2013 Cigar Mile Handicap

Aqueduct’s Cigar Mile

CigarThe 2013 Grade 1 $500,000 Cigar Mile Handicap is the 8th race on the card at Aqueduct on Saturday. Named in honor of Hall of Fame horse Cigar, the Cigar Mile is for 3 year olds and up. Cigar won this race back in 1994 when it was known as the NYRA Mile. In that race Cigar won by 7 lengths over favorite Devil His Due and paid $19.80 for the win. He was such a fantastic horse that he didn’t lose again for almost 2 years, running 2nd in the Pacific Classic in ‘96! Needless to say Cigar was one of the all-time greats and is worthy of having the race named in his honor. This year we have a great match-up between several contenders and hopefully we’ll see some of the magic cigar left on the track that day back in ’94.

Grade 1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct

One of the big discussions surrounding this race is Goldencents entry in an effort to persuade voters that he is the best 3 year old. Here is what owner Glenn Sorgenstein had to say about his horse-


“We believe we have the best 3-year-old in the country. We won a Breeders’ Cup race. We didn’t finish second. He looked like he didn’t run the night of the race. He looked like he didn’t run the day after the race. He’s been full of energy and ready to go to the track.”


GoldencentsI won’t harp on my reasons for why I think Will Take Charge is the deserving horse no matter how he fairs in the Clark, because obviously we love WTC on this site. But I do find it odd that Goldencents’ connections didn’t put him in a race that would help prove their case. Why wasn’t he placed in the BC Classic? Why not place him in the Clark this Friday? As a Breeders’ Cup winner he stands a chance at a winners’ share of a $1,ooo,ooo purse as opposed to a Grade 1 winners’ share of $750,000. So that probably has more to do with it than trying to make a run at 3 year old of the year, but that’s just my opinion.  That and the fact that a mile suits this horse much better than a longer distance. I do believe Goldencents has a legitimate shot in this one, but it’s definitely going to be a challenge.

Groupie DollThe other hot talk here is that Groupie Doll has entered into the race.  Fresh out of her win in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint she went to auction and many believed she was done with her racing career. Instead, her new owners have decided to run her in the Cigar Mile before starting her breeding career and honestly, I don’t blame them. Groupie Doll is just as ready for this race as Goldencents and may very well spank the youngster on principle. Groupie Doll will get a lot of play from the public, but one that I think will be overlooked and ripe for a wager is the other story in this Cigar mile- Verrazano. Verrazano ran 4th in the BC Dirt Mile letting down his fans enough that they have probably jumped onto the Goldencents band wagon, but bettor beware! It would be a huge mistake to let Verrazano fly under the radar here. Just to put it in perspective, remember when it was announced before his 4th place finish in the BC Dirt Mile that it was going to be his last race? VerrazanoHe was going to stand at Ashford for the 2014 Breeding Season and retire from racing after the BC Dirt Mile? I’m sure the Ashford deal still stands, but a win here will make him much more valuable and he is fully capable of doing it. Whether he does or not… we’ll see.  If stories like the 3 above formed the magical puzzle to pulling in trifectas, we would have one here with Goldencents, Groupie Doll and Verrazano. But that would also mean excluding top-notch picks like… well let’s say pretty much the rest of the field! There is quite a bit of front-end speed in this one including Flat Out, Goldencents, Verrazano, Clearly Now, Saratoga Snacks and Private Zone. I think this will give horses like Groupie Doll and Laugh Track the advantage in this one. I think it will go down with Groupie Doll for the win, Verrazano a close second and Laugh Track third. Nothing against Goldencents who may show me up here, but I believe Verrazano is due and will best Goldencents in this one. Good luck!



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Mike Jr, eldest son of Mike Lane Sr, is co-lead author at and was raised on thoroughbred horse racing and handicapping. Although father and son often butt heads on their selections, they both have much love and admiration for the sport. Mike Jr. brings a new, fresh perspective to horse racing and is often in search of new angles to try.

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