Cigar Mile 2019: Odds and analysis for Saturday's race

December 04, 2019 03:21pm
Cigar Mile 2019: Odds and analysis for Saturday's race
Photo: Mark Wyville/EQUI-PHOTO

A pair of 3-year-olds headline the field of 11 drawn for Saturday’s Grade 1, $750,000 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct. With Maximum Security and Spun to Run expected to be the top two choices, New York's final top-level stakes of the year carries championship implications for the sophomore division.

A win by Maximum Security would strengthen his case for the 3-year-old title. On the other hand, if Spun to Run should extend his winning streak, he would join an interesting debate determining the division's top runner.

The one-turn mile is carded as Race 10 with post time scheduled for 4:16 pm ET. Here is an early look at the field with projected morning line odds by Horse Racing Nation.

1) Whitmore
[ML 6-1 – Pleasantly Perfect – R. Moquett/J. Rosario – 30: 12-9-3 - $2,817,600] The Grade 1 winner is known for a late running style that has allowed him win to frequently hit the board in sprints. His last victory came in March at Oaklawn Park going six furlongs. In this year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint, in a second start off the layoff, he broke slowly and rallied to finish third at odds of 19-1. Interestingly, this will be the first time that the 6-year-old will run at the mile distance. He does have an allowance win in his only start at the Big A back in 2016. Use underneath.

2) Bal Harbour
[ML 12-1 – First Samurai – T. Pletcher/J. Velazquez – 18: 5-5-3 - $548,755] The 4-year-old black type winner has run in graded stakes company all season. Although he’s been a bit camera shy as of late with his last win a year ago in the Gio Ponti at Aqueduct, he was second in the Woodward (G1), just a half-length behind Perservationist, and third in the Fayette (G2) behind Tom’s d’Etat and Mr. Freeze, who both ran big in the Churchill Downs' Clark (G1). He prefers to be close to the early pace. Use underneath.

3) Forewarned
[ML 30-1 – Flat Out – U. St. Lewis/A. Salgado – 22: 7-4-2 - $375,613] The 4-year-old Ohio-bred won a state-bred race at Ohio's Mahoning Valley in his most recent start. Trainer Uriah St. Lewis is never afraid to come to New York to take a shot, however, in graded stakes races. And we're just more than a year removed from Discreet Lover upsetting in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1). Forewarned was eighth in the Woodward and fifth in the Whitney this year. The Cigar Mile looks to be another very tough spot for this late runner. Toss.

4) Pat On the Back
[ML 12-1 – Congrats – J. Englehart/D. Davis – 27: 9-4-6 - $1,138,832] The 5-year-old New York-bred is a force in state-bred stakes, but recently broke through with an impressive stalking victory in the Kelso (G2) two races back. Last year, he was fifth in the Cigar Mile at odds of 15-1 for trainer Jeremiah Englehart after running close to the pace. He should come with high odds again. Use underneath.

5) Maximum Security
[ML 8-5 – New Year’s Day – Ja. Servis/L. Saez – 8: 6-1-0 - $1,389,400] Through all of the trials and tribulations for the Gary and Mary West runner, the leading 3-year-old has compiled quite a record with six victories in eight starts. He’s a millionaire with two Grade 1 wins despite the historic disqualification in the Kentucky Derby (G1). He was impressive last time when he beat older horses for the first time while sprinting in the Bold Ruler (G3) at Aqueduct. He is frequently on the lead in his races, although he sat off the pace a bit in his Haskell (G1) victory. He is the horse to beat with a victory that could clinch the 3-year-old championship. Top choice.

6) Spun to Run
[ML 5-2 – Hard Spun – J. Carlos Guerrero/I. Ortiz Jr. – 11: 5-1-3 - $1,010,520] This 3-year-old is at his career best right now and the probable second choice based on his last two victories against older horses including in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1). Those wins earned Beyer Speed Figures that rank in the top five this year for the 3-year-old division. The Parx Racing-based millionaire is another one who likes to press or set the early pace, and it's likely to his advantage to draw outside of Maximum Security. Win contender.

7) Nicodemus
[ML 20-1 – Candy Ride – L. Rice/M. Franco – 9: 3-2-0 - $251,400] The one-turn mile is where this 4-year-old recorded two of his wins, with the most recent one coming in the Westchester (G3) over a sloppy Belmont Park track. He returns from a five-month layoff after a pair of fourths Grade 2 sprints at Belmont. Even with a favorable pace scenario for his late running style, this is a tough spot for a comeback race. Toss.

8) Network Effect
[ML 6-1 – Mark Valeski – C. Brown/J. Castellano – 4: 2-2-0 - $131,250] The 3-year-old from Chad Brown's barn is lightly raced with only four career starts, but only one this season when he returned to the races after an 11-month layoff to win an allowance race at Aqueduct. As a juvenile, he was second in the Remsen (G2) and the Nashua (G3) at the Big A. Like his stablemate, Lookin At Bikinis, this late runner is loaded with talent and is facing older horses for the first time in a tough spot. He will still need to advance off the recent comeback victory. Use underneath.

Looking at Bikinis [ML 12-1 – Lookin At Lucky – C. Brown/J. Ortiz – 5: 3-0-1 - $144,550] This Brown-trained  3-year-old is also lightly raced with five career starts. He'll take on older for the first time off an allowance score at Keeneland. Before that, he ran at the back of the field in the Travers (G1) and was third in the Curlin Stakes at Saratoga. Twice he won from off the pace, but in two starts on wet tracks he raced on the lead. He certainly cannot be discounted. Live longshot.

10) Tale of Silence
[ML 20-1 – Tale of the Cat – B. Tagg/J. Alvarado – 21: 3-5-3 - $534,282] This 5-year-old was last seen running second to Maximum Security in the Bold Ruler when he rallied up the rail at odds of 23-1. Last year, he was the 12-1 winner of the Westchester (G3) going a one-turn mile at Belmont Park. With so many higher profile horses in the field, he will once again come with big odds as a horse with a chance to hit the board. Trifecta player.

11) True Timber
[ML 20-1 – Mineshaft – K. McLaughlin/J. Bravo – 11: 2-3-2 - $860,550] Another one of the hard-knocking older horses in the field, he was third in his last two starts in graded stakes races in New York and he was second in Cigar Mile last year. The Kiaran McLaughlin runner has yet to win a stakes and comes to this race with Aqueduct as his favorite track. But he is winless in four tries at the mile distance. Toss.

The bottom line in the Cigar Mile is that the 3-year-olds are better than the older horses. Maximum Security and Spun to Run both show graded wins in non-restricted company entering and speed figures higher than their rivals.

The two Brown sophomores, Network Effect and Looking At Bikinis, are lightly raced and are seeking their first stakes wins in this Grade 1 against the older guys after recent allowance scores. The talented duo should factor in the trifecta.

Older horses like Bal Harbour, Pat On the Back, Whitmore and Tale of Silence would also be tough to dismiss on exotics tickets.


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