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Aqueduct: Stay Thirsty's thrilling Cigar Mile win completes giant day for Repole
OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Mike Repole’s self-proclaimed Breeders’ Cup weekend at Aqueduct couldn’t have gone any better, winning three graded stakes Saturday at Aqueduct, capped by a spine-tingling nose victory by Stay Thirsty over the filly Groupie Doll in the Grade 1, $350,000 Cigar Mile.
The win was the third consecutive graded stakes on the day - all in a one-hour span - for Repole and his fifth stakes victory over three days. On Saturday, Repole also won the Grade 2 Remsen with Overanalyze and the Grade 2 Demoiselle with Unlimited Budget. On Thursday, Repole won the Grade 3 Fall Highweight with Caixa Eletronica and on Friday he won the $80,000 Super Mario Stakes with Notacatbutallama.
Repole, 43, boycotted this year’s Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita because he didn’t like the fact 2-year-olds were not permitted to race on Lasix and he also is upset the Breeders’ Cup hasn’t been held in New York since 2005.
On three occasions Saturday, Repole was surrounded by dozens of family and friends in the Aqueduct winner’s circle that was filled to the brim.
“Aqueduct is not the prettiest place in the world, but it means a lot to me, means a lot to my friends, a lot to my family,” Repole said. “I grew up 10 minutes from here, to have a day like this . . .
“I told a lot of you guys this is the Repole Breeders’ Cup weekend, we won four graded stakes,” Repole added. “I don’t care how long I’m in racing, you’re not going to win three graded stakes in your life never mind three in a row with 2-year-olds and a horse like Stay Thirsty, who means so much to me, my family and my friends.”
Stay Thirsty’s nose victory denied Groupie Doll - the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint winner - her sixth straight victory and a win against males that might have put her in the discussion for Horse of the Year.
“That was never on our minds, we weren’t looking for that,” Buff Bradley, the trainer of Groupie Doll said. “This filly was ready to run, that’s why we brought her up here to run, I’m happy that we did. I don’t regret coming up here. I think we did the right thing, we had to take a shot.”
Groupie Doll was getting a perfect trip under Rajiv Maragh, sitting just behind the dueling leaders Buffum and Coil, who were head-and-head through a quarter run in 23.80 seconds, a half-mile in 47.04 and six furlongs in 1:11.11.
Groupie Doll wrested a short lead at the eighth pole and was doing her best to hold off Stay Thirsty, who got his nose on the wire at just the right time under Ramon Dominguez.
Coil finished third and was followed by Buffum and Hymn Book. Jersey Town, the 2010 Cigar Mile winner and Associate scratched due to ailments.
Stay Thirsty, a son of Bernardini, covered the mile in 1:35.47 and returned $7.50 as the second choice.
Todd Pletcher, who trained all three graded stakes winners for Repole, said he wanted Stay Thirsty to be forwardly paced in the Cigar Mile. But a slow start scrapped those plans and Stay Thirsty had to rally from fourth.
“The way it unfolded we were sitting behind those other three and it seemed to work out in the end,” Pletcher said. “I was a little concerned at the break; he didn’t jump away real well from the one hole.”
Dominguez said he wasn’t too worried about the slow start, since there was a contested pace. He was, however, worried about Groupie Doll.
“She was tough to get by, she never stopped,” said Dominguez, who won five races on his 36th birthday. “My horse was drifting in some the last part but he was full of run at the same time.”
The win was the only one this year for Stay Thirsty, who was beaten just a head in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. It was his fifth win from 17 career starts and he earned $1,936,000. At 3, he won the Grade 1 Travers, Grade 2 Jim Dandy, and Grade 3 Gotham. He will stand stud at Ashford near Lexington, Ky.
“It’s a bittersweet moment,” Repole said. “Going out a winner, beating Groupie Doll _ who is going to win an Eclipse Award. The horse had some tough beats - the Jockey Club - this makes up for it, trust me it does.”
One Of The Best Races Ive Seen In A While (All Four Ran Good Enough To Win-LOLK-DS
Mike Repole should soon realize that he needed his 2 year olds plugged with Lasix to run. His 2 year olds have a TON of improving to do to step on a track with Shanghai Bobby and Goldencents (who proved they DONT need Lasix to run a big one). I dont have an issue with Mike Repole. I loved the whole Uncle Mo show and even wore the bracelet. I made the trip to the Kentucky Derby in hopes of an Uncle Mo victory, but the reality of this year is this, his 2 year olds are not that good. Todd will have all of his focus on Shanghai and will not be in any rush to compromise that colt with Mike's underachievers.
Repole spends millions in the game and some people hate him. Why? The guy is a self made billionaire from a very humble background. And Uncle Mo had one of the best 2 year-old season's ever and people say his horses aren't good? Very strange. He's an opinionated NYer. So what. The Lasix thing was blown out of proportion and I think he was trying to defend his trainer Pletcher who is a stanch supporter of Lasix.
Initially I liked Jersey Town and Groupie Doll for the top two spots. After JT was scratched I thought the Stay Thirsty would be a big threat. Groupie Doll's best distance appears to be 6-7F in G1 company. If the race was 7F she would have won it.
Aw tough loss for Buff but theres no disgrace here though. The "Big Mare" ran her eyeballs out. I know they got to be proud of her.
I'm sure those deserved victories left celebration THIRSTY of more that one in the group of family and friends. cheers !!!
Thanks for the heart attack guys, but even better thanks for the thrill. Congrats !
REPOLE SWEEPSTAKES DAY! ...CONGRATULATIONS ...THE REPOLE TEAM MADE AQUEDUCT LOOK ALMOST PRETTY :)
I'll be the one to say it I guess..lots of folks win grade 1 races every week, and several class outfits win millions each year..to self proclaim an Aqueduct stakes as comperable the The Breeders Cup is disrespectful of Repole. Some call it being a punk I rather be polite. Either way his horses are subpar on a national le El..similar to himself..I respect his lasix stand, but not his selfish reasoning for it. The Remsen is the kiss of death for Derby prospects..History proves it.. Sarlaand, Windsor Castle, etc....
Repole made his point this weekend, but weather is a concern in Nov. By the way, the racing world survived without him and his horses so enjoy the nice purses Racing was great for this time of year and that was a nice change. East coasters finally fought off west coast bias and the Euros did not enjoy the asphalt dyed green in Breeders, but they did not send their best either. Still hats off for Groupie for a great effort and a tough beat. Maybe next year's classic will have some more monsters in it. P>S> Flat Out will be third