Thirty-three Grade 1 races have taken place in the confines of New York Racing Association tracks in 2017. The very first Grade 1 stakes New York saw in 2017 was April 8, when Green Gratto went wire to wire in the Carter Handicap, paying $110 to win!! It gave trainer Gaston Grant his first Grade 1 win.
But that win didn’t stop him from going to work as a UPS driver the very next day. Just amazing. That is just one of so many remarkable stories in New York racing this year, but one more chapter has yet to be read.
Saturday, the Cigar Mile Presented by NYRA Bets at Aqueduct will be the 34th and final Grade 1 stakes race in New York, and it just might be the most competitive field of all 34 races.
Below is the field 10 with my thoughts and how I will bet the race.
Giddy Up, and good luck.
1. Mind You Biscuits: Stale Biscuits? This horse was better earlier this year, in my opinion. I don’t see this race having a complete pace meltdown, so Mind Your Biscuits is an underneath horse for me if the track is favoring closers, or … I no Biscuits for me.
2. Seymourdini: I can SEE-mourdini winning. This 4-year-old doesn’t have the same star power as most of these, but his prep race on Oct. 28 was impressive. He has tactical speed and is able to rate or go to the front. HE HAS BIG SHOT and is a must use for me underneath.
3. Just Call Kenny: Wrong Number? Just a cut below these signed on here.
4. Tom’s Ready: Tom’s always READY for a perfect trip. Whenever this horse wins he “trips outs,” meaning he is either getting the perfect pace setup or is with a track bias. I’m passing.
5. Americanize: He has run well on the West Coast of America. How will he do on the East Coast? Americanize will have to run the race of his life to win, and I think the one-mile distance is a little too far for this 4-year-old.
6. Sharp Azteca: Dull Azteca? I had the privilege of sitting next to this horse’s trainer at Del Mar the Sunday after the Breeders’ Cup. He told me the horse came out of the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile healthy but was very tired and would probably pass on the Cigar Mile. Well, they are here but I think this one has done too much running this year to beat this talented group.
7. Vulcan’s Forge: Trainer Todd Pletcher will need to Forge a career best race. This 4-year-old can’t beat allowance horses, and now he faces some of the best milers in the country? I won’t talk you off the big price with his future Hall of Fame trainer, but I don’t see him winning.
8. Practical Joke: I wish it was a JOKE that this is his last race. This has been one of my favorite horses the past two years. I really thought he had a shot to win the 2017 Kentucky Derby, but he was just on the wrong part of the track. He is, however, 5-for-5 in races around one turn! He is a super-talented 3-year-old colt and I wish they weren’t retiring him after this race. I think he has a chance to win the Cigar Mile, but I have seen too many times when Breeders’ Cup horses come back only a few weeks later and are not able to run their best race. His best effort will be needed to win this race, but he will be right there.
9. Summer Revolution: You say you want a REVOLUTION… As John Lennon asked … and I would answer, yes I do! This is my on top pick in the Cigar Mile. I’m looking for a fresh horse who is getting better versus a group of horses who have done a lot of grueling running this year. He will be running second time off a long layoff, and the last time he ran second time off a layoff in his second career start, he ran the race of his life. I love his post, the trip I’m expecting him to get, and he is getting an 11-pound weight break from probable favorite Sharp Azteca! GIDDY UP!
10. Beasley: Ran a BEASTley race last time out. This 3-year-old got knocked around like a pinball in the Bold Ruler Stakes on Oct. 28 and still finished third, beaten by three-quarters of a length, but I think going a mile is pushing his limits. His last race might have been his best.
#9 Summer Revolution to WIN
Exacta #9 with #2, #8, #10, then reversed
Exacta #2, #8, #10 with #9
I won’t get too greedy, I’ll box #2, #8, #9, #10 in an exacta and trifecta as well.