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2013 Cigar Mile Handicap; Who’s Gonna Smoke-Up The Track?

2013 Cigar Mile Handicap (GI); Who’s Gonna Smoke-Up The Track?

This year’s edition of the 2013 Cigar Mile (GI) looks to be highly competitive with 11 superstar horses ready to run in the $500,000 race at Aqueduct in Queens, New York this Saturday, November 30th. The Cigar Mile Handicap is named in honor of the U.S. Hall of Fame horse Cigar, who won the race in 1994 when it was known as the NYRA Mile and was renamed in 1997 following Cigar’s retirement. The race is for three-year olds and up run at the distance of one mile on the dirt. In 2005, Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms of Lexington, Kentucky became the race’s title sponsor. UPDATED RESULTS

Verrazano 2013 Cigar Mile

With 8-1 morning line odds, Verrazano and jockey Javier Castellano will break from post position #10 in the 2013 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct.

The speed record for the Cigar Mile is held by Discreet Cat ran at 1:32.46 in 2006. The most wins by a jockey are five by Jerry Bailey in 1994, 1998, 2000, 2002 & 2003. The most wins by a trainer are four by Todd Pletcher in 2001, 2004, 2005 & 2012 with Stay Thirsty who barely nudged out Groupie Doll, who is back this year to take on the boys. The only horse to win this race twice is Congaree in 2002 & 2003.

Any previous Grade 1 winner who competes in the Cigar Mile will race for a gross purse of $750,000. Should a winner of any Breeders’ Cup race from any year take part, he or she would be running for a purse of $1 million. This in my opinion is quite the incentive and a reason why this year’s field is much larger than last years. Compared to last year’s field of five, this year looks to be quite tough.

The 2013 Cigar Mile is the 8th race of the day set to post at 3:30 pm, EST.

My pick to win in this race is the 3 year-old Street Boss son, Capo Bastone. The Todd Pletcher trainee is coming off a 13th place finish in the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint ran at 6 1/2 furlongs down the Santa Anita hill where he was in good position chasing the pace on the outside around the final turn and weakened into the stretch. Prior to this race he hadn’t raced since August 24th where he won the King’s Bishop Stakes (GI) at Saratoga going 7F on the dirt. In that race he lacked early speed but rode the inside early, closed with a rush on the outside to storm by the runner-up to win. He has a race record of 10:3-2-1. On November 17th he worked 4F at Belmont on the dirt breezing in 47.66, 1/128 and on November 23rd he worked 4F breezing on dirt at Belmont in 48:87, 27/122.

Two others I’d consider are Verrazano, a router and Private Zone, a sprinter. They were going to retire Verrazano but entered him here for some reason and he’s blown up the track a few times this year. He does have the huge win at Aqueduct in the Wood Memorial so he’s got the experience on this track and I’m not leaving him out of an exacta. With the “Todd Squad” angle in here, I smell trouble and he could go out with a big bang in the Cigar.

Groupie Doll 2013 Cigar Mile

Groupie Doll will be heavily bet in the 2013 Cigar Mile. The five-year-old mare takes on a tough field of colts and geldings at Aqueduct.
Photo: Julie Ward

Then you have the two O’Neill shippers in Goldencents and Private Zone. Private Zone is out of Macho Uno, and has a few notches on his saddle with a (GI) Vosburgh win September 28th at Belmont. I think he could also have a big run up his sleeve Saturday and hit the board.

Groupie Doll could run huge here but I think she’ll be overbet and I’m not going there. She lost by a nose to Stay Thirsty in this race last year and this is a much tougher field.

I don’t know but I’m tossed on this one. Go for a sprinter or go for a router/miler? History says router/miler so of course I’m going with the sprinter. Capo Bastone, who seemed to have long failed to tap his potential, hit it in the King’s Bishop and I’m looking for Capo Bastone to take the 2013 Cigar Mile. This guy will be looking for his first win against older males and he’s kind of an enigma for me as I can’t quite figure him out. After his win in the King’s Bishop on the dirt, I was in double shock they ran him in the Breeders’ Cup on the turf. However, in horseracing stranger things have happened. He’s won at 1 1/16 and 7F so I think the mile will suit him just fine. I’m glad to see him back on the dirt and with the workouts he’s been having, hopefully he’ll have some nice odds and win this race and I think Pletcher will have him ready to roll. Good luck to all and Happy Hoofs’.

Related Links:
What to Wear to the Cigar Mile

2013 Cigar Mile Handicap Post Positions & Odds
1. Praetereo 30-1 D.Cohen/D.Jacobson
2. Forty Tales 10-1 J.Rosario/T.Pletcher
3. Clearly Now 5-1 J.Lezcano/B.Lynch
4. Groupie Doll 3-1 R. Maraghj/W.Bradley
5. Laugh Track 12-1 M.Smith/M.Casse
6. Capo Bastone 20-1 I.Ortiz Jr./T.Pletcher
7. Saratoga Snacks 12-1 J.Ortiz/G.Sciacca
8. Goldencents 7-2 R.Bejarano/D.O’Neill
9. Flat Out 6-1 J.Alvarado/W.Mott
10. Verrazano 8-1 J.Castellano/T.Pletcher
11. Private Zone 15-1 M.Pedroza/D.O’Neill

History Lesson: Who thinks the horse Cigar was named after the tobacco product and for that matter, what brand? Cigar was named not for the tobacco product, but for a navigational intersection for airplanes. The owner of Cigar, Allen Paulson, was a major figure in American aviation who had owned the Gulfstream Aerospace Coporation which manufactured the famous Gulfstream private business jets. He named many of his horses after the five-letter-long names given to intersections on aeronautical navigational charts.