(Tale of Silence winning the Westchester Stakes / Photo by Chelsea Durand & Courtesy of NYRA)

From the NYRA Media Team:

Graded stakes-winner Tale of Silence will look to continue a family tradition of winning the Grade 1, $750,000 Cigar Mile on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack.

The lucrative Cigar Mile card, which also features the Grade 2, $250,000 Remsen for 2-year-olds, the Grade 2, $250,000 Demoiselle for 2-year-old fillies, the Grade 3, $250,000 Go for Wand Handicap for older fillies and mares, as well as the rescheduled $150,000 Winter Memories for sophomore fillies and the $125,000 Autumn Days for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up, is the signature event of the Aqueduct fall meet.

Carded as Race 10 with a local post time of 4:16 p.m. Eastern, the Cigar Mile will anchor a mandatory payout in the Empire 6 which boasts a jackpot of $520,913 heading into Thursday’s Big A card.

The Cigar Mile Day card will be televised on a special edition of America’s Day at the Races airing on FS2 and MSG+ from 3-4:30 p.m. Eastern.

Tale of Silence, four-time graded stakes-placed, will be seeking his first trip to the winner’s circle since winning the Grade 3 Westchester at Belmont Park last May.

Trained by Barclay Tagg and owned by Charles Fipke, the son of Tale of the Cat is a full-brother to 2008 Cigar Mile winner Tale of Ekati. Both are out of the Sunday Silence broodmare Silence Beauty – a half-sister to Eclipse Award winner and Hall of Famer Sky Beauty.

“Tale of Ekati was faster but I think this one is better from an overall physical standpoint, but he’s not quite as fast,” Tagg said. “He’s a nice horse. Sometimes if you wait it out there a nice Grade 1 waiting there for you and everyone else goes to the Breeders’ Cup. You can take advantage of that sometimes. He’s got some good natural speed.”

In addition to Tale of Ekati and Tale of Silence, Tagg and Fipke have teamed up to win the Cigar Mile with Jersey Town in 2010.

Tale of Silence arrives at Saturday’s test off a runner-up effort to Cigar Mile rival Maximum Security in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler at Belmont Park and boasts a record of 21-3-5-3 with career earnings of $534,282.


Upset-minded St. Lewis seeks graded stakes scores with Forewarned and Informative

Trainer Uriah St. Lewis and his family’s Trin-Brook Stables will be represented by Forewarned in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile and Informative in the Grade 2 Remsen on Saturday’s lucrative Cigar Mile Day card.

St. Lewis, who won the 2018 Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup with 45-1 shot Discreet Lover, said Forewarned is training well into Saturday’s test where he will leave from post 3 under Anthony Salgado with a morning line assessment of 30-1. The veteran conditioner is banking on a speed duel between likely race favorites Maximum Security and Spun to Run to set up Forewarned’s late charge.

“He’s doing fantastic. He’s training well and he has his regular rider. Hopefully the five [Maximum Security] and the six [Spun to Run] will hook each other and make it very interesting and we should be able to run them down,” said St. Lewis.

The 4-year-old Flat Out colt, who ran fifth in the Grade 1 Whitney this summer at 89-1 at the Spa, has won 7-of-22 career starts. Last out, the Ohio-bred bay captured the Best of Ohio Endurance on October 26 at Mahoning Valley.

“The last race we got him a little easier spot and took him to Ohio to run against his own kind and he beat that field and came back good,” said St. Lewis. “With the speed in this race, we’re hoping they’ll go fast enough that we can come and catch them.”

Informative, a dark bay son of Bodemeister, is 12-1 on the morning line for the nine-furlong Remsen, which offers 10-4-2-1 qualifying points towards the Kentucky Derby for the top four finishers.

Although still a maiden, Informative has posted back-to-back runner-up efforts after adding blinkers three starts back.

“Adding blinkers made a big difference,” said St. Lewis. “He was always looking around and playing. The first few races he run we knew we had a decent horse, but he was always looking around and playing. Once we added blinkers, the jockey said the horse was completely different.”

