Cigar Mile Program Headlines Saturday Stakes Action

Zandon | Coady

Enjoy your day at the Big A.

Led by the GI Cigar Mile H. and three other graded events, Aqueduct's loaded 10-race card will be in the spotlight in South Ozone Park Saturday.

Zandon (Upstart), winner of the GI Toyota Blue Grass S. and third-place finisher in the GI Kentucky Derby this spring, cuts back to a one-turn mile for Chad Brown in the feature. The dark bay, favored at even-money on the Cigar Mile's morning-line, also finished third in the GI Runhappy Travers S. and second in the GI Pennsylvania Derby last time Sept. 24.

Fellow Grade I-winning sophomore White Abarrio (Race Day) will also shorten up here. He tired to fifth after setting the pace in the Pennsylvania Derby last time. The handsome gray has been firing bullets at Saffie Joseph, Jr.'s Gulfstream Park base for this.

Two-time Grade I winner Mind Control (Stay Thirsty), drawn widest of all in post seven (he'll move in one slot with the scratch of O Besos), will look to close out his career on top. The 2018 GI Hopeful S. winner and 2019 GI H. Allen Jerkens S. winner was moved up to first via disqualification after falling a neck short in a roughly run renewal of the Parx Dirt Mile S. last out Sept. 24. The 6-year-old boasts a record of 7-4-2-1 at Aqueduct, including a trio of graded wins. A stud deal for Mind Control will likely be finalized in the days following the Cigar Mile, according to Rick Sacco, racing manager for co-owner Red Oak Stable.

“He's been a great horse for us and accomplished a lot before he even came to us, but he's been a real neat horse to be around,” said Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher, who seeks a record-extending sixth Cigar Mile victory. “He enjoys his job and has always liked Aqueduct.”

Juveniles, meanwhile, will take centerstage in the GII Remsen S. and GII Demoiselle S., both at the demanding distance of 1 1/8 miles.

Stonestreet homebred Julia Shining (Curlin), a full-sister to champion 3-year-old filly and GI Breeders' Cup Distaff winner Malathaat, will head straight into the deep end versus six rivals in the Demoiselle. The bay kicked off her career with an eye-catching come-from-behind victory for Pletcher going seven furlongs at Keeneland Oct. 16. She is the 3-5 morning-line favorite for the Demoiselle. Malathaat, also trained by Pletcher, won this same race in 2020.

“Physically, they're a little bit different, but they're both very impressive fillies to watch train and she's shown talent from the beginning,” Pletcher said. “I always felt like the further she gets the opportunity to go, the better she'll get. That's why we have been pointing for the Demoiselle.”

A field of seven will also line up for the Remsen, led by unbeaten Rocky Run S. winner Tuskegee Airmen (Street Sense) and New York-bred Arctic Arrogance (Frosted), a last out winner of the Sleepy Hollow S.

Aqueduct's Saturday program also includes the GIII Go For Wand S. for older fillies and mares.

Welcome to Hollywood

A very deep field of 11 have been entered for the GI Hollywood Derby at Del Mar. New York shippers 'Rising Star' Wit (Practical Joke) and Celestial City (Uncle Mo) are the top two on the morning-line. Slightly favored Wit just missed by a neck for Pletcher in Keeneland's GIII Bryan Station S. Oct. 29. Celestial City posted a come-from-behind win for Shug McGaughey in Aqueduct's GII Hill Prince S. Oct. 22.

The Hollywood Derby field also includes: GIII La Jolla S. winner and GII Twilight Derby winner Cabo Spirit (Pioneerof the Nile); Cinema S. winner War At Sea (War Front); and Let It Ride S. winner Handy Dandy (Fury Kapcori).

Del Mar's Saturday card also includes a wide-open renewal of the grassy GIII Jimmy Durante S. for 2-year-old fillies.

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