Saturday of Thanksgivng weekend marks the final Grade 1 races in New York as Aqueduct hosted 4 graded stakes as part of their "Heineken Holidayfest" card, highlighted by the $350,000 Cigar Mile Handicap (G1) for older horses going 1 mile around 1 turn. Just 6,363 fans were on hand under cloudy skies and temperatures in the high 40's. Just five went to post in the main event with filly Groupie Doll sent off as the even-money favorite, off a 5 race winning streak including the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1). In to challenge her included 5-2 second choice Stay Thirsty, second in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1), and 5-1 third choice Coil, seventh in the Breeders' Cup Sprint.
Buffum battled for the lead with Coil down the backstretch and around the turn through fractions of 23.80, 47.04, and 1:11.11, while stalked by Groupie Doll third. Groupie Doll gained a short lead at the 1/8 pole, but Stay Thirsty, fourth early, moved up to challenge her setting up a duel to the line. Stay Thirsty prevailed by a nose in 1:35.47 over the fast main track. It was another 2 lengths back to Coil third.
It was the final career start for Stay Thirsty who skipped the Breeders' Cup due to owner Mike Repole's boycott of the event. Stay Thirsty finished his career with 5 wins, 5 seconds, and 1 third in 17 starts with total earnings of $1,936,000. The dark bay or brown son of 2006 Champion Three-Year-Old Male Bernardini will stand at Ashford Stud in Kentucky for an initial fee of $17,500.
Photos courtesy Nancy Rokos