A modest $25,000 purchase at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale, Informative does have strong pedigree. His third dam, Silvery Swan, produced Grade 1-winners Roman Ruler and 2000 Cigar Mile champ El Corredor.

Informative finished second, by a nose, last out in the James F. Lewis III at Laurel Park on November 16 when sprinting six furlongs. St. Lewis said the improving colt, who has yet to travel beyond seven furlongs, is demonstrating a desire to stretch out in distance.

“We know he can go long. We’ve been training him long,” said St. Lewis. “When he finishes galloping a mile and a half in the morning, he’s still playing and up in the air jumping around. The stronger we gallop him, the more he feels good. We think he can handle the distance. Hopefully, he gets a good trip.”

St. Lewis noted Afleet Destiny, a 3-year-old Hard Spun filly who landed fourth last out in the Grade 3 Comely, will return to racing next spring.

“She’s done until next year. We’ll start her back in March,” said St. Lewis. “Her shoes were pulled after the race. She had a good year.”

Grade 1-winner Discreet Lover, last seen finishing off-the-board in the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic in April, is also back in training at Parx for the veteran conditioner.

“He just came back in and started training this week here at Parx,” said St. Lewis. “He’s jogging and feeling good. We’re looking around April to make his first start and hoping for a decent campaign with him. I expect to be there [in New York] this summer.”


Nicodemus looks for triumphant return in G1 Cigar Mile

Nicodemus continued to train well ahead of his return from his delayed five-month layoff as he prepares for Saturday’s Grade 1 Cigar Mile, trainer Linda Rice said on Thursday.

The 4-year-old Candy Ride colt will be making his first start since running fourth in the seven-furlong Grade 2 John A. Nerud on July 6 at Belmont Park. Nicodemus was vanned off after that contest and needed a chip removed from an ankle after the race.

He returned to the work tab in late October at Belmont and has recorded four official breezes, including a six-furlong work in 1:13.66 on the dirt training track on November 27. Rice entered Nicodemus in the Grade 3, $200,000 Fall Highweight on Sunday, but the race was rescheduled after inclement weather forced the cancelation of the day’s card at Aqueduct.

Owned by Everything’s Cricket Racing and Lawrence Goichman, Nicodemus will run at one mile for the first time since his victory by a neck over Stan the Man in the Grade 3 Westchester on a sloppy and sealed track on May 4 at Belmont.

“He’s won at the distance and I think he’s a good miler. It’s obviously a very tough race to come back in but we’re excited about running in it and went ahead and took a shot,” Rice said. “We discussed the options with the owners and they were excited about running in the Cigar Mile.”

Nicodemus, with a 3-2-0 record in nine career starts, earned two of those victories at one mile in three total attempts. He drew post 7 in the 11-horse field and is listed as 20-1 on the morning line.

“He’s won a Grade 3 at a one turn mile and I think he likes being a closer and those races set up well for him. I don’t think he wants to run two turns, per se. This competition will be much tougher than he’s faced in the past,” Rice said. “I think the post position is fine; middle of the pack.”

Nicodemus will also pick up the services of jockey Manny Franco, who last had the call during his second-place finish in the 2018 Curlin at Saratoga Race Course.

“Manny is a great rider, we all know that,” Rice said. “We’re happy to have him.”


(Whitmore / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

Whitmore arrives at the Big A for G1 Cigar Mile

Robert LaPenta, Southern Springs Stables and Head of Plains Partners’ Whitmore arrived at Aqueduct late Wednesday evening to prepare for Saturday’s Grade 1 Cigar Mile.

“We arrived late last night. He’s sharp this morning,” said Laura Moquett, assistant trainer to her husband, Ron. “He’s in good order. He walked the shed row today and we’ll get out to the track with him tomorrow morning.”

Third last out in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint, Whitmore boasts a record of 12-9-3 from 30 starts and purse earnings in excess of $2.8 million. He won his only start at Aqueduct sprinting 6 ½-furlongs in 2016.

“Last time he came to New York we shipped to Belmont and rode the shuttle over to Aqueduct and he was a little too sharp,” said Moquett. “So, we decided to ship straight in here this time. He really seemed to like the track here.”

