Maximum Security can clinch championship in Cigar Mile
By New York Hot List Staff
Maximum Security was named the 3-2 morning line favorite for the $750,000 Grade 1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct on Saturday. The Jason Servis trainee can clinch the 3-year-old division championship with a victory in the one-turn mile.
It has been a year of ups and downs for Maximum Security highlighted by Grade 1 victories in the Florida Derby and the Haskell Invitational, along with the historic disqualification in the Kentucky Derby after crossing the finish line first.
He will have to beat a talented field of 11 which includes three other sophomores and seven older horses. His main competitor will be the 5-2 second choice Spun to Run who ships to New York from Parx Racing after a dominant victory in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile that earned a 109 Beyer Speed Figure for trainer Juan Carlos Guerrero.
In the Dirt Mile where he defeated Omaha Beach, the 3-year-old ended up alone on the lead with the nation’s leading jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.
“He didn’t have to go head and head. I knew from there he would be tough to beat,” said Guerrero. “With his blinkers on, no matter how fast he’s going, he’s in his own little world. It wasn’t that he was going to wait for horses, it was just a matter of when the rider asked him, he was going to take off. In the straightaway, he started lugging out but Irad made him change leads nicely and that was it. I really thought we were winners at the half-mile.”
Since that Grade 1 win, he has posted a pair of bullet works including a five furlong effort in 59.88 on Saturday at Parx.
“Both works have been solid. He’s coming into the race very nicely,” said Guerrero. “I thought he might have went a little fast in Saturday’s work, but watching him gallop today, if anything, it made him pick up the bit even more. Today was a key day to see what the work took out of him and if anything it put him right back into the bit. He’s pumped up. He’s ready to go.”
The 6-year-old Whitmore exits a third-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint with morning line odds of 8-1. He will make his first start at the mile distance for trainer Ron Moquett, but he should get an ideal set-up for the closing move which has produced a career record of 30: 12-9-3 and earned his connections almost $3 million.
“He’s a very honest horse and he has a lot of ability. I’m proud of the consistency that he brings, and I’m excited about trying something new with him,” said Moquett.
Moquett figures that the one-turn mile is the ideal spot to take a chance at the stretch-out.
“Until we do it, you don’t know, but we’re hoping it will set up for him,” said Moquett. “There’s a lot of good horses in here that are going to try and impose their will. You could probably run a race like this over three and four times and have different circumstances every time.”
The Cigar Mile is scheduled as the final race out of 10 on the Aqueduct card and serves as the final leg of the Special Saturday Pick 3. Full analysis of the feature, the rest of the card, and that Pick 3 from the New York Hot List team is available free of charge on this website.