Cigar Mile Predictions, Betting Odds, Top Picks (Aqueduct)

Cigar Mile Post Position and Odds

Check out our predictions and odds for the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct!

PP Horse Odds Jockey Trainer
J Velazquez T Pletcher
M Franco B Cox
L Saez T Pletcher
T Gaffalione C McGaughey
J Castellano M McCarthy
D Van Dyke R Baltas
J Rosario W Mott
J Ortiz C Brown

Best Bets for the Cigar Mile

Here are my plays ($40 in total)

$10 Exacta box – Americanrevolution and Code of Honor = $20

$10 Exacta box – Americanrevolution and Independence Hall = $20

If you’re playing only to win, go with my top pick Americanrevolution (4/1)

Cigar Mile Predictions

In the final Grade 1 race of the year in New York, Independence Hall tops a wide-open field of eight males set for Saturday’s $750,000 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct.

The son of Constitution comes in off a career-best performance, having won the Grade 2 Fayette on a sloppy track at Keeneland by more than 7-lengths. Trained by Michael McCarthy, Independence Hall also comes back to Aqueduct with a perfect record over the oval, having easily accounted for both the Nashua and Jerome Stakes back in November 2019 and January 2020 respectively.

Chief among his competition will be Ginobili, who arrives from California for trainer Richard Baltas. The son of Munnings has been red-hot at Del Mar of late, having romped in an allowance race three starts back, before winning the Grade 2 Pat O’ Brien and then finishing second to Life Is Good in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.

Three others who have earned considerable respect in this Grade 1 affair are Code of Honor, Americanrevolution, and Following Sea. The former is a multiple Grade 1 winner of nearly $3 million nearing the end of his career, while the latter two are both talented sophomores from the Hall of Fame barn of Todd Pletcher.

Race Analysis

Independence Hall

Despite having won only once in six starts this year, it’s hard not to like the way the romping winner of the Fayette is coming into the race. Before his big win at Keeneland, he chased America’s best horse, Knicks Go, around the track, when second-best in the Lukas Classic. It’s been a while since seen at Aqueduct, but his two-stakes wins early in his career both came at the track, and both came at the one-mile distance. He wired them in the Fayette, but he is much likely to sit off the fast pace this time around, which I believe will work to his advantage. There are several potential winners in here, but if you had to pick one as the horse to beat, this 4-year-old who appears to be in career-best form is a good place to start.


Coming from California, this one also likes to utilize his tactical speed. In fact, he probably has a little more speed than Independence Hall and looks more likely to go right out after a strong early pace. His last three races, since the addition of blinkers, point him out as a major threat in here, and he seems to really appreciate the difficult one-mile distance. If this race were at Del Mar, he would be the one to beat, but with his best races, and all of his career victories coming there, you have to wonder how he will fare at a track so different. With all the early pace, and with the change in venue, I will take a stand against him this time around.


A late-developing son of Constitution, this 3-year-old barn has proven to be far superior to his fellow New York-bred rivals in three stakes this summer and fall. The question is, can he beat top horses in open company? His third-place finish behind Hot Rod Charlie and Midnight Bourbon in a very good field for the Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby gives me strong reason to believe that he can. With that race under his belt and the experience of a runaway victory in the Empire Classic last time, he should be ready to fire his best shot in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile. I also believe he is likely to sit a good trip, from the middle of the pack, as a fast early pace unfolds in front of him. He is the top pick.

Code of Honor

Trained by the Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, this 5-year-old son of Noble Mission could be making the final start of his career on Saturday. If so, he should get a favorable pace set up in his swan song. The winner of the 2019 Travers and Jockey Club Gold Cup has not quite lived up to those Grade 1 standards the past two seasons but is still good enough to come running on Saturday. Last out, he had to chase Independence Hall early in the slop. In other words, it was not his game. This time, he will be able to sit back at a distance he has won before, and rally into what looks to be a very solid early pace. He is not quite what he once was, but I still feel there is enough here to rate a big chance for his third Grade 1 win.

Following Sea

This 3-year-old son of Runhappy has taken things to a new level in his last two starts, winning the Grade 2 Vosburgh easily, before running a very good third in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint last time. Both of those came at 6 furlongs, though, so the question about his ability to defeat top horses at a mile needs to be answered, but we know he has never been better. Drawn the rail, look for him to contend for the early lead. If somehow, they let him run along easily in the early stages, he becomes a big threat to win this, but with plenty of other speed, I think the challenges for the Todd Pletcher trainee will come early. Because of this, I prefer others, but he is dangerous.


The most lightly raced horse in the field, this son of Speightstown has only run twice this year, and four times in his career. A promising juvenile last year, after defeating future graded stakes winners while breaking his maiden, he was off a full year before reappearing at Saratoga two months ago. A solid second in a very fast race behind Baby Yoda was followed by a game allowance win at Keeneland, also in a strong time. He’s full of potential for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, but this is a big ask, jumping up into Grade 1 company in his stakes debut. While I see stakes victories in his future, I am not ready to believe that he is quite ready to win this assignment.


It’s not often you see a Brad Cox-trained horse as a pretty big long shot, but this veteran would be a bit of a surprise if he were to run big on Saturday. He can’t be completely ignored, but he does look to be a cut below the best in here. Having said that, if you can excuse the last, which was on slop, he brings in excellent form, which includes three stakes wins in his last five starts. His win in the Grade 3 Ack Ack two starts back was at a mile and finished in fast time. Still, he has never proven he can defeat a field like this, so I am leaning elsewhere.


Speaking of high-profile trainers who rarely have long shots, this one comes from the powerhouse barn of Chad Brown. One of four 3-year-olds in the Cigar Mile field, this son of Speightstown has never faced a field like this, having tasted his first stakes experience last time when third in the listed Perryville Stakes at Keeneland. He was actually favored that day, coming off a pair of solid performances at Saratoga, but was lost out in a three-horse photo. He’s improving, speedy, and should benefit from the experience of the last one, but this looks to be a bit too much for him at this point of his career.

How to Watch the Cigar Mile

Cigar Mile Race Information
Race Cigar Mile (Grade 1)
Location Aqueduct
Time Saturday, December 4 — 4:13pm Eastern time
How to Watch Fox Sports 1
Purse $750,000

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Brian Zipse

Expert on Horse Racing

Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.

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