Whitmore, who captured the Grade 1 Forego at Saratoga in 2018, will stretch out beyond seven furlongs for the first time since an off-the-board effort in the 2016 Kentucky Derby.

Moquett said she is confident the talented chestnut can get the job done.

“I always have confidence in him. It’s easy to have confidence in the redhead,” laughed Moquett. “He’s begging for more distance. He always loves seven furlong races and one of his best races was up at Saratoga last year. But, he always seems a little short on mileage when going the sprint route. So, he’ll get a little stretch out here to see how he likes it.”


(Shug McGaughey / Photo by Gene McLean)

McGaughey to set up Oaklawn division for the winter

For the first time in over three decades, Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey will have a division of horses at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas this upcoming winter.

McGaughey, who primarily operates out of Payson Park in Indiantown, Florida for the winter, will send a small division of horses to the Hot Springs oval with most of them being owned by Shortleaf Stable, which is headed by Arkansas native John Ed Anthony.

McGaughey and Anthony have been acquainted with one another for over 30 years. The two teamed up to campaign eventual 1985 Champion Older Horse Vanlandingham, who raced under Anthony’s Loblolly Stable. Vanlandingham won the 1984 Rebel at Oaklawn en route to a start in that year’s Kentucky Derby, where he finished 16th.

The small string of horses will be supervised by McGaughey’s son and assistant Reeve.

“I’ve got eight or ten horses for him and he lives in Hot Springs and he was looking for someone that would stable there,” McGaughey said. “I’ll send my son over there with them and it’ll be his operation and give him a chance to start on his own. That’s the reason we’re going there, but the purses are enticing.”

McGaughey’s first graded stakes winner took place at Oaklawn Park in 1978 when Northernette won the Grade 2 Apple Blossom, which now boasts Grade 1 status.

Oaklawn Park’s 2020 meet is set to kick off January 24 and will race through May 2.


Needs Supervision enters G3 Go For Wand off week layoff

Needs Supervision gave trainer Jeremiah O’Dwyer his first stakes victory as a trainer when she won the Silverbulletday at Fair Grounds in January. This Saturday, the sophomore daughter of Paynter could give the native of County Tipperary, Ireland his first graded stakes winner when she races in the Grade 3, $250,000 Go For Wand over the Aqueduct main track.

Owned by Gary Barber, Wachtel Stables, Madaket Stables and Mike Karty, Needs Supervision enters the one mile test one week after capturing the Safely Kept at Laurel Park.

O’Dwyer said the brief amount of rest won’t be an issue for the dual stakes winner.

“It’s a bit of a quicker turnaround than I would like, but at the moment we’re planning on coming up,” O’Dwyer said. “I’m not opposed to running a horse back quickly if they’re training well enough. I’m expecting for her to make a good account for herself. She ran well in her last race at Laurel and this race came up with a short field so it seemed like a good opportunity to get a Grade 3.”

Needs Supervision, who was purchased by O’Dwyer for $55,000 from the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Mid Atlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale, broke her maiden at second asking at Laurel last November where she defeated eventual stakes winner Fashion Faux Pas and subsequently defeated winners at Churchill Downs next out, including Grade 1-placed Meadow Dance and graded stakes-placed Lightscameraaction.

Boasting a consistent record of 8-4-2-0, Needs Supervision’s only off-the-board placings took place against graded stakes company. O’Dwyer believes that a one-turn mile is her ideal distance.

“The one-turn mile hits her right between the eyes. I wouldn’t be opposed to stretching her out to two turns further down the road,” O’Dwyer said.

O’Dwyer will also saddle Gary Barber, Wachtel Stable, Pantofel Stable and Blue River Investment Partners’ Shotski in Saturday’s Grade 2 Remsen. The bay son of Blame scratched out of Saturday’s Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs.


New York-bred Chestertown to join Asmussen’s string at Fair Grounds

Following a highly impressive maiden score at Aqueduct Racetrack in his second career start, royally-bred Chestertown will ship to New Orleans to join Hall of Fame conditioner Steve Asmussen’s winter string at Fair Grounds.

