Expert picks: Cigar Mile 2019 predictions, longshots

December 06, 2019 02:32pm
Expert picks: Cigar Mile 2019 predictions, longshots
Photo: Chelsea Durand/NYRA
New York's final Grade 1 race of the year, Saturday's $750,000 Cigar Mile, matches up a pair of 3-year-olds with similar front-running styles in Maximum Security and Spun to Run. But they didn't chase anyone off, with 11 in all set for the one-turn jaunt at Aqueduct.

If not the Top 2, then who? Horse Racing Nation contributors covered a number of scenarios with their picks below. While forming your own opinions, check out free Cigar Mile past performances.

Nick Costa

Winner: #5 Maximum Security

On the board: #6 Spun to Run, #1 Whitmore

Longshot I like: #7 Nicodemus

Analysis: Maximum Security returned from a three-month layoff to score against elders in the Bold Ruler (G3), again proving this horse loves to win. He has crossed the finish line first in seven of eight lifetime races, including Grade 1 victories in the Florida Derby and Haskell Invitational. A win here could solidify an Eclipse award. Spun to Run had a breakout effort last time out when dominating the competition with a front-running score in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. Can he double up against top company? He is unbeaten in three starts at a mile. Whitmore is a Grade 1 winner who consistently runs well in top level races, so there is no questioning his class. But the distance factor raises a concern as he has yet to win past seven panels.

Ryan Dickey

Winner: #6 Spun to Run

On the board: #11 True Timber, #2 Bal Harbour

Longshot I like: #8 Network Effect

Analysis: I'm going to play against Maximum Security and hope he doesn't hit the board. It's been a long year for him, even though he's running second off a short layoff, including a comeback from a severe colic scare. The top choice is Spun to Run, who is 3-for-3 at the distance although he's finished third both times he's run at Aqueduct. He's hot at the right time to win this. Bal Harbour should be an overlay in this race, and my longshot pick of Chad Brown's Network Effect is what I'm banking on giving me a nice trifecta price should Maximum Security finish up the track.

Jarrod Horak

Winner: #2 Bal Harbour

On the board: #6 Spun to Run, #5 Maximum Security

Longshot I like: #8 Network Effect

Analysis: Bal Harbour was best of the rest when third in Keeneland's Fayette (G2), and the top two in that race came back to win and hit the board in Churchill Downs' Clark (G1). The tactical type owns competitive numbers and likes this distance. Spun to Run shows the best recent figures and simply might be better than these. He hardly broke a sweat in his three victories at this distance, including that Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile. Maximum Security is 4-for-4 around one turn and should make his presence felt throughout. He just keeps running the same race and winning. Network Effect and Looking At Bikinis are a pair of lightly raced Chad Brown runners. Both step up in class after sharp allowance scores.

Wagers: #2 to win; exacta 5-6/2; trifecta 5-6/ALL/2; superfecta 5-6/2-5-6/ALL/2-5-6-8-9

Reinier Macatangay

Winner: #5 Maximum Security

On the board: #8 Network Effect, #6 Spun to Run

Longshot I like: #9 Looking At Bikinis

Analysis: With Maximum Security and Spun to Run drawn right next to one other, a speed duel is possibly brewing. Maximum Security is still the top choice, but a fast pace opens up the door for a stalker such as Network Effect or Looking at Bikinis to take advantage and upset. Both of the Brown barn's 3-year-olds deserve consideration for the win spot on tickets just in case.
Mark Midland

Winner: #5 Maximum Security

On the board: #1 Whitmore, #10 Tale of Slience

Longshot I like: #11 True Timber

Analysis: Unless Irad Ortiz Jr. decides to send Spun to Run like he did in the Dirt Mile, I just don't see him having the speed to contend with Maximum Security, who will be tough to beat if he can click through a reasonable opening half mile. Don't overlook Whitmore coming out of the Breeders' Cup Sprint and several wide trips. If Joel Rosario can work out a trip from the rail, he could be right there. It's a great wagering opportunity as Whitmore, Tale of Silence and True Timber all have a shot to complete the exacta at a nice price.

Wager: trifecta 5 with 1,6,8,10,11 with 1,10,11


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