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Trainer Jason Servis (left) and owner Gary West lead Maximum Security to the winner's circle after the Cigar Mile.
The last Grade 1 of the New York racing season is the $750,000 Cigar Mile Handicap Presented by NYRA Bets (G1). This 1 mile trip around one turn of the Aqueduct main track for older horses often plays a role in deciding Eclipse Award champions in certain categories. Conditions were typical for late November, with mostly cloudy skies and temperatures in the high 30's, with the main track rated fast and both turf courses rated yielding. Florida Derby (G1) winner and disqualified Kentucky Derby (G1) first place finisher Maximum Security was sent off as the 6-5 favorite in the field of 11, off wins in the Haskell (G1) and Bold Ruler (G3). In to challenge him included 9-4 second choice Spun to Run, winner of the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1), and 17-2 third choice Looking at Bikinis, an allowance winner after finishing 11th in the Travers (G1).
Down the stretch in the Cigar Mile with Maximum Security on the lead
# Horse Jockey Win Place Show 5 Maximum Security Saez 4.60 2.80 2.60 6 Spun to Run Ortiz Jr. 3.40 2.90 11 True Timber Bravo 6.00 Winning Time: 1:36.46 $1 Exacta 5-6 7.20 $1 Trifecta 5-6-11 85.00 $1 Superfecta 5-6-11-9 477.50Results Chart
Left: Maximum Security in the winner's circle. Winning owner Gary West said, "We're talking about a horse that's ran the entire year and only one horse [King for a Day in the Pegasus at Monmouth Park] has crossed the finish line before him. My personal opinion is he ought to be the Three-Year-Old Eclipse Award winner. I don't think anyone has the credentials that he has demonstrated throughout the entire year. He's had setbacks with colic and fought through some things.
Right: Maximum Security heads back to the barn after the race. West added, "It doesn't make up for everything, but it's nice to win a Grade 1 race anywhere and the Cigar Mile is a pretty nice race to win. If the horse comes out of this race fine, then the Pegasus (World Cup) will be his next stop."
Left: Maximum Security walks over before the race. Winning trainer Jason Servis said, "We were concerned. I didn't get up out of the chair until late stretch. This track was very slow today and it was hard to go fast and sustain that. I think it would be hard to not give (3-year-old Eclipse) to him. Even if Omaha Beach wins the Malibu, I don't think his form looks anything like ours. He's undefeated at Gulfstream - 4-for-4. It would be hard not to go (to the Pegasus World Cup).
Right: Maximum Security in the post parade. Winning jockey Luis Saez said, "He's a fighting horse. I knew the other horse [No. 6 Spun to Run] has a lot of speed. I knew we had to fight, so my attitude was let's see what happens. That's what we brought him here to do and we just battled. He felt amazing. When we hit the turn, I knew we had a lot of horse. He gave me everything and it showed. He was amazing."
Left: Second place finisher Spun to Run returns after the race. Winning trainer Juan Carlos Guerrero said, "The race came out like I expected. Maximum Security is a great horse. My horse ran his race, we just couldn't beat him. I'm very proud of my horse. It seemed like we were never going to catch him once Maximum Security got the lead. We had to settle for laying right off of him." Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. added, "He ran great. He just got beat. He got beat by a really nice horse. We are really happy. It was a great trip. I can't complain."
Right: Third place finisher True Timber returns after the race. Jockey Joe Bravo said, "I'm really proud of True Timber. This is where he wants to be, on the outside of horses and watching everybody. I just really expected a faster pace. Maximum Security could be one of the best horses in the country. I take my hat off to him." Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin added, "He tries hard every time. We're very proud of him to be third. He ran very well today."
Spiced Perfection and Saguaro Row duel down the stretch in the Go For Wand
Jockey Javier Castellano sent Spiced Perfection to the lead exiting the chute through fractions of 24.74, 49.09, and 1:14.03 while pressed by Saguaro Row and stalked by Our Super Nova. Turning for home Spiced Perfection continued to lead through 7f in 1:26.25. Kept to task by Castellano, Spiced Perfection drew off late to win by 2 1/4 lengths over Saguaro Row in 1:39.11. It was another 1 1/4 lengths back to Our Super Nova third.
