Cigar Mile Handicap (Grade 1)- $750.000 Purse
AQU- For Three Year Olds and Upward
One Mile on the Dirt
December 7, 2019
Splash Mountain will be best known for his successes as a three year old, but he has had a good season this year as well. Four months ago, he won the Whitney, and now he can add a win in the Cigar Mile Handicap. He would be the second choice on the board, but I did not pick him, moreso because of some concerns I had with seeing how other horses coming out of the BC last month had fared in their follow up start. That certainly proved to not be a problem in this first weekend on the new month, both here and at LA. For Splash Mountain, his fifth place finish in the BC Classic is followed up successfully here. It was the first time he raced less then nine furlongs since March 2018. The winning trainer is John Henry, earning his first victory in the race, and it’s the first time that R Bejarano appears on the winner board as well. Congratulations to them! The time of the win was 1:34.30, one of the quickest in the stake’s history. Let’s take a look at it!
(1/4 Mile- :23.02)- From one of the outside posts, Nice Distorted Laff is the fastest out of the gate for Night Rider Stables, and leads Spanky Barn’s Glorious by a length. Splash Mountain, the eventual winner from John Henry, was content to run in the third position, with a good lane to the inside of them, and sitting just off the lead, about two lengths back. To his inside, within a length, he had both Iron Cross (Fractious) and Flamenco Beach (Our Athletes), and Rotten Apple (Nakamura Stables) on the outside. The next six were ran tightly with each other. This pack consisted of Charleys Glance (Maxmillion Farm), Rainstorm (Fractious), Marx On The Moon (Court Jester Racing), Insert The Flirt (Maletto), Machine Gun Tommy (Fractious), and American Phuegoah (The A Stable). For The Boys (D J C Racing Stables) was next, and trailing was Sonador (Night Rider Stables).
(½ Mile- :46.14)- Nice Distorted Laff is showing plenty of ambition on the front end, and opens up by about two lengths. Glorious, who we picked to win on a hunch, did not continue to run with him but was now forced into a four wide position. Splash Mountain crept up to his inside, and seemed to be just waiting for his time to strike. Flamenco Beach and Iron Cross stayed very close, and Rotten Apple was a length ahead of the large pack which continued to run together. You knew something would come out of that pack, but for now, that was still to be determined.
(Top Of Stretch, 1.7F To Go)- Nice Distorted Laff held onto the lead about halfway into the turn, and from there he had enough. The trainer was hoping he could pass the baton to Sonador, but that one still had a ton of ground to make up. Emerging with the lead was now Splash Mountain, and for him to already be in front, knowing he likes to go longer usually, the race may have been over at this point. His lead was already a length. Glorious was right behind him, and still Iron Cross, Flamenco Beach, and Iron Cross were the closest pursuers, but the pack was coming. An ideal lane to follow Splash Mountain through stood right in front of Marx On The Moon, and he would look to capitalize on that. Others were still very much in contention.
(Finish- 1:34.30)- Splash Mountain looked good early in the stretch, but as they got closer to the wire, he was looking like less of a sure thing. Marx On The Moon followed him through to start, but as soon as he could, he moved into a position where he could make a pass, and he would make a great bid. Iron Cross found some more speed in the stretch and American Phuegoah nicely split horses. In the end, though, the former BC Classic champion would be too much, and Splash Mountain gets the win. Marx On The Moon is second, a head in front of Iron Cross. Then, it’s one of those HRP blanket finishes. American Phuegoah prevails in this cluster for the fourth place check. Next are Rotten Apple, Flamenco Beach, For The Boys, Glorious, Sonador, Rainstorm, Charleys Glance and Machine Gun Tommy. All of those were within a length of fourth. Nice Distorted Laff and Insert The Flirt complete the field.
About The Winner- Splash Mountain, trained by John Henry, and ridden to victory by R Bejarano, is a four year old gelding by Ned Isakoff, and is out of Sneaky Alessandra. He was bred in New Jersey as a second quarter two year old by Smokey Stover, and acquired by John Henry in private sales in June 2018. Congratulations to the connections! The win is his seventh in 24 starts, and his fourth graded win, and third Grade 1. His career earnings are now $5,871.660.
Time: :23 :46 1:094 1:341
$2 Mutuel Prices:
$1 Exacta: 4 – 5 Paid 41.90
$1 Trifecta: 4 – 5 – 2 Paid 745.00
Scratched: Its A Laugher, Charlemagnes Command, Pure Gifts
Categories: Grade I, STAKES ARTICLES