The third time in the $250,000 Cigar Mile H. (G1) was the charm for True Timber at Aqueduct on Saturday as the veteran 6-year-old sprung un upset while recording his first win in more than two years and his first ever in stakes company.
A narrowly-beaten second to Patternrecognition in the 2018 Cigar Mile but a more distant third behind Maximum Security in last year’s renewal, True Timber was sent away at 7-1 in the 2020 edition, which was held over a sloppy track.
In the catbird seat down the backside as King Guillermo and Mr. Buff exchanged leads through testing fractions of :22.89, :45.82, True Timber glided into contention with a three-wide move from third around the far turn and opened up a one-length lead by the quarter pole
Under Kendrick Carmouche, True Timer built up a large advantage heading toward the finish and comfortably won by 5 1/2 lengths from Snapper Sinclair, with odds-on favorite Performer a neck behind that rival in third. Farther back were King Guillermo, Mr. Buff, and the winner’s stablemate Bon Raison.
“I had perfect position leaving the gate and all the way around there,” said Carmouche, who was recording his first Grade 1 win as a rider. “Right before we got to the quarter pole, I pulled the trigger and I knew they were going to have to run me down from here.”
Owned by Calumet Farm and trained by Jack Sisterson, True Timber paid $16.60 after completing the mile in 1:36.49.
This was True Timber’s first visit to the winner’s circle since September 2018 when he won at Belmont Park for the third time in allowance company that season. In addition to the two Cigar Miles, his numerous stakes placings include the 2017 editions of the Jerome (G3) and Withers (G3), the 2018 Kelso H. (G2), and two editions of the Bold Ruler H. (G3) for previous trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who retired earlier this year.
Joining the Sisterson barn following McLaughlin’s retirement, True Timber had placed in three of four outings prior to Saturday’s race including, the Aug. 29 Forego (G1) at Saratoga and the 7 Lafayette S. at Keeneland on the Nov. 7 Breeders’ Cup undercard. His record now stands at 39-5-5-9, $1,215,150.
Bred in Kentucky by Mr. and Mrs. Marc Ferrell, True Timber is by Mineshaft and out of Queen’s Wood, by Tiznow. This is the same female family as 2003 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Pleasantly Perfect. He sold for $140,000 as a Keeneland November weanling.
Go for Wand Handicap
Sharp Starr, whose only previous attempt in open company had been a seventh-place effort in the Black-Eyed Susan (G2) in early October, proved up to the task in the $100,000 Go for Wand H. (G3) when edging long-time leader Portal Creek by a neck after a prolonged stretch duel.
Ridden by Jose Ortiz for owner Barry Schwartz and trainer Horacio DePaz, Sharp Starr paid $4.50 after covering one mile in 1:36.75. Portal Creek finished 12 lengths clear of Nonna Madeline, who was narrowly favored over Sharp Starr.
This was the first stakes win for Sharp Starr, who finished a close third in the Fleet Indian S. for New York-breds prior to the Black-Eyed Susan. The daughter of Munnings preceded this victory with a 15 3/4-length allowance romp against state-breds at Aqueduct on Nov. 7.
Bred by Stonewall Farm, Sharp Starr is out of Mindy Gold, by A.P. Indy. The 3-year-old’s third dam was the multiple Grade 1-winning Classy Cathy.