Mendelssohn, Copper Town top Cigar Mile 2018 probables

NYRA Press Office
November 25, 2018 04:28pm
World traveler Mendelssohn and emerging star Copper Town headline a prospective field of 10 for the 30th running of the Grade 1, $750,000 Cigar Mile Handicap presented by NYRA Bets, scheduled for Dec. 1 at Aqueduct Racetrack.

The Cigar Mile, the cornerstone of the Aqueduct fall meet, will headline a lucrative day of racing at the Big A, also featuring the Grade 2, $250,000 Remsen for 2-year-olds, the Grade 2, $250,000 Demoiselle for 2-year-old fillies, and the Grade 3, $250,000 Go For Wand Handicap for fillies and mares at a mile.

Mendelssohn, trained by Aidan O'Brien for owners Michael B. Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier, and Derrick Smith, has competed at racetracks across the globe with wins in Ireland, Dubai and his first Grade 1 score last season in the U.S. when victorious in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, at Del Mar.

The bay son of Scat Daddy will be making his fourth appearance in New York, where he has hit the board in each previous occasion, finishing third in the Grade 3 Dwyer, second in the Grade 1 Travers and third in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup.

Copper Town, bred and co-owned by WinStar Farm in partnership with China Horse Club International, SF Racing, and Head of Plains Partners, arrives at the Cigar Mile on a three-race win streak for trainer Todd Pletcher. The Speightstown bay, out of stakes-winner Dynazaper, earned a career-best 106 Beyer Speed Figure for an allowance win at Belmont in October 2017.

Following a one-year layoff, the talented colt returned to racing with a five-length romp at Keeneland when sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs.

"This is only his second start off a long layoff and his comeback race was quite good," said Pletcher. "He's a horse we've always had high expectations for. We're just hoping for a steady campaign with him. We feel like he's talented enough, if the one race has him fit enough to run against horses that have a little more seasoning and recency."

Copper Town breezed four furlongs in 50.96 seconds on Saturday morning at Belmont.

"Copper Town is doing well," said Pletcher. "He has been training exceptionally well."

Dennis Drazin's millionaire Sunny Ridge will make his third Aqueduct appearance fresh off a determined second in the Grade 2 Kelso on Sept. 22 at Belmont, a race won by likely Cigar Mile rival Patternrecognition. 

The 5-year-old Holy Bull grey made the grade with a victory in the 2016 running of the Grade 3 Withers and has piled up stakes scores in the 2015 Sapling; the Stymie and Jazil in 2017; and the State Dinner in July at Belmont for trainer Jason Servis.

Leading New York trainer Chad Brown is expected to saddle both multiple graded stakes winner Timeline and the aforementioned Patternrecognition.

Woodford Racing's Timeline, by Hard Spun, won four of six sophomore starts, including victories in the Grade 3 Peter Pan and Grade 3 Pegasus. A beaten favorite when fifth in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational, Timeline closed out his 2017 campaign with a seventh-place effort in the Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby. With a record of 1-1-2 from five starts in 2018, Timeline will look to make his third Grade 1 attempt a winning one on the back of a driving third in the Kelso.

Patternrecognition, owned by Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence, made his first graded start a winning one when making all the running in the Grade 2 Kelso. The ultra-consistent 5-year-old son of Adios Charlie sports a record of four wins and five seconds from 10 career starts. The talented bay is perfect in two starts over the Aqueduct main and earned a 103 Beyer for a win here in November 2017 at the Cigar Mile distance.

Name Changer, No Dozing, Pat On the Back, Stan the Man and True Timber are among the nominated horses expected to be featured here next Saturday.

Qualifying points to the
2019 Kentucky Derby will be on the line as a possible five-horse field of talented juveniles will look to close their 2-year-old seasons with momentum in the 105th running of the Grade 2 Remsen.

