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Saffie Joseph 1000 wins
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Jockey John Velazquez and Hoist the Gold return after the Cigar Mile.
The last major stakes of the New York racing season is the $500,000 Cigar Mile Handicap (G2). 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 early December, with fog and mist, temperatures in the low 50's, and the track downgraded to muddy after rain Friday evening. Everso Mischievous was sent off as the lukewarm 11-4 favorite in the field of 12 off wins in the Harrods Creek at Churchill Downs and the Forty Niner (G2) at Aqueduct. In to challenge him included 7-2 second choice Senor Buscador, 7th in the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) after finishing third in the Awesome Again (G1) at Santa Anita, and 4-1 third choice Accretive, second in the Vosburgh (G2) before finishing a close third in the Forty Niner.
Down the stretch in the Cigar Mile.
Jockey John Velazquez sent Hoist the Gold to the lead exiting the chute and he set fractions of 22.41, 44.88, and 1:09.04 while pressed by 19-1 Pipeline and stalked by 15-1 Coastal Mission and 32-1 Castle Chaos. Turning for home, Hoist the Gold left the field in his wake, opening up a 5 length lead through 7f in 1:21.31. Kept to task by Velazquez, Hoist the Gold cruised to a 4 1/2 length win over late-running Senor Buscador in 1:34.28. It was another 4 1/4 lengths back to Castle Chaos third, while favorite Everso Mischievous sat 8th early and failed to rally finishing 11th beaten 26 lengths.
# Horse Jockey Win Place Show 11 Hoist the Gold Velazquez 19.40 7.10 5.70 3 Senor Buscador Alvarado 4.90 3.60 9 Castle Chaos Davis 12.00 Winning Time: 1:34.28 $1 Exacta 11-3 30.50 $1 Trifecta 11-3-9 546.60 $1 Superfecta 11-3-9-7 2,733.00Results Chart
Left: Hoist the Gold in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Dallas Stewart said, "What a race. Johnny [Velazquez] picked the right race for us. He told us at Breeders' Cup the horse doesn't like dirt in his face. He said, 'just let me ride him the way I want - run him a mile at Aqueduct and he won't get beat.' He was 100 percent right. At the 1/8 pole, he kicked in another gear and got in front of them some more. He made that separation and that's the sign of a good horse."
Right: The trophy presentation for the Cigar Mile. Winning jockey John Velazquez said, "In the Breeders' Cup [Sprint], Mikey [Smith, aboard Speed Boat Beach] was in the middle of the track there and I'm stuck in between them, and everybody got together. I start hitting him and he just went and backed out of there. He didn't stop and then he galloped out really good. I said, 'man, the mile race in New York is coming up good for him. Even if he doesn't break, he's going to be close to the pace.' I thought this horse can do it over here."
Hoist the Gold walks over before the race. Velazquez added, "Right before the quarter pole, I didn't feel anybody around me. I was like, 'man, they're going to have to really run because I know when he switch the lead, he goes on again. I didn't feel anybody, but I made him switch the lead and made sure he keep his mind running, because when he gets to the stretch, he runs but he gets out at the same time. I had to keep him busy as well."
Stewart added, "I just hate that they took the Grade 1 away, but he showed he's a good horse and we'll take the $500,000 and head down the road. I was looking for the wire somewhere down the road, but he was just unbelievable. It was great. That was pretty special. We'll have to get together with the owners and talk about it. He'll head to Kentucky for a week's rest and then come to Fair Grounds."
Left: Second place finisher Senor Buscador returns after the race. Jockey Junior Alvarado said, "The track was against him today and he still ran a hell of a race. When I picked it up at the 3/8 pole, I'm trying to see if I can find any room somewhere in the middle, inside because I knew I already had too much to do. But there was nothing, then I swing him outside and knew the winner was already ten lengths. He ran a great race, with a little bit more of a firm track he would've put up a good fight at the end for sure."
Right: Third place finisher Castle Chaos walks over before the race. Jockey Dylan Davis said, "I was just trying to mimic the last race and get into stalking position, but then a lot of them got in a tough spot on the inside. I was able to be in a great spot and my horse got into a great rhythm across the chute. He laid third and he really responded for us. I was really surprised, but he ran great here in a tough spot. The [Robert] Falcone team did a great job."
