Breeders' Cup winners tangle in Cigar Mile
Ozone Park, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Groupie Doll and Goldencents, fresh off victories in the 30th Breeders' Cup, will face each other for the first time in Saturday's $500,000 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct. A field of 11 has been drawn for the race.
Because of incentives, the two Breeders' Cup race winners will be competing for an enhanced purse of $1 million in the race while any previous Grade 1 winner competing in the Cigar Mile will race for a gross purse of $750,000.
Groupie Doll, second to Stay Thirsty in last year's Mile, is the 3-1 morning- line favorite over 7-2 second choice Goldencents. The 5-year-old mare, trained by Buff Bradley, will start from post 4 with Rajiv Maragh riding while Goldencents will be ridden by Rafael Bejarano from post 8.
"She showed last year that she likes the track when she ran a huge race, and even though she was going to the sale, I felt like I could have thrown out the idea (of running in the Cigar Mile) to whoever might have bought her," noted Bradley on Groupie Doll running Saturday. "It seemed like a sensible spot, and she'd be eligible for the $1 million purse because she's a Breeders' Cup winner."
Groupie Doll, who was bought by Mandy Pope's Whisper Hill Farm, won her second straight Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint with Maragh in the saddle at Santa Anita on Nov. 2. Last year, she followed her Sprint victory with a second- place finish to Stay Thirsty in the Cigar, losing by a nose.
"It's going to be one of her toughest tasks, but she has been training forwardly at Belmont, and all the signs are she's going to run a big race," said Bradley.
The mare has earned $2,478,850 in 21 lifetime starts with 11 wins, four seconds and four thirds.
Goldencents, trained by Doug O'Neill, set the entire pace in winning the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita on Nov. 1.
"He came out of the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile in great shape," O'Neill said about the 3-year-old colt. "In talking with the owners, it seems he can bounce right back in the Cigar Mile."
Partly owned by Rick Pitino, Goldencents won the Sham Stakes and Santa Anita Derby earlier this year with three straight second-place finishes in the Bing Crosby, Pat O'Brien and Santa Anita Sprint Championship Stakes. In between, he was 17th in the Kentucky Derby and fifth in the Preakness.
In 12 career starts he has five wins and four seconds for $1.99 million.
Here is the complete Cigar Mile field in post position order: Praetereo, David Cohen, 30-1; Forty Tales, Joel Rosario, 10-1; Clearly Now, Jose Lezcano, 5-1; Groupie Doll, Rajiv Maragh, 3-1; Laugh Track, Mike Smith, 12-1; Capo Bastone, Irad Ortiz Jr., 20-1; Saratoga Snacks, Jose Ortiz, 12-1; Goldencents, Rafael Bejarano, 7-2; Flat Out, Junior Alvarado, 6-1; Verrazano, Javier Castellano, 8-1 and Private Zone, Martin Pedroza, 15-1.
Post-time for the Mile will be approximately 3:20 p.m. (ET).
11/29 10:31:32 ET