Cigar Mile: Top Class Racing Does Not End With Breeders’ Cup

Filly & Mare Sprint champion Groupie Doll will return in the Cigar Mile against the boys (Photo credit: Breeders' Cup Ltd.)

The 2013 Breeders’ Cup is in the books but the racing season will not be complete until they run the $500,000 Cigar Mile (G1) at Aqueduct on Nov. 30.

Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) champion Groupie Doll went through the sales ring at Keeneland after defending her title and was purchased for $3.1 million by Mandy Hope, and it seemed as if her racing career was over.

However, Pope is delaying Groupie Doll’s breeding career and she will take on the boys again in the Cigar Mile. Last year she won the Filly & Mare Sprint for her sixth win in a row and then was beaten the slimmest of noses by Stay Thirsty in last year’s running of the Cigar Mile.

There is an added caveat for a Breeders’ Cup winner. The New York Racing Association is offering any Breeders’ Cup winner a share of a $1 million purse. Any Grade 1 winner will be running for a $750,000 purse.

The mare is not the only Breeders’ Cup winner pointing toward the race. Dirt Mile (G1) winner Goldencents is heading to the Big A, with his connections thinking he still has a shot for the Eclipse Award for top three-year-old.

A victory would give him his third Grade 1 of the year. The colt won the Santa Anita Derby (G1) in April, and then lost four in a row before winning the Dirt Mile.

The colt was beaten 49 ½ lengths in the Kentucky Derby and 9 ½ lengths in the Preakness Stakes.

Goldencents will attempt to win the Eclipse Award for top three-year-old with a victory in the Cigar Mile (Photo credit: Breeders' Cup Ltd.)

It is an odd year for the division, with the frontrunner at this point for the honors being a colt that was beaten a combined 45 ¼ lengths in the Triple Crown races.

The D. Wayne Lukas trained Will Take Charge was dusted this spring in the classics, but  bounced back with a second in the Jim Dandy (G1), a victory in the Travers (G1), and then a game second in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) in his first start against older foes.

Orb has a couple of Grade 1 wins, winning the Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby, but lost four times after his win in the Run for the Roses.

Palace Malice won the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes and the Grade 2 Jim Dandy. After his fourth in the Travers he ran well in a runner up finish in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) in his first start against older, but failed to fire his best in a sixth place finish in the Classic.

Preakness (G1) winner Oxbow lost his next two starts, his last a fourth in the Haskell Invitational (G1) in July.

If Goldencents can win the Cigar Mile, the trio of Grade 1 races may put him over Will Take Charge in voter’s minds.

The fact that the division is coming down to a couple of runners that were beaten a combined 104 lengths in the Triple Crown races is mind-boggling.

However, the showdown between Groupie Doll and Goldencents is intriguing, and the race is not just a showdown between the two Breeders’ Cup champs.

A solid field is lining up including Grade 1 winners Verrazano, Capo Bastone and Alpha, as well as Gentlemen’s Bet, who was third in this year’s Sprint.

The Nov. 30 card at Aqueduct will also feature the $400,000 Demoiselle (G2) for two-year-old fillies, the $400,000 Remsen (G2) for juveniles, and the $400,000 Comely (G3) for three-year-old fillies.


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