Anchor Down Tries to Speed Ahead of Connect, Economic Model and Divining Rod in Cigar Mile
Anchor Down is the speed of the speed as the favorite in Saturday’s $500,000 Cigar Mile (G1) at Aqueduct. But the gorgeous gray son of Tapit will be challenged by Connect (5-2) and another Tapit colt, Divining Rod (8-1). Trainer Todd Pletcher saved Anchor Down for this race instead of running in the Las Vegas Breeders’ Cup Mile. Anchor Down beat Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Tamarkuz in his last race, the Kelso Handicap Oct. 8 at Belmont, going wire-to-wire and just missing the track record with his 1:32.90 time.
“He’s got good tactical speed and it seems like he’s proven that a one-turn mile is his favorite trip,” Pletcher said. “Anytime you can run a solid 1:33 mile, you’re in rarefied territory,” Pletcher said.
Connect (5-2) is a very strong challenger for trainer Chad Brown, and has something to prove facing older horses in stakes company for the first time. He’ll try to chase after Anchor Down, but the Curlin colt showed his speed against this year’s top 3-year olds when he won the $1.25 million Pennsylvania Derby last time out September 24. His strong rail rally around the turn saw him sail past Cupid and favorite Nyquist and he outkicked Gun Runner in the stretch to win over a top-heavy field that also included Preakness winner Exaggerator.
Connect cuts back her from that 1 1/8 mile win and shoots for his 5th win in six starts this year for trainer Chad Brown.
“He’s fine to cut back,” Brown said. “He won on Belmont Day in a (1 1/16 mile) allowance race going one turn and he looked good doing it, so I don’t think the move to one turn will bother him.”
Brown will also saddle Economic Model and Threefiveindia, both 6-1 and contenders. Economic Model was 2nd behind Breeders’ Cup Spring winner Drefong in the Kings Bishop Stakes (G1) at Saratoga in August. He could benefit from the speed up front and showed a solid closing kick passing horses in the stretch in the Kings Bishop.
But a horse with value that will get overlooked a big in the field of 10 is Divining Rod (8-1), another Tapit Colt. Divining Rod chased Noble Bird around in the Fayette last out when Noble Bird set a track record at Keeneland going 1 1/8 miles. Divining Rod adds blinkers for trainer Arnaud Delacour, a strong conditioner who switches back to the jockey Daniel Centeno, who won both races aboard Divining Rod at Parx in September. Divining Rod also finished third to American Pharoah in the 2015 Preakness., and should be in your exotics as a solid speed horse in good form. He’s finished in the money in 11 of 12 starts and is 2-1-0 in three starts this year.
Aqueduct Racetrack, Saturday, November 26, 2016, Race 10 (4:20 ET)
|1||1||Jose L. Ortiz||121||Todd A. Pletcher||2/1|
|2||2||Joel Rosario||116||Chad C. Brown||6/1|
|3||3||Paco Lopez||114||Barclay Tagg||20/1|
|4||4||Eric Cancel||114||Ralph E. Nicks||30/1|
|5||5||John R. Velazquez||119||Kiaran P. McLaughlin||10/1|
|6||6||Manuel Franco||114||Barclay Tagg||20/1|
|7||7||Javier Castellano||118||Chad C. Brown||5/2|
|8||8||Antonio A. Gallardo||116||Mario Serey, Jr.||50/1|
|9||9||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||116||Chad C. Brown||6/1|
|10||10||Daniel Centeno||119||Arnaud Delacour||8/1|