Another ‘tough race’ on tap for Bal Harbour in Cigar Mile

Another 'tough race' on tap for Bal Harbour in Cigar Mile

Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

Red Oak Stable’s multiple graded stakes-placed homebred Bal Harbour visited the Belmont Park training track Saturday to breeze four furlongs in 50.25 seconds in his final preparation for a start in the Grade 1, $750,000 Cigar Mile.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, the 4-year-old son of First Samurai is winless in six starts this year, all against graded stakes company, but has finished no worse than third in his last four races. Results include a second-place finish in the Woodward (G1) this summer at Saratoga Race Course. Last out, he finished third over an off track at Keeneland in the Fayette (G2) won by Tom’s d’Etat.

Likely to face another deep field in the Cigar Mile, Pletcher, who has previously won the stakes four times and most recently with Stay Thirsty in 2012, said he is happy with the way Bal Harbour continues to train heading into the race.

“He’s continuing to train sharply,” Pletcher said. “Everything looks good. He seems to have maintained his form throughout the year.

“It’s a tough race as you would expect for the Cigar Mile but we’re happy with the way he’s coming into it. Tyler (Gaffalione) thought he might have spun his wheels over the sloppy track in the Fayette but he didn’t disgrace himself and Tom’s d’Etat came back and won the Clark (Friday’s Grade 1 feature at Churchill Downs) so he’s been holding good company all year.”

Pletcher also reported Alpha Sixty Six and Chase Tracker, who are main-track only entrants for Friday’s re-scheduled Central Park, would each look to make their next starts in the $250,000 Remsen (G2) on Saturday, with 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points up for grabs between the top four finishers.

A son of Liam’s Map for owner Paul Pompa, Jr. Alpha Sixty Six broke his maiden Sept. 7 at Belmont Park and will be making his third career start following a fifth-place running in the Champagne (G1) on Oct. 5 at Belmont.

Chase Tracker, a Verrazano colt for St. Elias Stable, won his debut Sept. 21 at Parx Racing and will be making his third career start and second at Aqueduct in the Remsen following a third-place finish in the Nashua (G3) on Nov. 3.

In the $250,000 Go For Wand (G3), Pletcher is expected to enter 
Another Broad for owners Madaket Stables, Elayne Stables, and Brian Martin.

The 4-year-old Maryland-bred daughter of Include has one win from seven starts this year and last out finished second in the Turnback the Alarm (G3) on Nov. 2 at Aqueduct. She breezed four furlongs in 50.59 seconds at the Belmont training track Sunday and Pletcher said he is pleased with her heading into the one-mile event.

“I think she’s probably at her very best going a mile and an eighth, but this is the best option we have and she’s training well so we’ll take our shot with her in here,” Pletcher said.

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