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Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap comes our way from a busy Aqueduct in South Ozone Park, New York on Saturday, November 29. Horses three years old and upward will take to Aqueduct's main track and go one mile searching for the winner's share of the $500,000 purse.
A field of nine will take in the Cigar Mile - race 10 on Aqueduct's Saturday card. Post time is 4:17 PM. Let's take a peek into the past performances of all nine combatants for this Grade 1 stakes - two of which looked pretty good in the recent Breeders' Cup Sprint.
Street Circle - Bob Baffert trained colt won five of seven starts in 2012 with two seconds to go along with it - the highlights being wins in the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes in February of 2012 and the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes in March 2012. He won both starts in 2013 as well - an Allowance Optional Claiming score October 14 after 14 months away and an incredible score in last year's Breeders' Cup Sprint. He finished second in the Grade 2 Palos Verdes Stakes back in February, took eight months away and recently was third in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship October 4. Last time out he failed to defend his Breeders' Cup crown but did finish second in the Sprint. Street Circle has been impressive when on the track - seven wins, four seconds and a third place finish in 12 starts looks to keep his string of top 3 finishes Saturday. Joel Rosario has the mount aboard the 2-1 morning line favorite from gate 6.
Private Zone - had a string of four straight second place finishes including the 2012 Grade 3 Vernon Underwood, the Grade 1 Malibu and the Grade 2 Palos Verses in January, 2013 end with a ninth in the Grade 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen in March of last year. He went on to a two race win streak - the minor Pirate's Bounty Stakes at Del Mar September 4 and the Grade 1 Vosburgh Invitational September 28, 2013. Private Zone has just five starts since - a respectable third last time out in the Breeders' Cup Sprint followed a terrific win in the this year's Vosburgh Stakes at Belmont Park September 27, a fourth in the Grade 3 Turf Monster Handicap at Parx, 10 months away, a second last year's Grade 2 Cigar Mile and a disappointing tenth in last year's Breeders' Cup Sprint. Private Zone has looked good in his last two starts, has two wins, a second and a third in his last four dirt starts and will look to stay competitive as 3-1 morning line second choice with Martin Pedroza from the rail.
Itsmyluckyday - has four wins, a second and a third place finish in his last six starts. The wins include the Grade 1 Woodward Stakes August 30 and a nice three race graded stakes win streak - the Grade 3 Salvator Mile Stakes July 6 at Monmouth Park and two minor stakes races on that same track. Last time out was a third as favorite in the Grade 2 Kelso Handicap September 27. He also had a second behind Moreno in the Grade 1 Whitney Stakes at Saratoga August 2. Itsmyluckyday finished a very good second in the 2013 Preakness Stakes behind Oxbow as the fifth choice at 10-1, had a second behind Orb in last year's Florida Derby and a win by two lengths in the Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes last January 26 - with a fifteenth in the Kentucky Derby sandwiched in there. Itsmyluckyday looked terrific the last seven months and is expected to be one of the ones to catch Saturday. Paco Lopez rides the 4-1 third choice from gate 2.
Transparent - Kiaran McLaughlin trainee has just one start this year - an Allowance Optional Claiming score September 18 in track record time at 1 1/16 miles at Belmont Park after 10 months away. Before that he failed to hit the board in four starts. He has 13 career starts with three wins, a second and a third place finish and looks for his first graded stakes score from gate 5 with Javier Castellano guiding him at 6-1 odds.
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Vyjack - won his first four career starts including a pair of graded stakes scores at Aqueduct - the Grade 2 Jerome Stakes and the 2013 Grade 3 Gotham Stakes to start 2013 but has been up and down since. He finished third in last year's Wood Memorial, was eighteenth in the Kentucky Derby for trainer Rudy Rodriguez and eighth in last year's Belmont Stakes. This year Vyjack has six starts with two wins and a third place finish - one of those wins coming last time out in the Grade 2 Kelso Handicap at Belmont Park September 27. Before that was a third in the Grade 1 Forego, a fourth in the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt and a DNF in the Grade 2 Suburban Handicap. Vyjack has shown good form in the past and hopes to build on a terrific effort - from post 4 with Irad Ortiz aboard at 8-1 on the morning line.
Bourbon Courage - hadn't won since the Grade 2 Super Derby in September, 2012 before an Allowance Optional Claiming at Keeneland October 3. Prior to that he did place in nine of 13 starts, including thirds in the Grade 2 Alysheba Stakes and the competitive Harlan's Holiday Stakes at Gulfstream in December and in the Grade 3 Texas Mile at Lone Star April 26. Last time out was an OK fourth after a furious stretch run in the Breeders' Cup Sprint. He has four wins, five seconds and five thirds in 20 career starts and looks to keep a decent run going Saturday. Jose Lezcano rides the intriguing 12-1 shot from the outside post.
Regally Ready - Steve Asmussen trainee won the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint in 2011 - his biggest win to date but enters this week on a three race win streak - all minor stakes. Last time out was in the Big Bear Stakes at Santa Anita October 30 after the More Than Ready Mile at Kentucky Downs in September and the West Virginia House of Delegates Speaker's Cup in August. He has raced three times in graded stakes company this year - a seventh in the Grade 2 Firecracker Stakes June 28, an eighth in the Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile in March and a third in the Grade 2 Arcadia Stakes in February but has turned the corner since. He looks to keep the roll going and for his first graded stakes score in three years at 15-1 on the morning line with John Velazquez aboard from gate 8.
Noble Moon - was last seen running sixth in the Grade 3 Discovery Handicap on this track November 1 after a fourth in the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby September 20, a fourth in the Grade 1 King's Bishop Stakes at Saratoga August 23 a sixth in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial Stakes in April, a win in the Grade 2 Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct January 4. He has two wins and a third place finish in seven career starts but has failed to place in his last four overall. Jose Ortiz has been tabbed to break Noble Moon's slump from post 3 at 20-1 odds.
Big Business - David Jacobson raced in graded stakes company for the first time August 30 and finished second in the Grade 1 Forego Stakes at Saratoga after 28 career starts produced 10 wins, eight seconds and four third place finishes. He now has two wins, five seconds and a third place finish in his last eight starts overall including a second last time out in the minor Hudson Handicap October 18 and a third in an Allowance September 29. Big Business has been very competitive in every race the last eight months and hopes are he can be again Saturday with Cornelio Velasquez guiding him at 20-1 odds from post 7.
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