What to watch for: Running down Cigar Mile day probables

December 02, 2019 12:14pm
What to watch for: Running down Cigar Mile day probables
Photo: Chelsea Durand/NYRA

New York’s biggest day of racing remaining in 2019 is expected to include an appearance from top 3-year-old Maximum Security, dole out Kentucky Derby and Oaks qualifying points and see a return to the races by Spiced Perfection, one of many talented mares remaining in training next year.

Here’s what to watch for, with probables provided by the New York Racing Association’s Press Office.

Cigar Mile (G1)

The $750,000 feature is open to horses 3 years old and up, but the sophomores figure to take most of the money with Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Spun to Run in to challenge Maximum Security. Both look to be in top form.

Spun to Run posted a 110 speed figure in his Parx Racing prep for the Dirt Mile, then backed it up with a 109 on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita Park, where he took a field including the highly respected Omaha Beach the whole way.

Maximum Security, meanwhile, missed the Breeders’ Cup due to a severe bout of colic in September. Connections opted to bring him back in a softer spot, and he nearly set a track record while coasting in the Bold Ruler Handicap (G3).

Looking At Bikinis and Network Effect, both from the Chad Brown barn, are other 3-year-olds to watch. The former returned from the Travers Stakes (G1) to win a Keeneland allowance, while the latter, off since last year, won going the Cigar Mile’s course/distance in his Nov. 10 return.

Top older Cigar Mile contenders include Whitmore. He exits a third in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint and will stretch past seven furlongs for the first time since the 2015 Kentucky Derby. Pat On the Back is a New York-bred winner of the Kelso Handicap (G2). And Bal Harbour knocked at the door all season in graded company, including a second in the Woodward (G1).

Remsen Stakes (G2)

With this race absent a known star such as Nashua (G3) hero Independence Hall, a large field appears ready to sign on with entries due Wednesday for the Derby points prep. Probables from current and future Hall of Famers stand out.

Bill Mott-trained Forza Di Oro can be forgiven for his debut defeat. He lost at the break but still ran on to be second. Next out, the son of Speightstown struck going 1 1/16 miles while jockey Junior Alvarado asked little of him.

Todd Pletcher has a pair led by Alpha Sixty Six, a Sept. 7 debut winner who was fifth in the Champagne Stakes (G1). He should enjoy the Remsen’s 1 1/8-mile trip. Both Alpha Sixty Six and stablemate Chase Tracker are in Friday’s Central Park Stakes as main track only entrants.

Ajaaweed, from the Kiaran McLaughlin barn, continues to merit consideration. He was impressive on Sept. 11 when breaking his maiden at Belmont Park but didn’t factor when fifth in Keeneland’s Breeders’ Futurity (G1). McLaughlin said Ajaaweed “didn't ship really well and wasn't quite himself for a couple of days” for the last start.

Demoiselle Stakes (G2)

Maedean, a $450,000 filly for the connections of Courtlandt Farms and trainer Mark Hennig, squarely looks like the one to beat in this Oaks prep. Last time, the daughter of Tapit strolled to a 5 1/2-length victory in the local Tempted Stakes, backing up her maiden victory at the same one-turn mile configuration.

Going longer isn’t a concern for Hennig, who said after the Tempted that, "I almost passed this race to wait on the Demoiselle because I know she's going to love the distance. She’s going to get better going further. If you watch her train in the morning, she just never gets tired. It's encouraging going forward.”

With Maedean the likely favorite, second choice could belong to Alandra, a debut winner at Saratoga for the Shug McGaughey barn. She was third next when moved up in class for Keeneland’s Alcibiades (G1).

Go for Wand (G3)

Spiced Perfection didn’t meet her reserve price when hammering for $1.35 million at the Keeneland November Sale, putting her back in training with Peter Miller toward this spot and a 2020 season.

The 4-year-old by Smiling Tiger, fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, worked five furlongs Monday at Churchill Downs in an easy 1:02. She figures to do plenty of campaigning in Kentucky, where victories include Keeneland’s Madison (G1) and Thoroughbred Club of America (G2). The Breeders’ Cup also runs at Keeneland next year.

Spiced Perfection brings a significant class edge into the Go for Wand, which will be filled out by local runners exiting minor events.


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