Horak: Must-bet horses for Cigar Mile day's Empire 6 payout

December 06, 2019 12:37pm

The New York Racing Association's Empire 6 jackpot is scheduled for a mandatory payout Saturday at Aqueduct, where the Cigar Mile (G1) leads a slew of graded stakes. Entering Friday, the pool stood at $544,158, meaning it should get well into seven figures assuming there's no single ticket winner before the weekend.

Let’s look at all six races in the sequence, and feature one non-favorite from each leg worth including on your tickets. 

Race 5: Maiden Special Weight
One Mile Dirt (1:35 p.m. ET)

#9 Or’effice (4-1) is a $725,000 son of Medaglia d'Oro with a gate bullet, and Mark Hennig is 2-for-4 with his recent first time starters debuting at one mile or longer. This does not seem like the toughest group, and the first foal out of Grace Hall looks live right out of the box. 

Race 6: Grade 3 Go for Wand
One Mile Dirt (2:09 p.m. ET)

#4 Another Broad (7-2) owns competitive numbers and fits with these. She won the Top Flight at Aqueduct back on April 13 and was clearly second best in the local Turnback the Alarm (G3) on Nov. 2. She owns two wins at this one mile distance.

Race 7: Maiden Special Weight
Six Furlongs Dirt (2:41 p.m. ET)

#11 Ego Man (8-1) took some action and was best of the rest when third at Parx on Nov. 16. The top two were well clear, but he tried hard in his 5.5-furlong bow that day. Jose Ortiz rides for competent trainer Jorge Duarte Jr.

Race 8 - Grade 2 Demoiselle Stakes
Nine Furlongs Dirt (3:13 p.m. ET)

#6 Critical Value (8-1) is an improving New York-bred filly exiting a sharp win in the Maid of the Mist at one mile. She shows three local bullets for this tougher assignment.

Race 9: Grade 2 Remsen Stakes
Nine Furlongs Dirt (3:43 p.m. ET)

#8 Alpha Sixty Six (4-1) is a grinder stretching out in distance, and there is a pretty good chance that he likes this trip. Todd Pletcher shows decent stats with the blinkers off move, plus this $400,000 son of Liam’s Map is fresh and might be ready to move forward.

Race 10: Grade 1 Cigar Mile
One Mile Dirt (4:16 p.m. ET)

#2 Bal Harbour (8-1) is interesting in this spot. The Top 2 from his last in Keeneland's Fayette (G2) returned to finish first and third in Churchill Downs' Clark (G1). Bal Harbour is a tactical type who owns competitive numbers and likes this distance. I just see him lurking inside behind the two favorites, and that might be the key to him running a big race.


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