him. Equipoise had chronic Shelly feet as did Sir Barton. Of course Assault, the crippled comet had a club foot and stepped on a spike as a youngster.
Vic,just like you say about the workouts and being there. What does chronic ankle really nean,unless you actually personally saw the ex-rays.Then sat down with the vet,and discussed his diagnosis in detail.I can tell you one thing with certainty. My friends horse who is very succesful and is a front runner,has chronic knees.
Easy Goer could never get out of the gate with the field and had a chronic "ankle"
Easy Goer was a big disappointment I am sure for the Phipps. It Probably ranks with Buckpasser missing the TC with the quarter crack and Bold Lad's poor finish in Lucky Debonair's Derby. As a small aside Ogden Phipps' Dapper Dan, an extremely speedy colt, almost carried his speed that day but finished 2nd to A perfect ride by the Shoe on Lucky Debonair that day.
I was always curious about the Derby,Day ode a perfect race,going into the far turn.When SS went,Easy could not keep up with him.As a matter of fact,if you watch closely. Pat Day went to the whip when his entrymate pulled along side. His greatness allowed him to to just grind and make it as close as he ran. I am sure that this race had to be the Phipps familys greatest disapointment in racing. I remember,people thought that this was as close to a winner as many had seen up to that point. But he never fired.
Tom. I believe Pat Day had some great things to say about Easy Goer after that race. He really thought he was the next TC winner. Bellamy Road was a very nice horse and was very underrated IMO.
Buck,although Easys Gotham was i believe a 4 horse field.Was one of the more visual races one will ever see. I know you had to be tuning in. I was there,the only other race that impressed me more at the Big A by a 3yo was Bellamy Road. I would like to say Vyjacks Gotham last year,but i suspect you would see right through me.
There are more breakdowns on the inner track. Cheap horses high purses. Notice when they started clamping down on the med rules, you didn't have 20 plus horses breaking down.
Tom. I found the answer. You are right Pat Day did not ride on the inner track in either of these races. The Gotham for Easy Goer was on the main track. Racing was moved to the main track after St. Patrick's Day in 1989 per a NYTimes article so Easy Goer ran on the main track.
Tom and Goblin. I looked this up in the American Racing Manual. The Remsen is usually run befor Thanksgiving and the switch to the inner track is after Thanksgiving. So Pat Day didn't do it in the 1986 Remsen. The 1989 Gotham was on April 8th I believe so if he rode on the inner track it would have been this race.
Buck,i think now they have changed it to around Dec 7th or so. I never kept records.But initially they developed the inner for safety reasons.I think i read somewhere that more horses have broken down on the inner than the Main.Do not know if fact ,or if a reason is cheaper quality of horse.
Sorry my bad that should be INNER Track not main after Thanksgiving (usually that Wed. )
Zatt, my position is No.Some is based on what Buck said. In his days,there was really never an important race run on the inner. He was more than like ly at Oaklawn or GP. The closest he came once was when Ptrick Byrne trained for Stronach.He had a sprinter in a stake that Day was named to ride.The Day before,Day cancelled on the mount.
Tom. Goblin would probably have it right. Usually the transition to the main track is after Thanksgiving and ends before either the Gotham or the Wood, but mostly the Wood.
I really couldn't telly you ... my guess would be yes, but I sure can't remember an occasion when he did.
Buck,i am still looking for an answer,maybe you can help.Has Pat Day ever ridden on the inner track at Aqueduct?
The Remsen was first run at Jamaica until 1959. It was run as far as I know always in the fall. The race has been run on the main track. The inner dirt track did not come into existence until 1976 or thereabouts. Prior to that time it was actually a turf course. Things changed because of The advent of OTB in the '70's.
To my knowledge the Remsen has always been on the Main.When Easy won the Gotham by the length of the track.It was on the main track at 1 Mile

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Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, American Pharoah and Justify. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. His new racing partnership venture, Derby Day Racing, invites more fans to experience the thrill of racehorse ownership.

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