With the two speedy headliners drawn alongside each other, a deep field of 11 will line up for Saturday’s GI Cigar Mile H. at the Big A.
Disqualified GI Kentucky Derby winner Maximum Security (New Year’s Day) will look to his pad his loaded resume, which already includes top-level wins in this term’s GI Xpressbet Florida Derby Mar. 30 and GI TVG.com Haskell Invitational S. July 20. After sitting out the GI Pennsylvania Derby due to a bout of colic in September, the Gary and Mary West homebred returned from the bench in style with a sharp win over his elders Tale of Silence (Tale of the Cat) and True Timber (Mineshaft) in the GIII Bold Ruler H. going seven furlongs at Belmont last time Oct. 26. Maximum Security is favored at 3-2 on the morning line for the Cigar.
Fellow sophomore and GI Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile upsetter Spun to Run (Hard Spun) will break one to his outside in post position six. The dark bay validated his gaudy 110 Beyer Speed Figure earned in the M.P. Ballezzi Appreciation Mile S. at Parx Oct. 12 with a dominating wire-to-wire tally in the Championships at Santa Anita Nov. 2. The narrow GIII Smarty Jones S. winner was previously a well-beaten third behind Maximum Security in the Haskell. Spun to Run is a perfect three-for-three at the one-mile distance, albeit all around two turns.
Trainer Chad Brown will saddle a pair of intriguing runners in Network Effect (Mark Valeski) and Looking At Bikinis (Lookin At Lucky). The former, runner-up in last year’s GIII Nashua S. and GII Remsen S. at Aqueduct, returned from a lengthy layoff with a first-level allowance win over track and trip Nov. 10. Looking At Bikinis, meanwhile, followed a disappointing 11th after a stumbling start in the GI Runhappy Travers S. with a sharp win while cutting back to seven furlongs in a Keeneland allowance Oct. 4.
The classy veteran Whitmore (Pleasantly Perfect) stretches out to a mile for the first time after a rallying third in the GI Breeders’ Cup Sprint Nov. 2.