Cigar Mile H. (G1) — Race 10 (4:13 p.m. ET)
Trainer Todd Pletcher already has the best three-year-old miler in the country in Life Is Good, but will have the quality backups Americanrevolution and Following Sea primed to go instead in the $750,000 Cigar Mile H. (G1) at Aqueduct on Saturday.
Americanrevolution has been flawless against New York-bred company this season while earning graded-quality speed ratings. Although he’s lost both of his prior starts against open company, he acquitted himself well against some of his generation’s best. Fourth after a slow start to Mandaloun in his debut last season, he finished third behind Hot Rod Charlie and Midnight Bourbon in the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) two starts back.
“He’s been very consistent, and he’s accomplished a lot in a short period of time,” said Pletcher, who’s won the Cigar Mile a record four times. “He’s made a lot of progress. It’s another class test and he’s dropping back in distance (from the 1 1/8-mile Empire Classic) which is always a challenge, but he deserves a chance.”
Following Sea defeated Firenze Fire in the six-furlong Vosburgh (G2) in early October, and last month finished third behind Aloha West and Dr. Schivel in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) at Del Mar.
“He still has to prove himself going further,” Pletcher said. “He’s always given us the impression of a horse that will run further, and he’s certainly built like one that would.”
Two other three-year-olds are in the Cigar Mile. Pipeline was beaten a neck in his stakes debut, the Oct. 23 Perryville S. at Keeneland, for Chad Brown, while the Bill Mott-trained Olympiad steps up following an entry-level allowance win at the Lexington track.
The Cigar Mile’s older contingent is led by Independence Hall, who dominated the Fayette (G2) at Keeneland in October by 7 1/4 lengths over multiple Grade 1 veteran Code of Honor. Independence Hall dominated in the 2019 Nashua (G3) and the Jerome S., on New Year’s Day 2020, over the track and distance.
“His race in the Fayette was very good. He loved the slop,” trainer Michael McCarthy said. “Now he’s going back to Aqueduct, the site of one of his most impressive victories, so we feel good about it. I’m excited about the turnback in distance for him.”
The field is rounded out by Ginobili, the Pat O’Brien (G2) winner who ran a distant second to Life Is Good in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1), and Plainsman, a three-time stakes winner this year, including the Ack Ack (G3).
Earlier in the card, the $250,000 Go for Wand H. (G3), for fillies and mares at one mile, features the 2020 winner Sharp Starr; Delaware H. (G2) heroine Miss Marissa; and Lady Rocket and Truth Hurts, both of whom won divisions of the Pumpkin Pie S. at Belmont on Oct. 31.