# Horse Jockey Win Place Show 3 Spiced Perfection Castellano 4.80 2.80 ---- 5 Saguaro Row Rosario 3.60 ---- 6 Our Super Nova Alvarado ---- Winning Time: 1:39.11 $1 Exacta 3-5 8.40 $1 Trifecta 3-5-6 26.00 $1 Superfecta 3-5-6-1 81.70Results Chart
Left: Spiced Perfection in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Peter Miller said, "She's really an amazing little filly. I spoke with Adam Wachtel [co-owner] and we were contemplating [strategy]. She's never on the lead. Do we see if someone else wants the lead? That's initially the way we were leaning. She's just the fastest horse in the race, and why mess around? She's either going to get the distance or she's not. We decided to let her take the lead and see if she would relax. Javier is a Hall of Famer and gave a great ride."
Right: Spiced Perfection heads back to the barn. Winning jockey Javier Castellano said, "A mile was going to be a little long for her, but we took advantage today with no speed in the race. We dictated the pace and that was the key to winning the race. She did it very easily the first part of the race and had something left for the end. In the backstretch, I gave her a little breather. At the three-eighths pole, when everybody attacked me, I didn't open up because it would cost me at the end. I went with the breather and with the momentum and I think it paid off today."
Left: Second place finisher Saguaro Row in the post parade. Jockey Joel Rosario said, "She broke just a little bit slow. The pace was slow and I ended up being close to the pace. She handled everything fine. I thought I had a good chance to win, but [Spiced Perfection] just kept on going. [Saguaro Row] tried hard."
Right: Third place finisher Our Super Nova returns after the race. The Charlton Baker trainee improved her record to 6 wins, 4 seconds, and 3 thirds in 20 starts, earning $340,945 for owners Michael Foster, Charlton Baker, and Lauren Linn.
Shotski leads in the stretch in the Remsen Stakes
Jockey Luis Saez sent 9-1 Shotski to the lead first time by and he set fractions of 24.26, 50.08, and 1:15.19 while pressed by 22-1 Prince James and stalked by Chase Tracker. Turning for home, Shotski opened up a 3 1/2 length lead through 1 mile in 1:41.10. Ajaaweed, 6th early under Joel Rosario, came out 4 wide for his rally but Shotski held him off to win by 1/2 a length in 1:54.24. It was a long 3 3/4 lengths back to Chase Tracker third, while favorite Alpha Sixty Six checked in 6th.
# Horse Jockey Win Place Show 6 Shotski Saez 19.60 7.80 4.80 4 Ajaaweed Rosario 5.40 3.80 1 Chase Tracker Castellano 4.70 Winning Time: 1:54.24 $1 Exacta 6-4 54.00 $1 Trifecta 6-4-1 281.00 $1 Superfecta 6-4-1-5 3,118.00Results Chart
Left: Shotski in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Jeremiah O'Dwyer said, "He's a very laid back horse so I knew he would relax with no problem. Luis said that he did everything right. He doesn't do any more than he's asked, but when you ask him he's there for you. I'm just so blessed to have owners like Adam, Gary [Barber] and other stables that buy into horses we have and leave them with me. It gives me, as a young trainer, confidence in myself. Our other owner, Mike Karty, gave us a leg up and gave us money to go to the sale and buy young horses. He broke his maiden at six furlongs, so we know he has speed as well. He has the right demeanor for racing. He just does what you ask him to do and he has some talent on top of that as well.
Right: Shotski heads back to the barn after the race. Winning jockey Luis Saez said, "I knew it was important to get position coming into today. I knew he had speed and he broke well. We were able to break on top and he just did it so easy. He really came into this race in good shape and was fit."
Left: Second place finisher Ajaaweed heads out to the track before the race. Jockey Joel Rosario said, "He ran well. He dropped back in the middle and I had to get after him and ride him a little. He was responding really well in the end. We just couldn't get to the winner. He has talent. He finished really well the last part. We'll see what he's got going forward."
Right: Third place finisher Chase Tracker returns after the race. The Todd Pletcher trainee improved his record to 1 win and 2 seconds in 3 starts, earning $93,000 for owner St. Elias Stable.
Left: Sixth place finisher and beaten favorite Alpha Sixty Six in the paddock before the race. The Todd Pletcher trainee has a record of 1 win, 0 seconds, and 0 thirds in 3 starts, earning $63,125 for owner Paul Pompa Jr.
Right: The horses break from the gate for the Remsen.
