2017 Cigar Mile Handicap Picks
Cigar Mile Preview and Odds
Sent off as the second choice in the betting for the 2017 BC Dirt Mile, Sharp Azteca (2-1 in the morning line odds) ran very well to stay on and pick up the place money, as one of the few front-running horses on Breeders' Cup weekend to actually still be around when they hit the wire. It can be expected that he'll run the same race here, going right to the lead out of the gate and challenging the others to catch up.
Recently, Sharp Azteca has been a virtual lock in the exactas, having run first or second in eight of his nine last races, and third in the other, with seven of those races being graded stakes. On the downside, he has yet to capture a Grade 1 win, you have to wonder how much his Breeders' Cup effort took out of him, and he'll be carrying high weight of 125 pounds, giving away as much as 11 pounds to some others in the field.
The Field Includes Several With Early Speed
It also needs to be taken into consideration that there is other speed in the race likely to be pushing Sharp Azteca early. One of those is Seymourdini (6-1) for trainer Linda Rice. Running in allowance races and lower-level stakes, Seymourdini has been a monster, winning three straight by a combined total of more than 36 lengths.
Last out he tried graded-stakes company for the first time, but lost all chance when he broke very poorly and had to rally from last to get up for fourth place in the (G3) Bold Ruler Stakes. This is a big step up in class from the level he's been winning at, but if he gets out to challenge Sharp Azteca right out of the gate, the first half-mile could be drag race.
Under that scenario, the race sets up very well for closers, such as Practical Joke the 7-2 second choice in the morning line. A fifth-place finisher in the 2017 Kentucky Derby, he was most recently fourth in the 2017 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile. Working to his advantage is the fact the Cigar Mile only goes around one turn on the Aqueduct dirt track, and Practical Joke is five-for-five in one-turn races, and zero-for-six in races that go around two turns. The three-year-old colt will be trying to beat older horses for the first time.
Also expected to be coming from way back with a late run is Pennsylvania-bred Tom's Ready (8-1). A three-time graded-stakes winner, he was one of the horses that benefitted from Seymourdini's poor start in the Bold Ruler Stakes, where he went from ninth to first in the last three furlongs of the seven-furlong race to get the win. The extra furlong distance should help his cause.
Worthy of consideration in the exotic betting is Mind Your Biscuits (5-1) who will be breaking from the inside gate. He's finished in the money in 15 of 18 races lifetime, including running third in the 2017 Breeders' Cup Sprint after running second in the same race in 2016. The question for him might be the distance, as all of his wins have come in races of seven furlongs or less.
The Cigar Mile goes Saturday, December 2 from Aqueduct Race Track in New York. It's the last of 10 races on the day's card, with an expected post time of 4:16 PM Eastern, and immediately follows the (G2) Remsen Stakes, which is a 2018 Kentucky Derby qualifying race.
Entries w/ Morning Line Odds
- Mind Your Biscuits (5-1)
- Seymourdini (6-1)
- Just Call Kenny (30-1)
- Tom's Ready (8-1)
- Americanize (12-1)
- Sharp Azteca (2-1)
- Vulcan's Forge (20-1)
- Practical Joke (7-2)
- Summer Revolution (15-1)
- Beasley (12-1)
Cigar Mile Picks
- #6 - Sharp Azteca
- #8 - Practical Joke
- #4 - Tom's Ready
- #2 - Seymourdini
You can bet the Cigar Mile or the full day of races on the Aqueduct card with an account at a quality online racebook.
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