The Grade I, $750,000 Cigar Mile, the centerpiece of the Aqueduct fall meeting, is their feature race this Saturday. A field of 11, headlined by MAXIMUM SECURITY, will compete in one of the last Grade I events on the calendar. Post time for the Cigar Mile, the finale on a 10-race program at “The Big A,” is 4:16 p.m. ET.
#5 MAXIMUM SECURITY (3-2, morning-line favorite) was last seen acing Belmont’s Bold Ruler Stakes, a logical prep for the Cigar. Prior to that, the son of New Year’s Day scored in the Grade I Haskell at Monmouth. MAXIMUM SECURITY is 6-for-8 lifetime and has proven his talent over a variety of distances, so he should be able to negotiate the one-mile trip. As long as Luis Saez keeps this Jason Servis trainee from engaging in a suicidal speed duel with SPUN TO RUN, he should take a trip to the winner’s circle on Saturday.
#8 NETWORK EFFECT (15-1) seems ambitiously spotted by the normally judicial Chad Brown, but this one could be sitting on a lifetime-best effort here. The son of Mark Valeski overcame a five-wide trip to beat allowance foes over this course last month. It was his first start since running second in Aqueduct’s Remsen Stakes last December. NETWORK EFFECT should move forward off that prep victory under Javier Castellano.
#6 SPUN TO RUN (5-2) will be looking to prove that his Breeders’ Cup Mile win was no fluke. He will almost certainly face early pressure from the classy MAXIMUM SECURITY, making his job that much tougher in the Cigar. However, SPUN TO RUN is training well in the lead-up to this start and Irad Ortiz Jr. remains aboard.
#4 PAT ON THE BACK (15-1) was last seen running third in the Empire Classic against state-breds, but two starts ago he broke through for a Grade II victory in the Kelso. Dylan Davis rides this consistent son of Congrats that should offer value underneath.
The play: $4 exacta 5/6,8, $2 exacta 5/4 ($10)
Follow me on Twitter: @itsgood2beking