Cigar Mile Features Anchor Down and Connect as Favorites
Saturday’s card at Aqueduct features a stakes-laden card, anchored with the Grade I Cigar Mile. The $500,000 purse will be chased by 10 challengers in the final race of the day including the favorite Anchor Down (2-1) breaking from the rail for trainer Todd Pletcher. Connect (5-2) is a very strong challenger for trainer Chad Brown, and he’ll get a chance to shine in the Cigar along with Brown’s other two contenders, Economic Modell (6-1) and Threefiveindia (6-1).
Anchor Down has won two races at Belmont this year, the Westchester Stakes (G3) in May, and his last race Oct. 8, the Kelso Handicap (G2), where he beat Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Tamarkuz as the favorite going wire-to-wire. He won the Westchester in similar fashion by more than six lengths as the betting favorite, going a mile in the mud. The galloping gray son of Tapit was also 2nd at Belmont in the Met Mile June 11 behind record-setting Frosted. When Anchor Down won the Kelso in just under 1:33, his trainer was impressed.
“He’s got good tactical speed and it seems like he’s proven that a one-turn mile is his favorite trip,” Pletcher said. “Anytime you can run a solid 1:33 mile, you’re in rarefied territory,” Pletcher said.
Connect as won 4-of-5 starts this year including the $1.25 million Pennsylvania Derby last time out in September. He beat a strong field that day including Nyquist, Exaggerator, Cupid and runner-up Gun Runner. The Curlin colt will face elders for the first time and is cutting back in distance.
“He’s fine to cut back,” Brown said. “He won on Belmont Day in a (1 1/16 mile) allowance race going one turn and he looked good doing it, so I don’t think the move to one turn will bother him.”
Brown will also saddle Economic Model, winner of the June 11 Easy Goer Stakes, and Threefiveindia, most recently second in the Oct. 29 Bold Ruler Handicap (G3) at Belmont.
Aqueduct Racetrack, Saturday, November 26, 2016, Race 10 (4:20 ET)
|1||1||Jose L. Ortiz||121||Todd A. Pletcher||2/1|
|2||2||Joel Rosario||116||Chad C. Brown||6/1|
|3||3||Paco Lopez||114||Barclay Tagg||20/1|
|4||4||Eric Cancel||114||Ralph E. Nicks||30/1|
|5||5||John R. Velazquez||119||Kiaran P. McLaughlin||10/1|
|6||6||Manuel Franco||114||Barclay Tagg||20/1|
|7||7||Javier Castellano||118||Chad C. Brown||5/2|
|8||8||Antonio A. Gallardo||116||Mario Serey, Jr.||50/1|
|9||9||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||116||Chad C. Brown||6/1|
|10||10||Daniel Centeno||119||Arnaud Delacour||8/1|