Dornoch (inside) duels with Sierra Leone in the Remsen Stakes
Jockey Luis Saez sent Dornoch to the lead first time by and he set fractions of 23.09, 46.97, and 1:11.56 while pressed by 28-1 Billal and stalked by 27-1 Private Desire. Turning for home Sierra Leone, last early under Jose Ortiz, came out 7 wide for his rally and gained a short lead through 1 mile in 1:37.42. However Dornoch fought back in the final strides to get up by a nose in 1:50.30. It was another 4 3/4 lengths back to 8-1 Drum Roll Please third.
# Horse Jockey Win Place Show 3 Dornoch Saez 5.40 3.50 3.10 7 Sierra Leone Ortiz Jr. 5.50 3.70 5 Drum Roll Please Castellano 3.90 Winning Time: 1:50.30 $1 Exacta 3-7 18.80 $1 Trifecta 1-7-5 90.00 $1 Superfecta 1-7-5-8 304.00Results Chart
Left: Dornoch in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Luis Saez said, "When he kind of feels a little alone, he was a little lost. As soon as [Sierra Leone] came to him, he saw him and he want to beat him. I can't describe this. He wants to win the race. It was pretty good fractions. I had everyone on top right there, but he was pretty comfortable. When he has pressure, he's OK, but when he feels alone, he kind of look around. But he's learning. Today was a pretty tough race, and he proved that he's a pretty good horse."
Right: The trophy presentation for the Remsen Stakes. Winning trainer Danny Gargan said, ""He's a big, big horse. We are going to give him some time off and take him down to Palm Meadows, kind of like Nick Zito taught me when I was his assistant. We will tack walk him for a couple weeks, two to three weeks, play around with him, let him grow into that frame and start looking for races later, probably sometime in March. Two races, maybe three before the Derby."
Left: Second place finisher Sierra Leone returns after the race. Jockey Jose Ortiz said, "He broke good, they went plenty fast. He just sit there, he was relaxed. I make a move at the 1/2 mile and he responded nicely. He was lugging in a little bit in the stretch and [Dornoch] looked like he was waiting. When he felt me, he came back. I think it was a good race from [Sierra Leone]. My horse kept coming. He ran a bit greenly, but I'm proud of him. It was a big step up. He was running so good to the other horses, and I didn't want to get him stopped. So, I went wide with him."
Right: Third place finisher Drum Roll Please walks over before the race. Jockey Javier Castellano said, "I loved my trip. I liked the way he did it. He stepped up in class and did it very professionally. He ran two turns for the first time, I liked the way he did it from the beginning until the end. He passed horses, was behind horses, took dirt in the face, was a great experience for him, especially with a lot of horses and a lot of kickback. It was very nice and professional."
Life Talk draws off in the Demoiselle
Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. sent Life Talk to the lead first time by and she set easy fractions of 24.10, 48.65, and 1:13.10 while pressed by 9-1 Most of All and stalked by 10-1 Vino Rouge. Entering the stretch Life Talk opened up a 2 length lead through 1 mile in 1:38.12. Kept to task by Ortiz, Life Talk drew off to win by 3 3/4 lengths over late-running Shimmering Allure in 1:51.10. It was a length back to 17-2 fourth choice Dolomite third.
# Horse Jockey Win Place Show 3 Life Talk Ortiz Jr. 4.00 2.90 2.50 7 Shimmering Allure Alvarado 4.60 3.10 2 Dolomite Franco 4.10 Winning Time: 1:51.10 $1 Exacta 3-7 8.70 $1 Trifecta 3-7-2 42.74 $1 Superfecta 3-7-2-4 247.50Results Chart
Left: Life Talk in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. said, "Not that much speed in the race so the way she break, I said I'm going to take the lead, so I'm going to let her do her thing and I don't want to fight too much with her. So relaxed waiting for me, 3/8 pole, I got nobody around and I feel like I still have plenty. I don't call her yet, I don't even move my hands on her and as soon as I did, she took off, she responded. It is great to see her back in this performance, because it was a great race [in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies], because she ran so good to get beat last time."
