LEXINGTON, Ky. (December 6, 2019) –Throughout the year, the NTRA will provide a guide to the best stakes races in North America and beyond. Races are listed in chronological order (all times Eastern). Full previews when available can be found through the link for each race.
The Cigar Mile card featuring four graded stakes is the signature event of the Aqueduct fall meet. The headline race boasts Grade 1 winner Maximum Security and Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile victor Spun to Run while juveniles take the spotlight in the Grade 2 Remsen and Demoiselle. Two-year-olds also hold court at Los Alamitos where the Grade 2 Los Alamitos Futurity and Grade 1 Starlet Stakes highlight the track’s winter Thoroughbred meet.
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. ET.
Saturday December 7
2:09 p.m.—$250,000 Grade 3 Go for Wand Handicap at Aqueduct on TVG
Three-time graded stakes winner Spiced Perfection will make her first start since competing in the Breeders’ Cup last month, headlining a six-horse field in the one-mile Go for Wand for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up. Spiced Perfection is coming off a fourth-place finish in the seven-furlong Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint on November 2 at Santa Anita, nine lengths back to winner Covfefe. Before making the West Coast trip, the 4-year-old daughter of Smiling Tiger edged Dawn the Destroyer by a head to win the Grade 2 Thoroughbred Club of America on October 5 at Keeneland, winning on the same track where she captured the seven-furlong Grade 1 Madison Stakes on April 6 by a neck.
3:13 p.m.—$250,000 Grade 2 Demoiselle Stakes at Aqueduct on FS2 and TVG
Coming off a 5 ½ length victory in the $150,000 Tempted on November 1, Courtlandt Farms’ Maedean will make her graded stakes debut in headlining a full field of 12 in the Demoiselle, which offers 10-4-2-1 qualifying points towards the Kentucky Oaks to the top-four finishers. A daughter of Tapit purchased for $450,000 at the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, Maedean broke her maiden at second asking by 1 ¼ lengths on October 5 at Belmont after finishing fourth in her debut.
3:43 p.m.—$250,000 Grade 2 Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct on FS2 and TVG
A field of nine juveniles will hope to garner qualifying points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby in the 106th edition of the Remsen, which is the first of five local preps for the “Run for the Roses”. The Remsen offers 10-4-2-1 points towards the Kentucky Derby on May 2 and is also the only graded stakes event on the North American stakes calendar for 2-year-old colts going 1 1/8 miles. Trainer Todd Pletcher will send out a pair of contenders in Alpha Sixty Six and stakes-placed Chase Tracker. Alpha Sixty Six broke his maiden first out on September 7 over the Belmont Park main track as the lukewarm favorite before running a troubled fifth in the Grade 1 Champagne while Chase Tracker enters the Remsen off a distant third in the Grade 3 Nashua to runaway winner Independence Hall.
4:16 p.m.—$750,000 Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap at Aqueduct on FS2 and TVG
Multiple Grade 1-winner Maximum Security and Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile victor Spun to Run headline a talented field of 11 for the 31st running of the Cigar Mile Handicap. Maximum Security has won six of eight career starts, including Grade 1 scores in the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park in March and the Haskell Invitational on July 20 at Monmouth Park. Last out, Maximum Security returned off a three-month layoff following his Haskell score to capture the Grade 3 Bold Ruler against older company at Belmont. Spun to Run, trained by Juan Carlos Guerrero, boasts a record of 5-1-3 from 11 career starts. The son of Hard Spun arrives at the Cigar Mile from a 9-1 front-running score over Omaha Beach in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile on November 2 at Santa Anita Park.
4:58 p.m.—$200,000 Grade 2 Los Alamitos Futurity at Los Alamitos on TVG
Anneau d’Or, runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, is part of a compact field of four entrants set to contest the Los Alamitos Futurity, which offers Kentucky Derby qualifying points on a 10-4-2-1 basis to its top finishers. Trained by Blaine Wright, Anneau d’Or came into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile off a maiden win and was beaten just head by Storm the Court. Hall of Famer Bob Baffert has half the field with 8-5 morning-line favorite Thousand Words and Grade 3 winner High Velocity.
6:28 p.m.—$300,000 Grade 1 Starlet Stakes at Los Alamitos on TVG
Donna Veloce and Bast, the second and third-place finishers in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies on November 1, head up a field of five entered for the 1 1/16-miles Starlet Stakes. Donna Veloce, from the barn of Simon Callaghan, will be making just her third career start having broken her maiden at first asking at Santa Anita on September 28. Trained by Bob Baffert, Bast captured the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante and Chandelier Stakes before finishing third to race winner British Idiom in the Juvenile Fillies.
Sunday December 8
6:58 p.m.—$100,000 Grade 3 Bayakoa Stakes at Los Alamitos on TVG
Mirth, winner of the Grade 1 Rodeo Drive Stakes over the Santa Anita Park turf course in September, switches to the main track when she faces seven challengers in the 1 1/16-miles Bayakoa Stakes. Trained by Phil D’Amato for Little Red Feather Racing, Mirth opened up a lengthy lead last time out in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, but weakened late to finish sixth. That effort came after the 4-year-old daughter of Colonel John led throughout to win the Rodeo Drive at 1 ¼ miles, her fifth career victory.