(Paternrecognition wins the G1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct / Photo by Coglianese & Courtesy of NYRA)
From the NYRA Media Team:
G1 Cigar Mile:
Patternrecognition continued a winning trend by notching his third victory in succession with a powerful front-running performance to capture the 30th renewal of the Grade 1, $750,000 Cigar Mile Handicap presented by NYRA Bets on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained by Chad Brown for owners Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence, the 5-year-old Patternrecognition was making just the second stakes start of his career, fresh off a one-length score in the Grade 2 Kelso at Belmont Park, and demonstrated a considerable amount of class to best a talented eight-horse field that included Grade 1 winner Mendelssohn and the upwardly mobile Copper Town.
Sent to post at odds of 5-1 under Jose Ortiz, who celebrated the birth of his second child, Derek, in the early hours of Saturday morning, Patternrecognition fired out of the gate and assumed command through splits of 22.88 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and a half-mile in a sharp 45.68 under pressure from Pat On the Back. Mendelssohn, with Ryan Moore up from the inside post, tracked from third position just inside of True Timber as three-quarters passed in 1:09.68.
Pat On the Back was asked for more into the final turn as True Timber launched his bid with Copper Town, who was compromised leaving the gate after Stan the Man stumbled, following their lead. However, Patternrecognition, traveling smoothly throughout, continued to find more, improving his lead to a 1 1/2 length advantage at the top of the lane.
True Timber battled bravely to the wire with Sunny Ridge finding his best stride late up the wood, but there was no catching Patternrecognition who earned a three-quarters of a length win in a final time of 1:34.98. True Timber completed the exacta, a length in front of Sunny Ridge. Mendelssohn, the 8-5 mutuel favorite, stayed on for fourth. Stan the Man, Timeline and Copper Town completed the order of finish.
Patternrecognition, by Adios Charlie, was a $420,000 purchase at the 2015 Ocala Breeders’ Sale. He made his belated debut a winning one in April of his 4-year-old season and has proven to be worth the wait for his connections.
“Obviously, he’s had some soundness issues along the way and I want to thank the owners as well, Seth Klarman and Bill Lawrence, for never giving up on this horse,” said Brown, who captured the 2016 Cigar Mile with Connect. “He needed the time and they gave him the time to always get healthy when we needed to rest the horse. Ultimately, he showed the talent that we thought he had when they bought him what seems like forever ago as a 2-year-old and this is really a great moment for this horse. He deserves it.
“Because he’s had so many interruptions in his schedule, I was always trying to bridge him to a longer race off a sprint and it was always hard to get there because he always had a setback,” continued Brown. “Finally, he got very sound, to where I could train him consistently and get him out to that mile distance where his father [Adios Charlie] was very effective, as well. This horse is a rare horse. He’s got that speed and he can carry it. I’m very proud of the judgment Jose used today. I left it up to him and the fractions concerned me a touch, but this horse showed his heart.”
Ortiz, who was winning the Cigar Mile for the first time, said he made a snap judgment to take the lead with Patternrecognition.
“He broke out of there very sharply. The way he broke, I didn’t want to give the lead away, so I used my own judgment and took a shot and went straight to the rail and took the lead,” said Ortiz. “He got pressured pretty good. I took a big risk because those weren’t the instructions, but it worked out.”
True Timber, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin for Calumet Farm, was impressive in making his Grade 1 debut fresh off a good second in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler Handicap.
“We’re very happy with the way he ran and how everything went,” said McLaughlin. “We were pleasantly surprised. That was a great effort, so we have options going forward.”
Mendelssohn, trained by Aidan O’Brien, arrived at the Cigar Mile in search of his first Grade 1 win on dirt. The well-bred son of Scat Daddy, a half-brother to champion mare Beholder and leading sire Into Mischief, captured the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf to complete his 2-year-old campaign and was among the leading contenders for the Kentucky Derby after romping to a 18 ½-length score in the Group 2 UAE Derby in March.
A troubled trip saw Mendelssohn finish last of 20 in the Run for the Roses, but the colt redeemed himself over the summer with on-the-board efforts in the Grade 3 Dwyer when third, the Grade 1 Runhappy Travers when second and a strong third in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup.
The talented bay was turning back in distance in the Cigar Mile from a fifth-place run in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic.
“I kind of think nothing has really gone his way at all, all year. We’ll see what the plan is,” said Moore. “I think there’s more in there at some point. I don’t think [the kickback] affected him. I was just seeing what happens [out of the gate]. If no one was going, then we’d go to the lead, but I was happy. We had a nice run, really.”
Patternrecognition, bred in Florida by Ocala Stud, banked $433,125 in victory while improving his record to five wins and five seconds from 11 career starts. He paid $12.80 to win.