As part of the official "Road to the Kentucky Derby" series, the Remsen will award 10 points to the winner towards the Run for the Roses May 4 at Churchill Downs. Four points will be awarded for runner-up, two points will go to the third-place finisher and one point will be given for fourth in the 1 1/8-mile Remsen; a prestigious race that saw Hall of Famers such as Northern Dancer (1963) and Damascus (1966) use the contest as a springboard to future greatness.

Red Oak Stable and Madaket's
Mind Control is a possibility for the Remsen following a seventh-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile on Nov. 2 at Churchill. The Gregory Sacco trainee made a splash in his stakes debut when he outkicked Mucho by three-quarters of a length to win the Grade 1 Hopeful on Sept. 3 at Saratoga Race Course. The son of Stay Thirsty is 2-1-0 in four starts and has already earned $240,900.

W.S. Farish's
Code of Honor will take aim at his first stakes win after a close second-place effort in the Grade 1 Champagne last out on Oct. 6 at Belmont in which he recovered from a stumble at the start to finish within three lengths of Complexity. A debut winner at six furlongs on Aug. 18 at the Spa, Code of Honor stretched out to one mile in the Champagne and will be running at two turns for the first time.

"So far, so good. We've just been training around the weather," said Hall of Fame conditioner Shug McGaughey, whose four wins in the Remsen are the most by a trainer. "It looks like we'll get some more good weather. So far, it looks like he's doing really well."

Also probable for the Remsen is Klaravich Stables' Network Effect, a winner in his first start on Aug. 11 for trainer Chad Brown who finished second to Vekoma in the Grade 3 Nashua on Nov. 4 at Aqueduct. Maximus Mischief, purchased for $340,000 and trained by Robert Reid, Jr., will be stepping up to stakes company for the first time after starting his career 2-for-2. Jungle Warrior, who saw Jimmy Jerkens take up training duties from Sid Attard after running fifth in the Grade 1 Summer on Sept. 16 at Woodbine, is a possibility.

The Grade 3 Go For Wand for fillies and mares at one mile will feature a prospective field of seven, led by multiple graded stakes winner
Marley's Freedom for Cicero Farms and Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.

Sent off as the post-time favorite to finish fourth in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint on Nov. 3 at Churchill Downs, the 4-year-old Blame filly will look to rebound in her second trip to New York. She won the Grade 1 Ballerina Aug. 25 at Saratoga.

A formidable Go For Wand field includes Pacific Wind for trainer Chad Brown, who finished third in the Grade 1 Spinster at Keeneland on Oct. 7; Sower for trainer Linda Rice and owner Leonard Green, who won the Pumpkin Pie by 5 ¼ lengths on Oct. 28 at Belmont; and New York-bred Empire Distaff Handicap winner Bonita Bianca, conditioned by Jason Servis for owners Michael Dubb and Bethlehem Stables.

McGaughey is expected to enter Browse for Phipps Stable; Carlos Martin will saddle Come Dancing for owners Blue Devil Racing Stable; and Brown trainee Your Love, who finished second in the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom on Sept. 23 will enter for owner Paul Pompa, Jr.

The Grade 2 Demoiselle will feature an expected field of six juvenile fillies highlighted by
Enliven for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin and Godolphin. The home-bred Ghostzapper filly broke her maiden in her second career start on Sept. 30 at Belmont and went on to finish second in the Grade 3 Tempted on Nov. 2 at Aqueduct.

Filly Joel, who impressively broke her maiden by 6 ¼ lengths in her third career start for owner Arindel and trainer Rudy Rodriguez, will provide steep opposition. Rounding off the perspective entrants are Afleet Destiny for Uriah St. Lewis; Jennifer's Dream for trainer John Servis and Cash is King Stable; Molto Bella for Six Column Stables and Randall Bloch for trainer Ian Wilkes; and Positive Spirit for trainer Rodolphe Brisset and owner Michael Ryan.

Full nominations for all Cigar Mile Day stakes are available at


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