McLaughlin hopes True Timber can finish one better in Cigar Mile

NYRA Press Office
December 01, 2019 03:19pm
Calumet Farm's True Timber and Shadwell Stable's Ajaaweed breezed in company on Saturday as the talented contingent for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin continued their preparation for the Cigar Mile Day card on December 7 at Aqueduct Racetrack.

True Timber was the runner-up in last year's Grade 1, $750,000 Cigar Mile and will look to make the next step up in this year's running. The Cigar Mile highlights a day of four graded stakes including the Grade 2, $250,000 Remsen for 2-year-olds, a race that Ajaaweed is working toward.

On Saturday, True Timber registered five furlongs in 1:01.55 on the Belmont Park training track, marking his third breeze on the surface since running third, 4 ¼ lengths back to winner and potential Cigar Mile rival Maximum Security [who worked three furlongs on the Belmont Park training track Sunday in 42.20] in the seven-furlong Bold Ruler (G3) on October 26 at Belmont.

McLaughlin has carefully chosen the spots for the 5-year-old son of Mineshaft's campaign, which started with a seventh-place finish in the Pegasus World Cup (G1) in January at Gulfstream Park and continued with a ninth-place finish in the Godolphin Mile (G2) in March in Dubai. After a six-month freshening, True Timber returned to run third in the Kelso Handicap (G2) on September 21 at Belmont at a mile, earning the first of identical 98 Beyer Speed Figures in his last two starts.

"He's been training great. He came out of the Bold Ruler in great shape and we're pointing for it," McLaughlin said.

True Timber ran second, by three-quarters of a length, to Patternrecognition in last year's Cigar Mile. That marked the last of three times the Kentucky bred was a runner-up in a graded stakes, which also includes last year's Bold Ruler and the 2017 Withers (G3). He earned a personal-best 104 Beyer in the 2018 Cigar Mile after going six-wide in the upper stretch.

"He's doing well. It's a tough race, but he ran great in it last year," McLaughlin said. "We're hoping to repeat that."

True Timber's workmate on Saturday, Ajaaweed, will be making just his fourth career start in the Remsen, a fellow prestigious race on the NYRA circuit that serves as the state's last Kentucky Derby prep race of the calendar year. Offering 10-4-2-1 points to the top-four finishers, the Remsen is contested at 1 1/8 miles.

Ajaaweed breezed five furlongs in 1:01.54. After running fifth in his debut at six furlongs on August 10 at Saratoga, he broke his maiden with a 4 ¼-length score at one mile on September 11 at Belmont. McLaughlin then stepped up the Kentucky homebred to stakes company, where she rallied from ninth three-quarters of a mile in to finish fourth in the Claiborne Breeders' Futurity (G1) on October 5 at Keeneland.

McLaughlin said getting to stay closer to his home base at Belmont could be beneficial compared to that start.

"He's doing very well. He shipped to Kentucky last time but didn't ship really well and wasn't quite himself for a couple of days," McLaughlin said. "He came back here and has been training very, very well, and he's ready. We think he wants a mile and an eighth, so all is well."


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