(Maximus Mischief wins the G2 Remsen Stakes / Photo by Chelsea Durand & Courtesy of NYRA)
G2 Remsen Stakes:
Cash is King Stable and LC Racing’s Maximus Mischief handled the step up to stakes company and stretch out in distance in impressive fashion, battling for the lead while still holding plenty in reserve to outkick post-time favorite Network Effect in the stretch to win the 105th running of the Grade 2, $250,000 Remsen for juveniles as part of the Cigar Mile Day card Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack.
The Remsen, the first of five races at the Big A that are part of the “Road to the Kentucky Derby Series,” saw Maximus Mischief earn 10 qualifying points for the Run for the Roses on May 4 at Churchill Downs and improved to 3-for-3 to start his career for trainer Robert Reid, Jr.
Breaking sharp under jockey Frankie Pennington, Maximus Mischief, the 7-5 second choice, dueled Gladiator King for the early speed, with the opening quarter-mile going in 25.12 seconds on the main track labeled fast.
Maximus Mischief gained the edge from the outside over Gladiator King and fended off Tax from his outside in posting a half-mile mark of 50.67. With Tax giving heavy pursuit coming out of the final turn, Maximus Mischief responded to Pennington’s left-handed encouragement, opening up his lead before hitting the wire in a final time of 1:51.34 for 1 1/8 miles to complete a 2 1/4-length win.
The Into Mischief colt returned $4.80 on a $2 win wager.
“Running short he was always so sharp and keen, but Butch Reid did an awesome job getting him ready for this race,” Pennington said. “He broke well. Going into the first turn he relaxed right back to me and put his ears up and I knew he was going to be good today.
“He’s the kind of horse that will do it easy by himself, but as soon as he feels the pressure, he becomes an even better horse. When he feels that fight coming, that’s what he likes.”
Maximus Mischief, purchased for $340,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale of 2-year-olds in training, has already amassed $192,100 in earnings since winning his debut on September 29 at Parx by 8 3/4-lengths at 5 ½ furlongs. Stretching out to seven furlongs, he defeated allowance company by six lengths over the same track on October 20 before stepping up in class in NYRA’s last graded stakes for juveniles on the calendar.
“He came through in fine colors as far as I’m concerned,” said Reid, who won his first graded stakes since Poseidon’s Warrior in the 2012 Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap. “I was really concerned that it was a deep racetrack at Aqueduct. Parx is pretty deep, and maybe that’s helped him a little bit. They’ve been running slow times down here. I watched the beginning of the card and I was hoping it was a little faster than that, but to go from seven-eighths to a mile and an eighth, especially the way he did it, is a pretty good accomplishment.
“He runs the turns really well and he swaps leads really good so that’s generally where he gets the drop on them. The first thing Frank said when he came off the horse was that when he went into the first turn, [Maximus Mischief] pricked his ears and settled down – and he hadn’t had too many horses around him early in his career – that he wasn’t worried about the horses inside or outside of him, so that’s a really good sign.”
Klaravich Stables’ Network Effect, the field’s lone graded stakes veteran coming off a second-place effort in the Grade 3 Nashua on November 4 at the Big A for trainer Chad Brown, was second by a half-length, earning four qualifying points.
“He ran good. Unfortunately, I think the pace was too slow for him today. That’s just the way the race developed,” said Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano, who has been aboard for all three of Network Effect’s career starts.
“I’m not disappointed with my horse,” he added. “I’m really satisfied with the way he did it, and I think he’s a horse that has so much talent. He’s getting confident with himself and that’s the third time he’s run, and I like the way he finished today. I think he’s looking for a little more distance.”
Tax, also making his first stakes appearance in just his third start, garnered two qualifying points for his third-place effort for trainer Danny Gargan. Fourth-place finisher Bourbon War, a Mark Hennig trainee, netted one point.
Jungle Warrior, Gladiator King and Chinomado completed the order of finish.
(Marley’s Freedom after winning the G3 Go For Wand Stakes / Photo by Chelsea Durand & Courtesy of NYRA)
G3 Go for Wand Stakes:
Making her first start since finishing fourth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint on November 3 at Churchill Downs, Marley’s Freedom dug in late to defeat Come Dancing by a neck in the Grade 3, $250,000 Go For Wand for fillies and mares on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Breaking from the rail with Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith aboard, Marley’s Freedom, sent off as the 1-2 favorite, was hustled forward to gain second position as Browse led the field of six through fractions of 25.27 seconds for the opening quarter with the half in 48.56.
