Sharp Azteca (Freud) finished within a half-length of Grade I glory twice now, including the GI Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile last time, and finally earned that elusive top-level victory with a dominant score in the GI Cigar Mile H. at Aqueduct Saturday. Breaking sharply from the six-hole, the 8-5 chalk was quickly overtaken by State Dinner S. romper Seymourdini (Bernardini) and California invader Americanize (Concord Point) to his inside. Seymourdini led the Damascus S. winner by a half-length through a sharp first quarter in :22.78 and a half in :45.97 with the front-running Sharp Azteca settled nicely in a two-wide third beneath Javier Castellano. Ranging up outside the leaders turning for home, the dark bay was in a race of his own in the lane, charging home to a 5 1/4-length success. MGISW Mind Your Biscuits (Posse) came flying in the stretch to be second and Practical Joke (Into Mischief), who will now be retired to Coolmore’s Ashford Stud, rallied late to be third.
“Everything with him is details,” winning trainer Jorge Navarro said. “He came out tired. We paid attention to every little thing. We wanted to do the right thing. And I know we were sitting on that Grade I, and you know what, I wasn’t expecting this big of a performance. He ran his eyes out. What else can I ask?”
When asked if he would consider Sharp Azteca in the $16 million GI Pegasus World Cup next month at Gulfstream, Navarro said, “After this performance, why not? We are going to see how he comes out of this first.”
Photo Credits: Chelsea Durand / Coglianese Photos