(Firenze Fire / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

From the NYRA Media Team:

  • Firenze Fire to target G1 Cigar Mile
  • Funny Guy works ahead of NYSSS Thunder Rumble; Stan the Man preps for G3 Fall Highweight
  • Albertrani pleased with upset maiden winner Wolfie’s Dynaghost; Sadler’s Joy on track for G3 Red Smith
  • G1 Cigar Mile or G3 Fall Highweight on tap for Majestic Dunhill
  • Cross Country Pick 5 wager with Churchill Downs continues throughout November
  • Aqueduct fall meet Week 3 stakes probables

Trainer Kelly Breen said Mr. Amore Stable’s multiple graded-stakes winner Firenze Fire will make his next start in the Grade 1, $250,000 Cigar Mile on December 5 at Aqueduct Racetrack.

“He’s back at Belmont and that’s what we’re pointing for,” said Breen.

The 5-year-old Poseidon’s Warrior bay rallied from 11th to finish third last out in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint on November 7 at Keeneland Racetrack under Jose Lezcano.

“It was a good race,” said Breen.

Breen said Lezcano, aboard for Firenze Fire’s Grade 2 Vosburgh Invitational win on September 26 at Belmont, will retain the mount for the Cigar Mile.

Top contenders confirmed for the Cigar Mile include Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby-winner King Guillermo and 2019 Grade 3 Discovery-winner Performer. Other horses under consideration for the Cigar Mile include New York-bred millionaire Mr. Buff and last-out Grade 3 Bold Ruler Handicap-winner Majestic Dunhill.

Breen took over training duties for Firenze Fire earlier this year and has saddled the horse to a record of two wins from six starts, including a victory in the Grade 2 True North on June 27 on a fast Belmont main track. Two of Firenze Fire’s losses for Breen came in Grade 1 events – the Runhappy Carter Handicap at Belmont and the Forego presented by America’s Best Racing at Saratoga – on sloppy tracks.

The Cigar Mile Day card also includes a pair of Grade 2, $150,000 nine-furlong events for juveniles in the Remsen and its filly counterpart, the Demoiselle, as well as the Grade 3, $100,000 Go for Wand Handicap for fillies and mares at one mile.

Breen will send out New Jersey-bred Pickin’ Time, a John Bowers, Jr. homebred, in the Remsen. The Stay Thirsty colt earned an 82 Beyer Speed Figure last out, winning the Grade 3 Nashua at a one-turn mile on the Big A main.

“He came out of it in good order,” said Breen.

Breen said Mr. Amore Stable’s New York homebred It’s a Gamble could target the $100,000 Central Park, a 1 1/16-mile turf tile for juveniles on November 28 at Aqueduct.

“I’m not sure what we’re going to do, but that is a possibility,” said Breen.

The English Channel bay graduated at first asking in a state-bred turf sprint on August 13 at Saratoga ahead of a fourth in the one-mile Nownownow on October 4 on the Monmouth Park turf. Last out, on October 31, It’s a Gamble bobbled at the start of the 1 1/16-mile Awad on yielding Belmont turf and failed to menace when seventh.

Gary and Mary West’s Full Impact, a 3-year-old Street Sense colt, earned a 94 Beyer for his impressive 4 1/2-length score in a first-level allowance on November 13 contested at 6 1/2-furlongs on a sloppy and sealed Big A main.

Out of the multiple graded stakes winning Even the Score mare Four Gifts, Full Impact was purchased for $140,000 at the Keenland September Yearling Sale.

Breen said no future targets have been set as of yet for the promising colt.

Funny Guy works ahead of NYSSS Thunder Rumble; Stan the Man preps for G3 Fall Highweight

A pair of stakes contenders for trainer John Terranova were on Sunday’s work tab at Belmont, with Funny Guy working in preparation for the $100,000 New York Stallion Stakes Series Thunder Rumble next Sunday at Aqueduct and Stan the Man preparing for the Grade 3, $100,000 Fall Highweight Handicap on Sunday, November 29.

