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The Grade 2, $750,000 Cigar Mile Handicap brings a full field of 12 together running the one-turn mile trip at Aqueduct. Three of the group will be returning on four weeks rest after competing in Breeders’ Cup races, and all three were well-beaten but fit at the level based on top races prior to that.

Hoist the Gold is one of the trio, having won the Grade 2 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes in October prior to a sixth-place effort in the Qatar Racing Breeders’ Cup SprintThree Technique finished eighth in the Qatar Racing Breeders’ Cup Sprint after a victory in the Grade 2 John A. Nerud Stakes two races prior. Senor Buscador won the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap in July and most recently was seventh in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic. Others bring top credentials into the race, particularly a trio that just finished first, second, and third in the Grade 2 Forty Niner Stakes at this distance and at Aqueduct on Oct. 28. In the Forty Niner, previously known as the Kelso Handicap, Everso Mischievous was victorious by a half-length over Dr Ardito, with Accretive another nose behind in third. Among the others, Coastal Mission has won eight of nine races this year including six in a row, though none was a graded stakes, the most recent being in the Sam Huff West Virginia Breeders’ Classic Stakes. Offaly Cool won the M.P. Ballezzi Appreciation Mile Stakes in mid-October and attempts to run as well in his first graded stakes try. High Oak earned his best placing in a stakes race this year when second in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler Stakes near the end of October and also won the Grade 2 Saratoga Special Stakes Presented by Miller Lite in 2021 as a 2-year-old. Cascais has only run three times but makes his second start following a fine second-place finish after more than 11 months off for Chad Brown, who also saddles Accretive and Dr Ardito. Pipeline has a couple of in the money finishes in stakes races in his career, most recently when third in the Grade 1 Forego Stakes in the summer of 2022, but he has not been competitive in three races this year. Castle Chaos rounds out the field, entering the race off an allowance-level win and running in a stakes race for the first time.


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