11/27/2013 4:21PM

Aqueduct: Goldencents aiming for titles in Cigar Mile

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Tom Keyser
Goldencents enters Saturday's Grade 1 Cigar Mile off a front-running win in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – The incentives implemented by the New York Racing Association for Saturday’s Grade 1 Cigar Mile certainly worked, as 11 horses – led by Breeders’ Cup winners Groupie Doll and Goldencents – were entered Wednesday for the one-turn, one-mile race at Aqueduct.

The Cigar Mile carries a base purse of $500,000, up from $400,000 a year ago. But outgoing NYRA racing secretary P.J. Campo put in provisions that any Breeders’ Cup winner would run for the winner’s share of a $1 million purse and any Grade 1 winner would run for the winner’s share of a $750,000 purse. In addition to Groupie Doll and Goldencents, the race drew Grade 1 winners Flat Out, Verrazano, Capo Bastone, and Private Zone.

Forty Tales, Clearly Now, and Laugh Track – the latter being the runner-up in the BC Sprint – are all graded stakes winners. Late entrants to the field were Saratoga Snacks, winner of the Empire Classic for New York-breds, and Praetereo, winner of a third-level allowance race here Nov. 8 for this circuit’s leading trainer, David Jacobson.

The allure of the added money wasn’t the only reason Glenn Sorgenstein, part owner of Goldencents, wanted to ship his BC Dirt Mile winner across the country to New York. Believing that championship honors in both the 3-year-old male and sprint divisions are not settled, Sorgenstein said a victory here could put Goldencents in the conversation in one or both categories.

“He’s the only 3-year-old that has won a Grade 1 against older company,” Sorgenstein said Wednesday, moments before boarding a New York-bound flight from Los Angeles. “A win in the Cigar would give him two Grade 1’s against older company, nothing that any other 3-year-old can do. That’s a pretty solid body of work to dispute.”

Sorgenstein, who owns Goldencents with Josh Kaplan, did concede that should Will Take Charge win Friday’s Grade 1 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs, he would deserve the 3-year-old championship.

“But sprinter is still out there,” Sorgenstein said. “I think being on the ballot is important in one or two categories.”

Goldencents, trained by Doug O’Neill, won the Grade 3 Sham and Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby this year but finished 17th behind Orb in the Kentucky Derby and finished fifth – Orb was fourth – in the Preakness. After a break, Goldencents came back with three runner-up finishes in graded sprint stakes in Southern California – suffering two losses to Points Offthebench – before winning the BC Dirt Mile.

Goldencents is the 120-pound highweight in the Cigar Mile and will break from post 8 under Rafael Bejarano. O’Neill also will send out the speedy Private Zone from post 11 under Martin Pedroza. Private Zone won the Grade 1 Vosburgh at Belmont before finishing 10th in the BC Sprint. O’Neill said former jockey Rene Douglas, who manages Private Zone for Good Friends Stable, was keen on trying the Cigar Mile.

“He likes the idea of a one-turn mile – the pace might be a little easier than a three-quarter sprint,” O’Neill said. “If Private Zone can get any sort of breather, which he might not, he’s a bear trying to pass down the lane.”

Groupie Doll won the BC Filly and Mare Sprint last year and was beaten a nose by Stay Thirsty in the Cigar Mile. She again won this year’s BC Filly and Mare Sprint and, after being purchased at the Keeneland sale Nov. 4 for $3.1 million by Mandy Pope, is back to take on the boys again in the Cigar Mile.

“This will be the toughest race she’s run in, really,” said Buff Bradley, trainer of Groupie Doll, who drew post 4. “There are some good horses in there.”

Flat Out is best known as the two-time winner of the Jockey Club Gold Cup, run at 1 1/4 miles, and as a Belmont Park specialist. He earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 116 in beating Cross Traffic in the Grade 3 Westchester, a one-turn, one-mile race. He will break from post 9 under Junior Alvarado.

