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Owner Charles Fipke gives Jersey Town a kiss after winning the Cigar Mile
The final Grade 1 race of the New York racing season is the $250,000 Hill 'N' Dale Cigar Mile Handicap (G1), featuring older horses going 1 mile around 1 turn of the Aqueduct main track. A field of 9 (with 8 betting interests) went to post on Saturday before 6,723 fans, on an overcast day with temperatures in the lower 40's. Bribon, last year's runner-up, was sent off as the 3-1 favorite off his win in the Bold Ruler Handicap (G3) at Belmont Park. In to challenge him included 7-2 second choice Musket Man, cutting back in distance after finishing 7th in the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1), and the 2-horse Godolphin Racing entry of Girolamo and Vineyard Haven, at 37-10. Girolamo was 11th in the Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) while Vineyard Haven exits a 6th place finish in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1).
Haynesfield leads in the stretch with Jersey Town making his run on the outside
Vineyard Haven battled for the early lead with 4-1 fourth choice Haynesfield through fast fractions of 22.69, 45.21, and 1:09.78, with 35-1 longest shot Jersey Town stalking the pacesetters in third down the backstretch. Entering the stretch, Vineyard Haven tired allowing Jersey Town and Haynesfield to duel to the line, hooking up at the 3/16 pole. After an extended battle, Jersey Town poked his head in front in the final strides to get the win in 1:34.43 over the fast main track. It was just 1/2 a length back to Girolamo third, while late-running favorite Bribon finished another 1 3/4 lengths back in fourth.
# Horse Jockey Win Place Show 5 Jersey Town Velasquez 71.50 25.80 9.50 4 Haynesfield Castellano 6.60 4.70 1 Girolamo Garcia 3.10 Winning Time: 1:34.43 $2 Exacta (5-4) paid 461.70 $2 Trifecta (5-4-1) paid 2,298.00Results Chart
Left: Jersey Town in the winner's circle with trainer Barclay Tagg on the left and owner Charles Fipke holding his head. Tagg said, "It was a miracle. What was he, 34-1? I liked him, I just didn't think the race would come up that tough. Mr. (owner Charles) Fipke had him out west, and wanted to go to the Breeders' Cup. I talked him out of that, and said the Cigar Mile would be a lot easier, and it's still a Grade 1. Then the race came up so tough, and I thought we made a mistake. He was doing well, so we were happy with that. He's all business. He just goes out there with his game face on every day. No fooling around, just does everything the way you like a horse to do. I have no idea what's next; hopefully, we'll keep him around for a little bit."
Right: Charles Fipke leads Jersey Town into the winner's circle.
Left: Jersey Town heads out to the track before the race. His jockey Cornelio Velasquez said, "When I asked my horse, he passed the other horses. Today, he wanted to win. The other horse (Haynesfield), he ran a big one too. My horse is a very good horse."
Right: Second place finisher Haynesfield in the post parade. His jockey Javier Castellano said, "I'm really happy with my horse. He didn't want to get beat today. I'm really so proud of him, and every time I asked him he responded so well and didn't want to give up."
Left: Third place finisher Girolamo in the paddock before the race. The 37-10 second choice raced midpack 4th early, 3 lengths off the pace under jockey Alan Garcia, then rallied to get 3rd beaten just 1/2 a length. The Saeed bin Suroor trainee improved his record to 5 wins, 0 seconds, and 1 third in 11 starts, earning $443,800 for owner Godolphin Racing.
Right: Fourth place finisher and beaten favorite Bribon in the post parade. His trainer Todd Pletcher said, "I thought he ran well and tried hard; he just came up a little flat the last 1/16 mile." Jockey John Velazquez added, "I got a perfect trip behind the leader and I thought it'd be a repeat of his last race, but he just didn't fire."
No Such Word starts to draw away in the stretch
Jockey John Velazquez sent Awesome Maria to the lead immediately and she set slow early fractions of 24.60, 49.90, and 1:13.57 while being pressed by 9-1 Belle of the Hall and 8-1 Quiet Temper down the backstretch. On the turn, Awesome Maria continued to lead as Belle of the Hall tired and faded to last. No Such Word, who stalked the pacesetters in 4th early, came out 4 wide into the lane to take over the lead at the 3/16 pole, drawing off late to win by 2 1/2 lengths over Awesome Maria in 1:51.05. It was another 2 1/2 lengths back to 17-1 Seeking the Title third.
# Horse Jockey Win Place Show 8 No Such Word Thompson 5.60 3.10 2.30 1 Awesome Maria Velazquez 3.70 2.80 7 Seeking the Title Maragh 5.00 Winning Time: 1:51.05 $2 Exacta (8-1) paid 20.60 $2 Trifecta (8-1-7) paid 112.00 $2 Superfecta (8-1-7-6) paid 818.00Results Chart
Right: No Such Word in the paddock before the race. Her jockey Terry Thompson said, "We knew today she'd probably lay a little closer. She puts herself where she wants to be. If there's pace in the race, she'll be off it, and if not, she'll be on it. (The Remington Park Oaks) was going to be our last race for the year and she got a lower number out of it, but what people don't realize that I just let her gallop around there. That's why we pointed for this one. The next day she was tearing the barn down, and Cindy did a good job of getting her ready."
Left: Second place finisher Awesome Maria returns after the race. Her trainer Todd Pletcher said, "I thought she ran well. It looks like we were just second-best on the day, but it was a good effort." Jockey John Velazquez added, "I'm very proud of her. I put her on the lead and she kept fighting. The other horse was just a little better. If she can focus a little more, she'll be OK."
Right: Third place finisher Seeking the Title returns after the race. The 17-1 shot raced in 5th early 4 lengths off the pace under jockey Rajiv Maragh, saved ground around both turns, and closed late to get 3rd beaten 5 lengths. The Dallas Stewart trainee improved her record to 2 wins, 1 second, and 2 thirds in 11 starts, earning $251,237 for owner-breeder Charles Fipke.
Also n the card were the Remsen and Demoiselle Stakes.
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