Cigar Mile: Senor Buscador Tops Large Field of 12; Odds, Picks

The chill that greeted holiday revelers Wednesday night (Nov. 29) for the annual Christmas Tree lighting at Rockefeller Center was another reminder that winter is settling in for the long chilly season in the Northeast.

The nip in the air was also an unmistakable sign the major-stakes season in the region is about to conclude. There is one final festive program left and it comes Saturday at Aqueduct: four graded stakes topped by the $500,000 Cigar Mile (G2). They are the final graded events on the 2023 New York Racing Association calendar.

In a bit of good news for horseplayers (who can always use some), temperatures are expected to moderate into the mid 50s for the weekend. Those are the glad tidings. Behind that silver lining lurks a cloud. Rain is also in the forecast.

Senor Buscador: A Prime Pick for Cigar Mile After Breeders’ Cup Performance

Wet or dry, the Cigar Mile should be a fascinating contest. It already proved popular with trainers and owners as 12 horses were entered. That’s an anomaly for graded dirt stakes (except for the Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup) where seven or fewer starters are regrettably becoming the norm.

A large field, a one-turn race guaranteed to produce lots of action … so, where do we begin? Start with the class of the field and work your way from there. In this instance, that points us in the direction of Senor Buscador, one of three runners in the race who competed in the Breeders’ Cup last month at Santa Anita.

The effort was better than it looks on paper, which records a seventh-place finish at 29-1 in the $6 million Classic (G1).

“He ran really good in the Breeders’ Cup,” trainer Todd Fincher said. “He just got way, way back – almost 19 lengths back. I think he started his run too early. He made up a ton of ground down the backside and he actually flattened a little down the lane, which I’ve never seen him do.”

This looks like an ideal rebound spot. The competition isn’t as tough and there is no White Abarrio in this field. The class relief could be the key element for Senor Buscador after three consecutive Grade 1 races. The last time he dropped to a Grade 2 race was a victory in the San Diego Handicap at Del Mar in July.

The post draw didn’t hurt, either. The 5-year-old will break from post 3, as opposed to the 8-hole in the Classic. He should be better able to relax early and pounce late with Junior Alvarado aboard.

It’s a long way from his home base in sunny Southern California but we don’t think Senor Buscador will find a chilly reception at the Big A.

The picks: 1 Senor Buscador 2 Three Technique 3 Dr Ardito

The field for the $500,000 Cigar Mile Handicap (G2), with jockey, trainer, odds:

1 Coastal Mission (Arnaldo Bocachica, Jeff Runco), 12-1
2 Everso Mischievous (Cristian Torres, Brad Cox), 4-1
3 Senor Buscador (Junior Alvarado, Todd Fincher), 7-2
4 Cascais (Jose Ortiz, Chad Brown), 20-1
5 Dr Ardito (Manny Franco, Chad Brown), 8/-1
6 High Oak (Luis Saez, Bill Mott), 20-1
7 Three Technique (Javier Castellano, Jason Cook), 8-1
8 Offaly Cool (Abner Adorno, Jacinto Solis), 20-1
9 Castle Chaos (Dylan Davis, Robert Falcone, Jr.), 30-1
10 Accretive (Irad Ortiz, Jr., Chad Brown), 4-1
11 Hoist the Gold (John Velazquez, Dallas Stewart), 8-1
12 Pipeline (Jose Lezcano, Cherie DeVaux), 15-1



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