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Cigar Mile 2019 Picks

Free DRF Past Performances for the Race of the Day

Cigar Mile – G1
Purse: $750,000
Distance: 1 mile
Age: 3YO and Up

Early morning rain and freezing temperature will be a factor when the field of 11 older horses will make their way to the starting gate for the Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap at Aqueduct.

The field includes multiple graded stakes winner Maximum Security who opens as the 3-2 favorite off back to back winning efforts since a second place finish in the Pegasus at Monmouth to mark his only loss in eight races.

Cigar Mile Handicap 2019 field by post position with analysis

1. Whitmore – Interesting that this guy whose bloodlines run deep and long in distance (sire won twice at 1 1/4 miles and grand sire won the Derby and Preakness in ’81) has failed to extend himself beyond 7 furlongs with any success since his ’16 Derby trail tries and subsequent 19th place finish in the Kentucky Derby. Still, he’s 1 for 1 at the Big A. And his 3rd place finish LTO in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint was a good effort on a track he hated. Will need plenty of help up front to close on Maximum Security. UPSET SPECIAL.

2. Bal Harbour – Exits the G2 Fayette won by Tom’s d’Etat who returned to take the G1 Clark Handicap at Churchill. Has 1 win in 4 starts at Aqueduct and 3 wins at 1 mile. Velazquez gets the leg up for the first time as Pletcher seeks first graded stakes win for this guy. Cut back should help his cause at 8-1.

3. Forewarned – Ohio bred winner of his last start at Mahoning Valley, he’s attempted this level twice at Saratoga in the summer at long odds. At 30-1 on the board to open, don’t expect anything but up in price at post time.

4. Pat On the Back – NYRA bred is 0 for 2 at the Big A including a 5th place finish in the ’18 running of the Cigar Mile. Beat open company two back in the Kelso at this distance and will enjoy the cutback from the last out Empire Classic, but remember his Big A record and that’s all you need to rank him below the better ones in here.

5. Maximum Security – Soon to be 4YO was the controversial winner of the 2019 Kentucky Derby who was eventually DQ’d to 17th place in the final order of finish. There was no doubt that the mud carried him the 1 1/4 miles distance of the Derby. To his credit, he won twice at 1 1/8 miles in the Florida Derby and Haskell Invitational, before and after the first Saturday in May. Took the 7 furlong Bold Ruler LTO off a three month layoff and keeps going and going after the bell rings. Hate to pull against him but price is too low to take a chance keying him on top.

6. Spun to Run – Winner of the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile last time out, he’s trying to keep a mini-streak going that started with the two back Parx performance that pushed him into the Breeders’ Cup. Twice a maiden starter at the Big A as a 2YO. Twice a loser. Like he’s in here to help the late runners but won’t be putting any money on him, as an underlay. 

7. Nicodemus –  Seems like a tough spot to bring this guy back from a five month layoff. But trainer Rice is known to have them ready to run when she enters. 2 of 3 at the distance and 1 of 3 over the track, he’s still eligible for NW4 lifetime. Vanned off after his last start, interesting nonetheless, at a price. SCRATCHED to run in the Fall Highweight Handicap G3.

8. Network Effect – Has a pair of runner up finishes in graded tries, sandwiched in between two winning efforts in his four race career. Last out victory here going 1 mile in a NW1X allowance for $75K was enhanced by the show horse’s return with a win in a next out allowance at the same level. But still, that’s a far cry from this level. Plenty of positives for this soon to be 4YO.

9. Looking At Bikinis – It’s no wonder the “woke” crowd hasn’t forced a name change due to sexism (or something). Winner of 3 of 5, Castellano opts for the other Brown runner to his inside. Twice tried to turn it up a notch, he was soundly defeated in the G1 Travers two back. Can’t ever dismiss connections even with pricier ones like this. But gotta trust Castellano’s judgement here.

10. Tale of Silence – Trying to find a sliver of silver in this 5YO’s running lines isn’t easy. But having to make a case for (or in this case against) his chances, it would have to be the fact that he was the longshot runner up to Maximum Security LTO in the Bold Ruler. Logically, it would make sense to at least consider him a contender to hit the board, but he’s still eligible for conditional races at 5. And that’s a little more telling than a tale of silence.

11. True Timber – Third to Maximum Security in the Bold Ruler in last. And the runner up in the ’18 Cigar Mile. He’s drawn widest of all and is 0 for 4 at the 1 mile distance. Has pressed the pace when most successful, but was unable to hold his ground when doing the same vs. Maximum Security. Can’t see him turning the tables in here.

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