The fillies break from the gate in the Demoiselle
Jockey Junior Alvarado sent Lake Avenue to the lead first time by and she set fractions of 24.70, 50.76, and 1:15.93 while pressed by 9-2 fourth choice Critical Value and stalked by 10-1 Blame Debbie. Entering the lane, Lake Avenue opened up on the field by 3 lengths through 1 mikle in 1:41.35. Kept to task by Alvarado, Lake Avenue cruised the rest of the way to win by 4 lengths over late-runnng favorite Maedean in 1:54.55. It was a neck back to Blame Debbie third.
# Horse Jockey Win Place Show 12 Lake Avenue Alvarado 10.80 5.70 4.90 2 Maedean Saez 4.40 3.60 9 Blame Debbie Castellano 6.20 Winning Time: 1:54.55 $1 Exacta 12-2 26.75 $1 Trifecta 12-2-9 164.00 $1 Superfecta 12-2-9-6 709.50Results Chart
Left: Lake Avenue in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Bill Mott said, "We thought this would be the logical start for her today to see how she would get along going nine furlongs, and then that would give us some indication on where she wants to go next year. "She has a lot of natural speed and if Junior had held her anymore, I think he would've had to fight with her a little bit. Nobody bolted to the lead and I think we would've been fine if somebody opened up on us and we were laying second or third. It didn't work out that way, and it looked like she relaxed nicely down the backside. She was hawking around through the stretch. She's a little green, but it appeared she had a little more in the tank."
Right: Lake Avenue heads back to the barn after the race. Winning jockey Junior Alvarado said, "She tried to break through the gate when they loaded, and then at the break, she hopped a little bit. It wasn't the greatest start, but she has natural speed and Bill said to not take away anything that comes easily. After that she recovered quickly and put herself in a good spot. I was just along for the ride after that. She has too much class. She recovered quickly. I was supposed to get out of there running. Top-three was ideal. I guess no one from the inside really wanted to go. I just kept going along with it."
Left: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Maedean returns after the race. Trainer Mark Hennig said, "I didn't think she got the greatest trip. The first turn kind of put her in a bad spot and she was kind of stuck there while they walked the dog. We would've loved to see more pace, obviously. From here, she'll be headed south."
Right: Third place finisher Blame Debbie walks over before the race. Adrian Rolls, assistant to trainer Graham Motion said, "It was good. I'm very pleased. I thought she was a bit unlucky. I wish she could've gotten second, but that was a good effort - a Grade 2. She handled the distance well. The track was maybe a little deep, but it was a good effort." Jockey Javier Castellano said, "I like the way she did it today, her first time going two turns. She broke well out of the gate. She got good position in the race. I like the way she finished, almost got to second place. I'm very satisfied with the way she did it today."
Saratoga Treasure wins the Autumn Days Stakes
Left: Saratoga Treasure in the winner's circle. Winning trainer David Donk said, "It was a jump up in class, but she really likes the ground and she's certainly on the improve. Her last three races were real good coming into today, and she ran to it. She really is [consistent]. Jose [Ortiz] did a great job with her in her previous races. He got her back off the pace and it looks like that's what she wants to do. Eric [Cancel] gave her a great ride. I thought he might have moved a little too soon, but he said he had too much horse and it was time to go." Jockey Eric Cancel added, "She seems to like the track the way that it is. I tried not to get in her way. I just tried to find the right spot for her and make one big run."
Right: Fourth place finisher and beaten favorite Fire Key in the paddock before the race. The Jim Ryerson trainee has a record of 9 wins, 10 seconds, and 2 thirds in 34 starts, earning $743,785 for owner-breeder Backwards Stable.
Feel Glorious wins the Winter Memories Stakes
Left: Feel Glorious in the winner's circle. Christophe Lorieul, assistant to winning trainer Christophe Clement said, "Feel Glorious found an opening on the inside and (stablemate) Sorrentina Lemon was able to find her way on the outside. They both finished very well and we're very happy with the result to pick up some black type. This is a nice win to wrap up the year here with Feel Glorious. She actually started her campaign here winning a stake [Memories of Silver on April 19]. It's great for Mr. Reeves to have that filly and she's run in every dance this year, and she ran against some tough company but she's a [good] filly.
Right: Feel Glorious heads back to the barn. Winning jockey Junior Alvarado said, "She broke good. We got shuffled back a little bit coming out of the chute in the first part, but I still thought she was travelling well. We were six lengths behind the leader, and I was told to be about mid-pack. I was probably a little farther back than they wanted, but she was travelling well. She started picking it up and we were just waiting for room to open up. I knew I had a lot of horse. When we turned for home, the hole opened up at the rail and she never hesitated. She went through and finished very strong for me."
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