Both horses covered five furlongs in 1:01.10.

“They both breezed this morning and looked great,” Terranova said. “We’re looking at the stallion stakes with Thunder Rumble next weekend and with Stan the Man, we thought the Fall Highweight would be a good spot.”

Owned by Gatsas Stables, R.A. Hill Stable and Swick Stable, Funny Guy is coming off a fourth-place effort in the Empire Classic that highlighted Empire Showcase Day on October 24 at Belmont. After a troubled trip in the 1 1/8-mile route, Terranova said he is confident the cutback in distance to the seven-furlong Thunder Rumble could be beneficial.

The 4-year-old Big Brown colt has enjoyed success in sprints, running second in the six-furlong Grade 2 Vosburgh over Belmont’s Big Sandy, 2 3/4-lengths back to Firenze Fire.

“He came back really well, it was just the dynamics of the last race didn’t set up too well,” Terranova said. “We had a pace that didn’t unfold and [eventual winner] Mr. Buff is a really good horse and got loose on the lead there. We were hoping for a little more speed to run into that day, but there’s nothing you can do.”

Funny Guy is a four-time stakes winner, including a pair this year in the Commentary on June 12 at Belmont and a two-length score in the John Morrisey on July 30 at Saratoga Race Course. He is returning to the Big A, where he sports a 2-1-0 in four starts.

Stan the Man has earned Beyer Speed Figures in excess of 90 in his last three starts, starting with a runner-up effort in the Grade 2 True North on June 27 at Belmont before capturing the Tale of the Cat on August 20 at Saratoga. Last out, the 6-year-old son of Broken Vow earned blacktype in the Grade 2 Kelso Handicap going one mile at Belmont, finishing third.

Terranova will see Stan the Man cut back to the Tale of the Cat distance in the Fall Highweight and return to familiar surroundings, having compiled a 5-4-1 record in 14 career starts at the Big A.

“It should be a race that suits him and he should be able to fit in well with that group of sprinters,” Terranova said. “But they’re both training really well.”

For the upcoming stakes schedule at Aqueduct, Terranova said Breadman, who ran third against fellow New York breds in the Sleepy Hollow on October 24 over the Belmont main track, could be slated for the $100,000 Central Park for juveniles going 1 1/16 miles on turf on November 28.

Breadman, owned by Eric Fein and bred by Newtownanner Stud, won his debut on September 26 at Belmont going one mile on the turf.

Albertrani pleased with upset maiden winner Wolfie’s Dynaghost; Sadler’s Joy on track for G3 Red Smith

Trainer Tom Albertrani said he was cautiously optimistic when debuting well-bred first time starter Wolfie’s Dynaghost, and his faith paid off in a big way as the son of multiple champion producing stallion Ghostzapper pulled off a 33-1 upset in a seven-furlong maiden special weight sprint on Saturday at the Big A.

A Woodslane Farm homebred, Wolfie’s Dynaghost is a half-brother to multiple turf graded stakes-winning multimillionaire Sadler’s Joy. Despite the heavy turf pedigree, Wolfie’s Dynaghost took to the main track quite well, taking command with a furlong out from the wire and strolling home a 1 ½-length winner.

“The horse was showing lots of potential and talent working on the dirt,” Albertrani said. “He was doing so well. He ran very impressively. I was expecting a big effort, but I was cautiously optimistic. I had a good feeling about him handling it all.”

Albertrani said Wolfie’s Dynaghost will likely ship to South Florida alongside Albertrani’s division at Palm Meadows Training Center, where he is primarily based during the winter months, and possibly see stakes action at some point in the future.

“We’re probably going to regroup, ship to Florida and just get a feel for him when he gets down to Florida and see what the next step might be,” Albertrani said. “Hopefully, he’ll be an exciting horse to target some bigger things.”

