Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) champion Groupie Doll will try to extend her winning streak to six when she takes on the boys on Saturday afternoon in the $350,000 Cigar Mile (G1) at Aqueduct.
Trained by Buff Bradley, the filly is the 8-5 morning line favorite and is looking for her fourth Grade 1 victory in 2012, which would put her right in the discussion for Horse of the Year honors.
In addition to Grade 1 wins in the Madison, Humana Distaff, and Filly & Mare Sprint, she has a couple of Grade 2 wins this year as well, taking the Presque Isle Masters and TCA.
She is going to have to beat six established runners to take the Cigar Mile including the Todd Pletcher trained Stay Thirsty (7-2), who is coming in off a runner up finish in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1), and Jersey Town (4-1), the 2010 upset winner of this race.
Others that will be tough include Bold Ruler (G3) winner Buffum (6-1) and Coil (8-1), who won the Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1) before failing to fire in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) in his most recent outing.
Completing the field are Bold Ruler third place finisher Associate (20-1) and Frank “Poncho” Martin winner Hymn Book (6-1).
The Cigar Mile is one of four graded stakes on Saturday’s card at Aqueduct, which is dubbed the Heineken Holidayfest.
The other stakes on Saturday’s card are the $350,000 Gazelle (G1) for three-year-old fillies, the $250,000 Remsen (G2) for two-year-olds, and the $250,000 Demoiselle (G2) for two-year-old fillies.
Congratulations are in order for the connections of Shackleford, who took the field gate to wire to win Friday’s $400,000 Clark Handicap (G1) at Churchill Downs.
The victory moved the four-year-old colt to over $3 million in earnings and the colt paid $7.80, a higher price than I thought he would go off at.
In fact I called him a potential underlay yesterday, but his price was solid while my top pick in the race Bourbon Courage was hammered down from his 15-1 morning line and ended up going off at 5.80/1, rallying for third.
Jockey Jesus Castanon was able to set slow early fractions of 24.31, 48.65, and six furlongs in a pedestrian 1:12.49.
All I could think after the race is the other jockeys in the race were under the influence of Tryptophan. Calvin Borel was content on sitting off the pace with Take Charge Indy, who did hold on for second. However, Borel gave his horse no real shot of winning the race with his passive tactics.
You would think with $400,000 on the line the jockeys would be a bit more aggressive, knowing that Shackleford would be really tough to beat if he was able to shake loose early.
Nope, it looked as if Calvin was perfectly happy being the bridesmaid.
Let’s head out to Aqueduct for Saturday’s featured betting race of the day:
Aqueduct Race 8 The Cigar Mile G1 (Post time 3:20 ET)
7 Groupie Doll 8-5
1 Stay Thirsty 7-2
4 Jersey Town 4-1
6 Coil 8-1
Analysis: Groupie Doll takes on the boys here just three weeks after capturing the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1), her fifth consecutive win. The filly was out six wide at the 5’8’s and four wide on the turn, drawing off in the stretch to win by 4 1/2 widening lengths. She was one of the few that made up ground or raced wide that had much of an impact on the day as the racing surface was kind to inside speed that day. She has earned solid figs going a one turn mile and she should get a good pace set up in here as it looks as if the early pace will be contested among the three breaking from the inside. If she rolls over this field the way she beat her own sex the past few races she enters the conversation for Horse of the Year.
Stay Thirsty skipped the Breeders’ Cup after a solid performance in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) at Belmont Park. The colt dueled for the early lead and entered in the stretch with the lead and it appeared he was going to back up but just kept on plugging away, beaten just a head by Flat Out. He was better than five lengths clear of Fort Larned, who came back to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). The Pletcher trainee won the Travers (G1) and Jim Dandy (G2) last year but is 0 for 4 in 2012. He breaks from the rail with both Associate and Buffum to his outside, and they are both quick. Ramon should be able to get a good trip sitting just off those two and should get the jump on the late runners.
Jersey Town pulled off the upset in this race back in 2010 at 34-1, and then lost his next seven starts before taking the Kelso (G2) in September in a sharp effort. He checked in fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) last out, drifting out in the stretch. He caught a racing strip that was playing to inside speed and the trip came at two turns. He cuts back to one turn here.
WIN: #7 to win at 9-5 or better.
EX: 1,7 / 1,4,6,7
TRI: 1,7 / 1,4,,67 / 1,4,5,6,7
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