If you watch enough sports, sooner or later you get to see one of those WOW performances. An effort that is a real jaw-dropper. One of those smack your momma good things. And when you bear witness to such, it truly is a treat. The wonderful world of Thoroughbred racing has featured some of those this year, but the win by Hoist The Gold in the Cigar Mile might have been the cake-taker.

Saturday, December 2 was a big day at Aqueduct. The crowning event of the day was the grade 2 Cigar Mile. Twelve runners were chasing year-end glory and their share of $500,000. Considered a speed merchant, Hoist The Gold drew post 11 in this very balanced field which meant to make the lead he would have to hit the gas hard early. Having been successful in sprint races earlier in the year, the question was, if he made the lead early, could he get the distance?

Gunned out of the gates by jockey Johnny Velazquez as expected, this spirited son of Mineshaft bolted to the lead. Pressed hard early, this Dallas Stewart-trained four-year-old threw down some sizzle with opening fractions (22.41 opening quarter, 44.88 half mile) that were hotter than the Waffle House griddle. Maintaining a length and a half lead as he turned for home, this is where it all got real.

Expected to falter, Hoist The Gold stood tall in the Empire state. Rising to the challenge like a champ, this grandson of Tapit found another gear. Lengthening his stride and perpetuating a pulsating power, he pulled away. Turning the race into a route, Hoist The Gold lit his victory Cigar and crossed the wire a geared down 4 ½ lengths to the good.

What makes this amazing performance even better is the fact Aqueduct was the eighth track he had run on in his tenth start of 2023. Dodging no one throughout the year, this was his ninth run in a Stakes race. The Cigar Mile marked his third win this season and pushed his career earnings over $1 million ($1,119,547).

“Hoist The Gold is a real warrior that has run hard all over the country”, says Dallas Stewart. “Winning the Cigar Mile is a big accomplishment and it really showed what he’s made of. We are very proud of him.”

photo by NYRA