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Hoist the Gold goes gate-to-wire in G2 Cigar Mile Handicap

Hoist the Gold, a 4-year-old son of Mineshaft, passed the $1 million mark in his 26th lifetime start as he led at every call to win the $500,000 Cigar Mile Handicap (G2) on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, the Dream Team Racing homebred gained the lead over 11 rivals a few steps out of the gate and, prompted by Pipeline, zipped through opening fractions of 22.41 and 44.88 seconds. The leader turned for home with a five-length advantage, and, despite a stalwart last-to-second effort from Senor Buscador, hit the wire 4 ½ lengths in front.

Hoist the Gold’s time for the mile was 1:34.28 over a muddy track.

“Right before the quarter-pole, I didn’t feel anyone around me,” said Velazquez, who won the Phoenix (G2) at Keeneland aboard Hoist the Gold in October. “I was like, ‘man, they’re going to have to really run (to catch him)’.”

Senor Buscador’s Strong Finish & Track Challenges in Cigar Mile

It was after the duo finished sixth in the 6-furlong Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) that Velazquez suggested the Cigar Mile might be a good spot for Hoist the Gold.

“What a race,” said winning trainer Dallas Stewart. “Johnny picked the right race for us. He told us at the Breeders’ Cup the horse doesn’t like dirt in his face. He said, ‘just let me him the way I want; run him a mile at Aqueduct and he won’t get beat.’ He was 100% right.”

Hoist the Gold, carrying 121 pounds, earned $275,000 in the Cigar Mile to boost his bankroll $1,119,547 and his record to 26-5-6-3. He returned $19.40 for a $2 win bet as he notched his second career graded stakes win.

Junior Alvardo’s Insight on Senor Buscador’s Performance

Runner-up Senor Buscador, the second choice at $3.80-1, was 4 ¼ lengths clear of Castle Chaos.

“He was game; the track was against him today and he still put up a good effort,” said Junior Alvardo of Senor Buscador, seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) in his previous start. “With a little more of a firm track he would’ve put up a good right at the end.”

Completing the order of finish were Three Technique, Coastal Mission, Offaly Cool, Dr Ardito, High Oak, Pipeline, Accretive, favored Everso Mischievous and Cascais rounding out the order of finish.

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