Robert P. Donaldson's Spun to Run, trained by Juan Carlos Guerrero, is the 'now' horse heading into Saturday's 31st running of the Grade 1, $750,000 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct Racetrack.
The rapidly-improving 3-year-old Hard Spun colt will likely lead a talented field of 11 into the turn in the Cigar Mile, a race which anchors a lucrative card at the Big A, featuring the Grade 2, $250,000 Remsen for 2-year-olds, the Grade 2, $250,000 Demoiselle for 2-year-old fillies, the Grade 3, $250,000 Go for Wand Handicap for older fillies and mares, as well as the rescheduled $150,000 Winter Memories for sophomore fillies and the $125,000 Autumn Days for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up.
Carded as Race 10 with a local post time of 4:16 p.m. Eastern, the Cigar Mile will anchor a mandatory payout in the Empire 6 which boasts a jackpot of $544,158 heading into Friday's card. 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. Eastern.
Spun to Run has garnered Beyer Speed Figures of 109 and 110 from prominent scores in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita and M.P. Ballezzi Appreciation Mile at Parx in his last two starts. The upwardly mobile colt, who captured the Grade 3 Smarty Jones in September at Parx, has shown no signs of slowing down, having posted a pair of bullet works following his Breeders' Cup score, including a five-furlong effort in 59.88 seconds on Saturday at Parx.
“He does it all on his own. He gallops very nice as long as the rider keeps him calm, but once he gets into the bit he's all business and wants to work,” said Guerrero. “We have to be careful with him because he can do more than we want him to. If he sees horses in front of him, he wants to go get them.”
Spun to Run, who graduated at fifth asking, was given time to come around by Guerrero, who waited until July 20 to add blinkers on the dark bay for his Grade 1 debut in the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park.
Sent to post at odds of 34-1 in the nine-furlong test off a four-month layoff, Spun to Run performed admirably when third, 9 1/4-lengths back of Cigar Mile-rival Maximum Security.
“I knew he had the talent to go against those type of horses. It was just a matter of experience,” said Guerrero. “Talent wise – I knew he had it to run against them, but he still wasn't one hundred percent for that race. A work is a work but a race is like five works to me.”
Spun to Run has won three of four starts following that effort, with the lone regret coming in a wide-trip when fifth, defeated just 1 1/2-lengths, in the 1 1/8-miles Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby. Saturday's bullet breeze initially worried Guerrero, but his exercise rider convinced Guerrero his star pupil is ready to fire another triple-digit figure.
“I thought he might have went a little fast Saturday, but my rider said he was nice and relaxed to the pole. He did it on his own and he didn't have to move a muscle,” said Guerrero.
Spun to Run will emerge from post 6 under Irad Ortiz, Jr. on Saturday, one spot outside of 3-2 morning-line favorite Maximum Security.
“He's pumped up. He's ready to go,” said Guerrero. “He's a good traveling horse and will ship up to New York on the day of the race.”
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