Purchased for $2 million from the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s March 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale, the gray or roan son of Tapit defeated his Empire State-bred counterpart by 2 ¾ lengths going a flat mile on December 1 under jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr.

Chestertown is owned by West Point Thoroughbreds in partnership with Chester and Mary Broman, Woodford Racing, Siena Farm and Robert Masiello.

“He’ll ship to Fair Grounds in the next couple of days. It’s where Steve’s main string is in the winter. But the good thing is that we know he likes Aqueduct. Irad got off him and said that he moved very well over the track,” said West Point Thoroughbreds’ Terry Finley.

Asmussen has enjoyed success training progeny of the prolific Tapit, including 2016 Belmont Stakes winner Creator and Eclipse Award-winner Untapable.

“We had horses with Steve in the early 2000’s but over the years the opportunities hadn’t presented themselves. We know what Steve is capable of doing with Tapit progeny and he’s the go-to guy when it comes to training them,” Finley said. “It’s fascinating how he can compare and contrast. They have great constitutions but they are not easy to train. Steve said that he’s had good ones that will run well once, but it can take them a while to get back in sync. This one is the opposite and that’s always a good sign with Tapits.”

Co-owners Chester and Mary Broman, who bred Chestertown and are strong supporters of the New York racing product, also owned Chestertown’s two-time Grade 1-winning mother Artemis Agrotera.

“Chester Broman and I met 25 years ago and I’ve got to know his son pretty well,” Finley said. “We’ve seen a lot more of that in the business – likeminded people joining forces. I loved that Chester was open to partnering with us. There’s nothing that I, or we, would like more than to ride to the mountaintop with the Bromans.

“Mike Hushion [Artemis Agrotera’s trainer] was one of the most respected horsemen in the history of NYRA,” Finley added. “He thought she was one of the most talented horses that he trained.”

Finley has faith that Chestertown will be a horse that can successfully stretch out in distance.

“This is that time where over the next 60-90 days we’ll see the men separated from the boys and he gives us the impression that he wants to go far,” said Finley.

Finley noted that there can be some uncertainty when purchasing a horse at auction, but said that was not the case when purchasing Chestertown.

“We saw an opportunity that we hadn’t seen before,” Finley said. “There was a lot of good mojo coming together. I felt very comfortable. It’s such a beautiful thing to walk into the sales ring knowing that everyone has your back.”


Baker eyeing cosmic upset with Our Super Nova in G3 Go for Wand

New York-bred filly Our Super Nova will step up to face graded stakes competition for the first time in her career in Saturday’s Grade 3 Go for Wand.

Trainer Charlie Baker, who co-owns the 4-year-old with Michael Foster and Lauren Linn, said his charge is in good form heading into Saturday’s test.

Installed at odds of 6-1 on the morning line, the Boys At Tosconova filly enters the Go for Wand off an impressive 4 ½ length victory in the Staten Island New Stallion Stakes Series on November 10 at Aqueduct. A race prior, at odds of 20-1, Our Super Nova came from off the pace to finish a game second, by a head, in the Empire Distaff on October 19 at Belmont Park.

With a stellar four wins from six starts and a pair of seconds at a mile, Baker said Our Super Nova enters the Go For Wand as a prime contender.

“She’s really coming into this race in great shape and it’s at a distance we know she likes,” said Baker. “She started this year off running in a lot of sprint races and when we finally got to stretch her out more in her last two starts she really showed her ability. It really wasn’t a surprise to me she outran her odds in the [Empire] Distaff. I always knew once we could get her back to stretching out she would show her best form and she continued to do so in the Staten Island.”

Junior Alvarado, who has ridden Our Super Nova in her last six starts, will be charged with working out a winning trip from post 6.

“Junior knows her so well,” said Baker. “He’s an accomplished rider and they have good rapport, so I’ll leave it up to him on where we end up after the break. We know it’s a tough field, but she’s coming into this race in good shape so we’ll give it our best shot.”