The Cigar Mile will go as race 8 on a 10-race card that begins at noon and includes the $400,000 Remsen for 2-year-old males, the $400,000 Demoiselle for 2-year-old fillies, and the $400,000 Comely for 3-year-old fillies.

not impressed 12 months ago
No matter what Goldencents does in this race, with WTC winning the Clark, no doubt who gets CH 3yo now. Too bad DRF is the slowest thing ever in putting up results...
Thomas Cook 12 months ago
That was a horse race. WOW! Not only is he champion three year old...he gets my vote for HOY beating Dude on a speed favoring track at 1 1/8 is no easy task. And I am Orb's biggest fan...maybe
rahman Williams 12 months ago
You are not impressed
Dustin Pettus 12 months ago
easy superfecta goldedcents over Groupie,Flatout,verazzo,clearyly now
rahman Williams 12 months ago
Never heard of a easy super.
russell 12 months ago
A lot of these horses are so close in terms of #s that you have to bet the overlay odds. Flat Out looks like the overlay.
Greg Rouch 12 months ago
I'll root for Groupie Doll, because she came so close last year, but it's a TOUGH race. Unless too many horses gun for the lead and then, it will help her that she can sit off the pace. I could see most of these horses winning it.
B 12 months ago
A pretty terrific race for so late in the year as will be the Clark. Don't at all agree with Sorgenstein's thought about sprinter championship honors. I don't care if he does win. A mile is not a sprint, he's not won at a true sprint distance (5 to 7 furlongs) and he was beaten twice by the male sprint leader, Points Ofthebench the two times they met. No way in my book. As far as three year old honors, what are we turning into? A grass miler is going to win the male grass award and probably HOY and now a dirt miler is being considered for three year old honors?! Sheesh! I really hope he loses as I don't want to even debate these two potential scenarios, but the way this year has gone, he probably will and there will be endless debates about each category.
jay 12 months ago
This race is an afterthought for these Breeders' Cup runners. Most of them have been trained all year with the BC in mind, and BC runners don't usually run well if not given substantial time off, especially if it was a a tough race. I know Groupie Doll ran well last year, but this is a much tougher race, and she was supposedly being retired. The horse that I like is Forty Tales, who got a terrible ride last race, should love the distance, and will be flying late.
Perl 12 months ago
No reason why Goldencents can't win again. I think Verrazano can actually wake up too.
Thomas Cook 12 months ago
I will attempt to be as objective as possible here. Take from it what you will. Groupie Doll and Flat Out are the class of this field. Goldencents was probably the best BC bet next to Groypie Doll..but that race was basically a two turn sprint in which he was not tested abd had a favorable outside post. There is too much speed in here for him to clear and relax. Same for Verrazano and his one dimensional style. Capo abd Forty have outside shots if pace setters falter. But they have to contend wirh Flat Out if that happens. In a race like this I side with class. Groupie Doll is class of speed. Flat Out class of stalkers. There is my logic. They are all nice. I could be wrong. Have been before. The break and first quarter decides this.
John 12 months ago
Im sorry, I a big fan of Goldencents since I first saw him run, but come on Doug ! I know this is fo alot of money, and in your mind its for the 3yr old ring, but give the horse a break, bring him back next year fresh, if you keep shoving him into every big race that comes along...... well, lets just hope he comes home well and safe . Why do so many trainers feel they have to run every freaking race ! The Cigar Mile is full of Breeders Cup runners, I bet Charlie Whittingham would b flipping over inhis grave!
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Golden Cents was my guy in dirt mile, but this race I just dont know actually like Private Zone and Laugh Track. Verrazano was just as overrated as Orb and Game off Dude, the two horses that I touted the most all year. But he has big chance in this one I knew he could not beat golden cents at Santa anita but after watching replays if he was in post 1-5 Golden Cents would of been in a serious race, I still think GC would came up on top. I let Female horses beat me I just don't care. I will watch this for entertainment I will put my money on remson and demoiselle.