A Kentucky homebred, Wolfie’s Dynaghost is out of the Dynaformer mare Dynaire, who, in addition to Sadler’s Joy, also produced stakes-placed Lunaire as well as Dyna Passer, third in the Jockey Club Oaks Invitational last September.

Albertrani confirmed that Sadler’s Joy will make his next start in the Grade 3, $100,000 Red Smith on Saturday at the Big A.

The son of Kitten’s Joy seeks back-to-back wins in the 11-furlong event on the grass, while attempting to become the first horse to do so since Phipps Stables’ Boisterous captured the Red Smith in 2011-12.

The four-time stakes winner is in search of his first win since last year’s Red Smith and has finished third in four of his seven starts in 2020.

Albertrani said plans are in flux following the Red Smith, as Sadler’s Joy could be retired to stud.

“He’s doing well. He’s going to head for the Red Smith next week. After that, we’ll make some decisions as far as his future is concerned in terms of being a stallion,” Albertrani said. “He hasn’t really missed a step for a horse that’s going to be turning 8, he still enjoys himself and his training. We’re hoping to find a home for him as a stallion.”

Sadler’s Joy, who made his first start in May 2016, has accumulated over $2.6 million in lifetime earnings with his career highlights taking place in winning the Grade 1 Sword Dancer Invitational in 2017 at Saratoga. The following year, he rounded out the trifecta behind international superstars Enable and Magical in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs.

G1 Cigar Mile or G3 Fall Highweight on tap for Majestic Dunhill

Trainer George Weaver said R.A. Hill Stable’s Majestic Dunhill, who made the grade last out in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler Handicap at Belmont Park, will make his next start at the Big A in either the six-furlong Grade 3 Fall Highweight Handicap or the Grade 1 Cigar Mile.

The 5-year-old Majesticperfection gelding was game to the wire to win the seven-furlong Bold Ruler by a head over Share the Ride on a muddy Belmont main track. Weaver said he will take a close look at how both the Fall Highweight and Cigar Mile fields shape up before deciding.

“We’ll see how both races come up. I’m sure the Cigar Mile will have some heavyweights in there,” said Weaver. “Majestic Dunhill is a gelding, so we’re not looking to establish stud value with him. We’re trying to make as much money as possible and spot him as best we can. The way the two fields stack up will factor heavily in our decision. He’s a fun horse to have.”

Majestic Dunhill, who earned a career-best 100 Beyer winning the Bold Ruler, boasts a record of 21-5-4-4 with purse earnings of $373,214.

Weaver said he may also have a contender for the Cigar Mile undercard with Brereton C. Jones’ Dollar Mountain in the Grade 2, $150,000 Demoiselle at nine furlongs on the main track.

The dark bay daughter of Upstart garnered a 64 Beyer Speed Figure when graduating by 5 1/2-lengths at second asking on October 16 in an off-the-turf 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight contested on a sloppy and sealed Belmont strip.

“Dollar Mountain broke her maiden nicely and she could be in consideration for the Demoiselle,” said Weaver.

Jim and Susan Hill’s Lead Guitar, a 4-year-old daughter of Maclean’s Music bred in New York by Windylea Farm, will look to run her win streak to four in the $100,000 Autumn Days, an open six-furlong turf sprint for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up slated for November 29 at the Big A.

The talented bay launched her career in June 2019 under Weaver’s care, including a third-out graduation on the Saratoga turf under Luis Saez.

After making the first four starts of her 4-year-old campaign for trainer Eddie Kenneally, including a restricted August 20 optional-claiming sprint score on the Saratoga turf, Lead Guitar returned to Weaver’s care and captured an open optional-claiming turf sprint on the front end on September 20 at Belmont ahead of a rallying score in the open Floral Park on October 17 over six furlongs of soft turf at Belmont.

Weaver said the filly, who sports a record of 10-5-2-1 with purse earnings of $235,678, likes to win races.

