Maximum Security vs. Spun to Run in Epic Cigar Mile
Photo Copyright Eclipse Sportswire
By Emily Shields for TVG
The title of Eclipse Champion Three Year Old Male is still very much up for debate, and there are two grade 1 events left on the calendar for a new leader to emerge from the pack. Current frontrunner and multiple grade 1 hero Maximum Security will take on older horses for the second time in the $750,000 Cigar Mile Handicap (G1) at Aqueduct on Saturday, December 7, which is part of an action-packed card with six stakes races and purses totaling over $1.7 million. All of the races on Aqueduct’s premier day can be wagered on via TVG.
Maximum Security has had a star-crossed year, winning the Florida Derby (G1) and Haskell Invitational (G1) before a setback of colic ruled him out of the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He made it back to the races to win the Bold Ruler Handicap (G3) with a career best Beyer Speed Figure. But he had other moments, too, such as when he won the Kentucky Derby (G1) but was disqualified for interference, or when he lost the Pegasus Sakes at Monmouth Park as a heavy favorite. Jason Servis trains the son of New Year’s Day for Gary and Mary West. Regular pilot Luis Saez will be back aboard.
Spun to Run is the main challenger. The son of Hard Spun has won two in a row, including the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) in front running fashion. Irad Ortiz, Jr. is back aboard today for Pennsylvania-based trainer Juan Carlos Guerrero. Spun to Run is unbeaten in three tries at the distance, but has finished third in both his starts on this track.
Looking for an upset are Whitmore and Bal Harbour. Whitmore breaks from the rail after finishing third in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) November 2, a race he was second in last year. He has won 12 times in 30 starts with nine second place efforts, but hasn’t stretched past seven furlongs since May, 2016. Ron Moquett trains the six-year-old son of Pleasantly Perfect.
Bal Harbour will start for Todd Pletcher. He was grade 1 placed in the Woodward at Saratoga two back behind Preservationist, and although he hasn’t won this year, he hasn’t been worse than fourth in six tries. His last win came over this track just over a year ago in the Gio Ponti Stakes. He is three for five at the distance and never worse than third.
Looking At Bikinis was a hyped horse this summer, breaking his maiden first out for trainer Chad Brown by almost six lengths. He then won an allowance and was third in the Curlin Stakes before running well behind in the grade 1 Travers. Looking At Bikinis had a little time off and then returned at Keeneland to win an allowance by over four lengths. Javier Castellano is aboard stablemate Network Effect, who is returning to the races with an allowance win after being graded stakes placed twice here last year, so Jose Ortiz gets aboard Looking At Bikinis.
Forewarned, Pat On the Back, Nicodemus, Tale of Silence, and True Timber round out the field.
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