Right: Trophy presentation for the Demoiselle Stakes. Amelia Green, assistant to winning trainer Todd Pletcher said, "Obviously, [the good break] was all Irad, and Todd coming up with a game plan. With how the track's playing today, you need to get position and like Irad said, she warmed up good and he made the most of it. No one else wanted the lead, so he made the most of that situation. She seemed happy out there and did everything very professionally. She's only been here a few weeks, but she's been very professional. She's well-traveled now having traveled to California and back. She's used to doing this now and I think she thoroughly enjoys it, as you can see with how she was running out there. It's nice to win one like this."
Left: Second place finisher Shimmering Allure returns after the race. Jockey Junior Alvarado said, "I kind of had to break out of there and put her a bit closer - then I could've saved around the first turn. Coming into the second turn, I didn't have any chance to go on the inside. I had to keep going very wide. She was very good today. She broke good, I asked her a little bit and she put herself very close. Normally she has been running a little bit off the pace from behind and when she put herself in that position, I decided to stay there that close with her since the track is playing a little fast today. She never gave up, she kept digging in all the way through the wire."
Right: Third place finisher Dolomite walks over before the race. Jockey Manny Franco said, "My filly ran really well. I was happy with my trip. I was stalking and followed the winner the whole way, I was just third best. The winner was much the best."
Dr B draws off in the Go For Wand
Jockey Jose Lezcano sent 4-1 fourth choice Dr B to the lead out of the chute through fractions of 22.56, 45.06, and 1:09.78 while pressed by Gerrymander and stalked by Tizzy in the Sky. Turning for home Gerrymander tired allowing Dr B to open a 4 length lead through 7f in 1:22.69. Kept to task by Lezcano, Dr B cruised to a 3 3/4 length win over Tizzy in the Sky in 1:36.49. It was a length back to 9-1 longest shot Venti Valentine third.
# Horse Jockey Win Place Show 2 Dr B Lezcano 10.40 4.50 3.00 5 Tizzy in the Sky Saez 3.70 2.70 3 Venti Valentine Franco 3.50 Winning Time: 1:36.49 $1 Exacta 2-5 15.70 $1 Trifecta 2-5-3 57.00 $1 Superfecta 2-5-3-7 107.00Results Chart
Left: Dr B in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Butch Reid said, "To hold her form that long – we gave her some time off after this race last year – it's just great that she's still maintaining this level of competition to be able to compete at this level. She's just been an iron mare from the day we got her and has held that way so far. The track's playing to speed and she likes the track very much, a track just like this – a little moisture on the track, close to the same track last year, I believe. It worked out well. We were kind of looking forward to maybe breeding her in the spring, but I don't know if this changes plans or not."
Right: The trophy presentation for the Go For Wand. Winning jockey Jose Lezcano said, I looked at this race and it looked like she'd like this kind of track today, the way the race is. Broke good, I put her right there, set down and win the race. Yes it was moving, you know, but I think she is a very nice filly. She ran hard the whole way around. She was very comfortable the first half and I started asking a little bit, but she did pretty good for the whole way almost around."
Dr B returns after the race. Reid added, "We have our eye on the Barbara Fritchie [at Laurel Park] as maybe one of her big dates we'd like to see. We'll need a race somewhere in between there and here, so [Interborough Stakes is] a definite possibility."
Left: Second place finisher Tizzy in the Sky walks over before the race. Jockey Luis Saez said, "I thought we were going to be on the lead, but it seemed like when she broke from there, she didn't really want to do nothing. I had to be after her the whole way, but she kept coming. When we got to the top of the stretch she gave me a little run, but I don't know, I feel like she needs to go more distance."
Right: Third place finisher Venti Valentine returns after the race. The Jorge Abreu trainee improved her record to 6 wins, 2 seconds, and 4 thirds in 16 starts, earning $701,600 for owners NY Final Furlong Racing Stable and Parkland Thoroughbreds.
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