“She’s a New York-bred and she has a lot of talent and that helps her knock out some wins,” said Weaver. “She’s consistent in open company races too and she’s developed into a really nice turf sprinter.”

R.A. Hill Stable and Gatsas Stables’ Vekoma was retired from racing and will stand stud at Spendthrift Farm in 2021. The Candy Ride chestnut spiked a temperature in the build up to what was to be his final career start in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Keeneland.

“He was training great. We had some feet trouble with him over the summer and we got him going right and he ended up developing a fever when it was time to go over there and run,” said Weaver. “It was disappointing, but we’re so proud of the horse and he’s going on to his second career. We’re all really happy for him.”

A six-time winner from eight starts with more than $1.2 million in purse earnings, Vekoma graduated on debut in September 2018 at Belmont Park and followed with a score in the 2018 Grade 3 Nashua at the Big A.

The popular chestnut added the 2019 Grade 2 Blue Grass to his ledger at Keeneland ahead of finishing 12th in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby. Vekoma was perfect in three starts this season, including Grade 1 wins at Belmont in the Runhappy Carter Handicap in June and the Runhappy Met Mile in July.

“He provided us with many memories. The Blue Grass win was special but to come back and win the Carter and Met Mile, those are big races, too,” said Weaver.

Cross Country Pick 5 wager with Churchill Downs continues throughout November

The popular Cross Country Pick 5 wager, hosted by the New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA), continues throughout November when there is thoroughbred racing from both Aqueduct Racetrack and Churchill Downs.

The minimum bet for the multi-track, multi-race wager is 50 cents. Every day will feature a mandatory payout of the net pool.

November will feature 12 Cross Country Pick 5 wagers from the fall meets at Aqueduct Racetrack and Churchill Downs though to Sunday, November 29, which is closing day of Churchill’s fall meet. In addition to today’s card at the Big A, the wagers will take place on days when both tracks are racing.

Those Cross Country Pick 5 days will be:

  • Thursday, Nov. 19 – Sunday, Nov. 22 (four days); and
  • Friday, Nov. 27 – Sunday, Nov. 29 (three days)

Live coverage will be available with America’s Day at the Races on FOX Sports and MSG Networks. Free Equibase past performances for all Cross Country Pick 5 sequences will be available for download at https://www.nyra.com/aqueduct/racing/cross-country-wagers.

The 2020 fall meet at Aqueduct Racetrack will begin on Friday, November 6 and continue through Sunday, December 6. Highlighted by the 32nd renewal of the Grade 1, $250,000 Cigar Mile on Saturday, December 5, the 18-day fall meet at Aqueduct features 29 stakes, including 11 graded events, worth $3.41 in purses.

NYRA Bets is the official wagering platform of Aqueduct Racetrack, and the best way to bet every race of the fall meet. Available to horseplayers nationwide, the NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at www.NYRABets.com.

Aqueduct fall meet Week 3 stakes probables

Saturday, November 21

Grade 3, $100,000 Red Smith

Probable: Doctor Mounty (Shug McGaughey), North Dakota (McGaughey), Postulation (Michael Matz), Real Factor (James Lawrence), Red Knight (Bill Mott), Sadler’s Joy (Tom Albertrani), Tintoretto (Albertrani), Ziyad (Graham Motion)

Possible: Dot Matrix (Brad Cox)

Sunday, November 22

$100,000 NYSSS Thunder Rumble

Probable: Arthur’s Hope (Marco Salazar), Bankit (Steve Asmussen), Binkster (Raymond Handal), Funny Guy (John Terranova), My Boy Tate (Michelle Nevin), T Loves a Fight (Orlando Noda)

$100,000 NYSSS Staten Island

Probable: Collegeville Girl (Richard Vega), Espresso Shot (Jorge Abreu), Fight On Lucy (Patrick Kelly), Officer Hutchy (Rob Atras), Prairie Fire (Linda Rice)

Possible: Sadie Lady (Atras)