A field of 11 will line up in Saturday’s $750,000 Cigar Mile Handicap (G1) at Aqueduct led by the Jason Servis trained Maximum Security, the 3-2 morning line favorite.
The colt is seeking his third Grade 1 victory of the year which may put him in line to win the Eclipse Award for top three-year-old. He won the Florida Derby (G1) and Haskell Invitational (G1) this year. He was disqualified for the win in the Kentucky Derby (G1), then got run down in the Pegasus at Monmouth Park before winning his last two starts.
He faces a solid field including Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) winner Spun to Run (5-2), who took the field gate to wire to score the upset, returning $20.20 and beating Omaha Beach by 2 ¾ lengths.
The Juan Carlos Guerrero trainee has posted two bullet works at Parx Racing since his win in the Dirt Mile.
“Both works have been solid. He’s coming into the race very nicely,” said Guerrero. “I thought he might have went a little fast in Saturday’s work, but watching him gallop today, if anything, it made him pick up the bit even more. Today was a key day to see what the work took out of him and if anything, it put him right back into the bit. He’s pumped up. He’s ready to go.”
Whitmore (8-1) is stretching out to a mile after rallying to finish third in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) in his last start.
Nicodemus (20-1) won the Westchester (G3) earlier this year at a mile and makes his first start since July. Bal Harbour (8-1) is coming off a third in the Fayette (G2) behind Tom’s d’Etat who came back to win the Clark (G1) at Churchill Downs in his next outing on Nov. 29.
The Cigar Mile is one of six stakes races on an outstanding 10-race card on Saturday at Aqueduct. The card also features the $250,000 Remsen (G2) for two-year-olds, the $250,000 Demoiselle (G2) for two-year-old fillies, the $250,000 Go for Wand Handicap (G3) for older fillies and mares, as well as the rescheduled $150,000 Winter Memories for sophomore fillies and the $125,000 Autumn Days for fillies and mares three-years-old and up,
Let’s head out to Aqueduct for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
The Cigar Mile Handicap (G1) Post time 4:16 ET
1 Whitmore 8-1
5 Maximum Security 3-2
6 Spun to Run 5-2
7 Nicodemus 20-1
This colt will go a route of ground for the first time since running 19th in the 2016 Kentucky Derby (G1). Last out in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) the gelding was off a beat slow, was next to last early and came with a good late rally to finish third, beaten 3 ½ lengths. Two back off a four month break he made a good late run to finish in the runner up spot in the Phoenix (G2) at Keeneland. He has won just once this year, taking the Hot Springs at Oaklawn Park in March but has earned triple digit Beyers in seven of his last 11 starts and the question mark is the distance and perhaps the rail draw. We are going to have a sharp early pace and this guy is quick enough to be up close early, but I am hoping the jock can work out a trip from mid pack. His win over the main track here was at 6 ½ furlongs against Alw-2 optional claimers back in Dec. of ’16. He looks primed for a top effort tin his third start of his current form cycle and he has the pedigree to go long. Worth a look if he goes off near his 8-1 morning line.
The Jason Servis trainee may have the Eclipse Award for top three-year-old in his pocket with a win here. The colt came back from a bout with colic to win the Bold Ruler ‘Cap (G3) last out in gate to wire fashion at seven furlongs. His Haskell Invitational (G1) two back was impressive as well over Mucho Gusto and the rapidly improving Spun to Run. This colt could be undefeated in his career with a better outcome in the Kentucky Derby (G1) where he got DQ’d and the Pegasus where he got off to a slow start and got run down late as the chalk. There is plenty of early speed signed up and if Saez gets mixed up in a fast early duel he could be vulnerable at a light price.
Spun to Run
This colt won the Ballezzi Appreciation Mile at Philly in October earning a 110 Beyer Speed Figure, 13 points higher than his previous best. He proved that outing was no fluke by pulling off the upset in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) last out at 9-1, nearly matching his career top. He took the field gate to wire and that could be tough to do in this spot. He got clear in the stretch in the Dirt Mile and then drifted around inside the final furlong. Not sure this guy is going to offer much value for the top spot.