After Marley’s Freedom took the lead at the three-eighths pole, Come Dancing, racing three-wide, emerged with Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez to hook up with the new leader at the top of the stretch. Thoroughly challenged but remaining in front every step of the way, Marley’s Freedom secured the victory, completing the one-mile distance in a final time of 1:38.35.
“Today was the first time going a mile, but she took a breath of air and once she got that second wind, she locked in and she wasn’t going to let them by no matter what,” said Smith. “We could have went around there again and they weren’t getting by her.
“When they give you that sign, that one [Come Dancing] ain’t going to beat you,” continued Smith. “Someone might come from way on the outside, but that one ain’t going to get you. She ran awesome.”
Velazquez said he was pleased with the game and determined effort from Come Dancing.
“From the beginning, I tried to get the horse off the lead and try to make a run with her,” said Velazquez. “I think it worked out, it was just that the other horse was a little better than us. I thought I had her.”
Returning $3.10 for a $2 win wager, the 4-year-old Blame filly increased her earnings to $815,935, picking up her fourth graded stakes win of the year for Cicero Farms and Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.
Though successful in winning her first start at a mile, Smith said Marley’s Freedom is talented enough to handle the distance again, but would also like to see her return to sprinting.
“A mile might be as far as she wants to go,” added Smith. “On the Santa Anita track, maybe a mile and a sixteenth. But, she’s just a brilliant sprinter.”
Following Come Dancing in second was Pacific Wind, Bonita Bianca, Your Love, and Browse.
(Positive Spirit captures the G2 Demoiselle Stakes / Photo by Coglianese & Courtesy of NYRA)
G2 Demoiselle Stakes
Trainer Rodolphe Brisset’s Positive Spirit kicked off the stakes action on Cigar Mile Day at Aqueduct Racetrack in style, taking the Grade 2, $250,000 Demoiselle by 10 ½ lengths over a field of six other 2-year-old fillies, in the process stamping herself as a filly to watch in the lead up to next year’s Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks.
Owned by Michael Ryan, Positive Spirit had one win to her credit from three tries prior to Saturday, but rewarded her connections’ confidence with a sparkling breakthrough coming off a modest maiden score on November 8 at Churchill Downs.
“She really changed after the race in Keeneland [on October 6],” said Brisset. “The light bulb really went on after she got beat. I didn’t want to cut her back to a mile [in her last race] but I didn’t have any choice. We did that, and since, she’s been training well and we took a shot here. She gave us all the good signs for bringing her and it paid off.”
Leaving from post 4 in the day’s fourth race, Positive Spirit broke best of all but was rated off the early pace by jockey Manny Franco as Filly Joel led the field through honest splits of 24.16 seconds for the opening quarter-mile, 49.19 for the half, and 1:15.51 for three-quarters. Sitting just off the 6-5 favorite Enliven while in third in the early going, Positive Spirit ranged up alongside the top-two around the far turn before promptly dispatching the pair as the field turned for home. From there, the daughter of Pioneerof the Nile steadily extended her advantage, chugging home to stop the clock in 1:56.01 for the 1 ⅛ miles.
“I was just the pilot,” said Franco. “She was dragging me around the entire way around. I just waited for the right moment to make a run and she was there for me. I wasn’t concerned about being floated wide because on the backside we were running straight and didn’t lose ground. I just kept her there so she could stay clean and she really did it easy. She took me to the front to make the lead and when I asked her she really opened up.”
Sent off as an 11-1 outsider, Positive Spirit returned $24.40 on a $2 win wager and upped her career earnings to $219,200 while earning 10 qualifying points toward a berth in the Kentucky Oaks in May.
After settling in near the back of the pack early on, Afleet Destiny put in a sustained rally to finish second by 2 ¼ lengths for owner/trainer Uriah St. Lewis, who is quickly developing a penchant for picking up checks in major NYRA stakes races, as he did with Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup hero Discreet Lover throughout the year. Afleet Destiny’s runner-up finish earned her four points toward a possible start in the Kentucky Oaks.
Filly Joel hung on to finish third to earn two points towards a berth in the Kentucky Oaks, with Molto Bella earning a single point for finishing fourth.
They were followed in order by Enliven, Jennifer’s Dream and Girl of Tosconova.
As for Positive Spirit, the good vibes she engendered on Saturday unquestionably has Brisset looking ahead on the calendar to even bigger spots, but the French horseman was measured when discussing future plans.
“She’s going to head to Payson Park mid next week,” said Brisset, a longtime assistant to Hall of Famer Bill Mott. “I think we’ll give her 30 days. It’s a good place to chill and we can come up with a plan for next year. [Looking forward], who doesn’t want to go to the Kentucky Oaks? Physically, she’s a pretty big filly, but I’d love to see her develop even more in the transition between 2 and 3. Let’s take it month by month.”