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Saturday, November 25
El Corredor smokes 'em in Cigar Mile




JAMAICA, N.Y. -- While racing will say good-bye to many of its stars at the end of the year, it might have welcomed in a future one Saturday at Aqueduct.

El Corredor
El Corredor has won four of five career starts, earning $300,000.
El Corredor, who was racing with a patch to protect a quarter crack on his left hind foot, rallied past Left Bank in midstretch and spurted away from longshot Peeping Tom to win the Grade 1, $350,000 Cigar Mile by 1 3/4 lengths before 6,955 at Aqueduct.

Peeping Tom held second, a neck in front of Affirmed Success - the defending Cigar champion - who finished 3 1/2 lengths ahead of More Than Ready.

El Corredor, under Jerry Bailey, sat sixth down the backside while racing four wide as Left Bank and Forty One Carats dueled through fractions of 23.14 seconds and 45.97. El Corredor made a three-wide move at the three-eighths pole and came outside of Left Bank approaching the quarter pole. El Corredor took command at the eighth pole and shrugged off a challenge from 46-1 Peeping Tom, who lugged in badly under Shaun Bridgmohan.

El Corredor, a 3-year-old son of Mr. Greeley owned by Hal Earnhardt and trained by Bob Baffert, covered the mile in 1:34.68 over a fast track and returned $6.80 as the 2-1 favorite. He has won 5 of 7 career starts.

"The post was a great help, I got to sit and move a little bit at a time as I needed," Bailey said. "Every time I asked he was there and he had enough to finish them off the last eighth of a mile."

El Corredor was making his first start since Sept. 23, when he finished a strong second to Fusaichi Pegasus in the Jerome Handicap. He popped a quarter crack following that race, a crack that need to be re-patched after he arrived from California earlier this week.

Peeping Tom, who was coming off two allowance victories, looked like he could pull the upset until he began lugging in down the stretch.

"Even on the turn he was trying to lug in," Bridgmohan said. "I did my best, but in the stretch I had to let him go and get to start riding him. I reached up beside Jerry but his horse took off."

Affirmed Success would have taken off had he any running room. But, under Jorge Chavez, he was blocked from the quarter pole to deep stretch and had to settle for third, beaten two lengths.

"Today was very frustrating for us," trainer Richard Schosberg said. "He's a 6-year-old, he's carrying high weight. As far as I'm concerned if he's got a clear path to the lane from the quarter pole he wins the race. I'm not crying, I feel bad for the horse. He tried and tried and tried and he had nowhere to go."

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