The Cigar Mile Handicap – Grade I
AQU Race #5 1m Dirt Graded Stake
Purse $750.000 For Three Year Olds And Upward.
1 Boardwalk Nakamura Stables Court J K 119
Put a horse from Nakamura stables in gate one in a big race with a few fast works to its name then we are guaranteed that it will be competitive. To say it will probably lead may be presumptuous but many of the stables runners do look for the lead so we may well see this one going for that out of the gate and as long as the wide gate speed push doesn’t kick in then it may be deemed likely. So can he last home? Well a close fourth in the Met Handicap from a wide draw and some pretty good lead up form says he will be very competitive and he gets a handy enough weight.
2 Stolen D J C Racing Stables Bahen S R 118
Gets in light and has some good form including a close fifth in the Whitney. His form looks a bit inconsistent because the stable likes to move them around trips and surfaces but over all it doesn’t look out of place in a race like this. The works are certainly in the ball park especially with the advantage of a low weight and the best draw in the game so i expect this one to slot in just behind the speed and make a nuisance of himself down the stretch.
3 When Your Strange Maxmillion Farm Moran D 117
Maxmillion has a couple of runners here and this is the lowest weighted of the two with just 117Lbs. A consistent sort this year he has run in a few handicaps and done pretty well grabbing pay cheques in the Ack Ack Handicap last time as well as the Fleet Sprint and the Fools Handicap. More of a sprinter he tackled the mile last time and did OK but it has to be said his form doesn’t stand out as well as some. His speed will bother some as there are a few here dropping back in trip but i can’t see him being a winning chance, each way best.
4 Pxg Mb Stables Hernandez R M 118
This five year old has run in grade ones before but hasn’t as yet made a big splash. He has spent 18 months since his last attempt picking up some good over night races and a state bred stakes so he is clearly operating at a good level without being really tested. Of course being from Mb Stables he put in a very quick mile work last time and this stable is a master of setting a strong work and then pulling off a big win so you have to be wary of him even though from a lesser stable his form wouldn’t look good enough.
5 Dutty John Crow Night Rider Stables Saez L 120
As a three year old he is very badly off in this handicap but make no mistake he is a class horse and just maybe now the BC is out of the way the three year olds have finally been given their boost to catch up with the older horses. Came good in the OK Derby and then ran an absolute each to be third in the BC Dirt Mile. I can’t see a three year old winning this on how this year has gone but this is a nice horse who may just surprise me.
6 Milford Sound Mwn Racing Arrieta F 118
This one has been around a while and has always looked like he may be brilliant without quite stringing performances together. Mainly known as a sprinter he has run pretty well over a mile so i don’t think that will be a problem. A good winner of a six furlong ungraded stakes last time from a rotten draw he deserves a crack at this and gets a fair weight to make his presence felt.
7 Sports Page John Henry Saez G 118
Very nicely weighted considering he was a brilliant third in the BEL but whilst he has run some great races this year he hasn’t been seeing the finishes out and that may be a problem. If you just take his second in the BC Juvenile, win in the BG Stakes and third in the BEL he looks a very god chance off 118Lbs but like his fellow three year old he does have to hope that the three year old boost has kicked in to have a chance of winning.
8 Sweet Sweet Sweet Night Rider Stables Castellano J J 119
A very interesting runner as we see a BC winner come into the race at just 119Lbs giving the stable a very strong hand in this race. He was very good in the BC Sprint and has won 14 over sprint trips including two more graded stakes in 2021. After three failed attempts in routes the biggest question of course is the mile but we are only talking two furlongs extra here so he may just last if he gets the trip from this tricky draw. Could win, could finish a tired last, only time will tell.
9 Graciously Maxmillion Farm Lezcano J 118
The second stable runner he was bought for $200 recently and this is the first race for the new barn. A good winner of a stet bred stakes last time that purchase looked a big high at the time but this stable is like Harry Potter with their horses and may just have found some magic in this one.
10 Money Truck Spankys Barn Van Dyke D 117
A decent enough sort he has been looking just below the top flight so far in his career but that is the point of a handicap to try and even out the abilities using weight advantage. He gets in with bottom weight and rather interestingly is having a run on dirt after a long career on turf which can often throw up a surprise result at HRP. Whilst i wouldn’t be confident i would be wary of him for that reason.
11 Broken Tap Arindel Hernandez C J 121
The top weight and senior runner, this is a great horse but has been handicapped twice here with the wide draw to go with his 121Lbs. The winner of the BC Dirt Mile last time he is clearly in great form and is probably the best horse in the race, the question is will luck play its part from the gate. Not the best worker in the field but what he lacks on the gallops he makes up with a ton of racing heart.
Two BC winners here which really makes the race interesting and the first of the years BC runners have done well so far since the big meeting so both could be ready to make this a great race. For me these handicaps often produce a winner a little out of the box so i am going to go for Pxg or Boardwalk to find the win but there is nothing in this race without a chance so it could be anyone’s horse race, good luck to all.