Performer the Chalk in Cigar Mile at Aqueduct

Aqueduct Cigar Mile

Performer is the 7-5 morning line favorite for Saturday’s $250,000 Cigar Mile Handicap (G1) at Aqueduct. (Photo credit: © George Zilberman |

The up and coming Performer is the 7-5 morning line favorite in Saturday’s $250,000 Cigar Mile Handicap (G1) at Aqueduct which drew a field of nine but the starting gate may end up lighter.

There is rain in the forecast and the connections of Mind Control (20-1), and Firenze Fire (5-2) reportedly are thinking about scratching if the track comes up wet and that seems likely.

With Firenze Fire the second choice on the morning line at 5-2, a scratch would likely leave the Shug McGaughey trained Performer shorter than his 7-5 morning line as he makes his second start off the bench.

“He’s training well. It has been a while since he ran, but he’ll be fit enough,” McGaughey said. “He’s been over that track before. He seems to be doing as well now as he’s ever done.”

The wildcard in the race is King Guillermo (9-2) who makes his first start since a runner up finish in one of the divisions of the Arkansas Derby (G1) back in May. The colt spiked a fever and was scratched two days before the Kentucky Derby (G1).

“He’s good. He’s ready,” said his trainer Juan Avila. “He’s getting ready to face that challenge. The mile will be good for him because he’s had seven months without a race.”

Another interesting contender is Snapper Sinclair from the Steve Asmussen barn. The colt is going turf to dirt and likes a wet track. Asmussen won the Cigar Mile in 2009 with Kodiak Kowboy.

The Cigar Mile is one of four stakes on the Saturday card. The $150,000 Demoiselle (G2) is a Road to the Kentucky Oaks points race and the $150,000 Remsen will offer up 10-4-2-1 points toward entry into the 2021 Kentucky Derby.

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Let’s head out to Aqueduct for Saturday’s featured race of the day:

Free Horse PIcks

Aqueduct Race 10 The Cigar Mile Handicap (G1) 4:13 ET

3 Snapper Sinclair   20-1

1 Performer   7-5

5 Mr. Buff   6-1

7 Majestic Dunhill   20-1

Snapper Sinclair

The Asmussen trainee gets the call here at what should be a decent price. The prospects of a wet track mean that the connections of Mind Control and Firenze Fire have indicated they will likely scratch. Our top pick is going turf to dirt after this guy ran third last out at Churchill Downs on good turf against $150,000 optional claimers (non-winners of four other than or a race in 2020). He tracked the early pace and finished evenly. The top two in that race are Grade 2 winners on turf. Two back on turf in the Tourist he earned a career top Beyer in a runner up finish at Kentucky Downs. He is bred to handle a wet track and earlier this year ran a solid second in the Essex Handicap at Oaklawn Park in the slop. The barn is 21% winners moving runners from turf to dirt.


This colt came back off the sidelines with a sharp win versus $80,000 optional claimers (non-winners of three other than) in the mud at Belmont Park going a mile. He won all four starts last year including the Discovery (G3) in his stakes debut. He got a late start this year with an ankle issue. He figures to be tighter second off the bench, but his price is going to be very much on the light side. He is bred top and bottom to handle a wet track and showed last out he can handle it

Mr. Buff

This guy wired the field to win the state bred Empire Classic last out and looks back on track. He was really good earlier this year beating up on state breds and won the open Jazil. But then he was beaten double digit lengths in two starts in graded stakes company. Those fields came up much tougher than this one did if we do see a few scratches as expected. This guy loves the Big A main track, winning 8 of his 13 trips with three runner up finishes. He also is no slouch on wet tracks, landing in the exacta in 5 of 7 outings.


WIN: Snapper Sinclair to win at 6-1 or better.

EXACTA: 1,3 / 1,3,5,7 and 3 / 1,5,7


NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll

No. Horse Points
1 Flightline 351
2 Life Is Good 306
3 Olympiad 292
4 Jackie's Warrior 282
5 Clairiere 142
5 Country Grammer 142
7 Epicenter 121
8 Regal Glory 89
9 Nest 87
10 Hot Rod Charlie 48
As of August 1, 2022

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