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Stay Thirsty, owned by New York’s Mike Repole, ended his racing career winning by a nose in the $350,000 Cigar Mile Handicap at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Stay Thirsty’s victory gave Repole and trainer Todd Pletcher their third graded stakes win on yesterday’s card at the track in Ozone Park, New York. The duo had winners with Unlimited Budget in the Demoiselle and Overanalyze in the Remsen.
“I grew up 10 minutes from here,” said Repole, who lived in Queens, New York. “I said, ‘This is my Breeders’ Cup weekend.’ I don’t care how long I’m in racing, you’re not going to win three graded stakes in a row, two with 2-year-olds and one with Stay Thirsty, who means so much to me.”
Winless in four other starts this year, Stay Thirsty was in last place before jockey Ramon Dominguez urged the 4-year-old midway on the far turn to circle the field and overtake Groupie Doll in the final furlong.
“This is a special, special bittersweet moment, to go out a winner, beating Groupie Doll, who’s going to win the Eclipse Award,” Repole said. “He had the lead one time, and it happened to be when the wire came up. What a great feeling to win three stakes in a row, just amazing.”
Stay Thirsty, whose previous Grade 1 win came in the 2011 Travers at 1 ¼ miles, completed the distance in one minute, 35.47 seconds and returned $7.50 for a $2 win wager as the 5-2 second choice.
“We wanted to be aggressive with him early and put him into the race, and he didn’t break real well,” Pletcher said. “With the way it unfolded, we were just sitting behind the other three. It seemed to work out in the end, but I was a little concerned at the break because he didn’t jump away real well from the one hole.”
Overall, Stay Thirsty finished his career 5-5-1 in 17 starts and earned $1.9 million, including $210,000 for his Cigar Mile triumph. Repole, 43, chairman of BodyArmor Nutrition LLC, bought the colt as a 2-year-old for $500,000 at auction.
A dark bay son of 2006 Champion Three-Year-Old Male Bernardini, Stay Thirsty will stand at Coolmore America Ashford Stud in Versailles, Kentucky.
“Stay Thirsty was successful at 2 and won races like the Jim Dandy and Travers at 3, and the breeders love milers,” Pletcher said. “He proved today he can be versatile enough to do all of those things. It was a huge win for him.”
The Cigar Mile was the fifth stakes win this week for Pletcher and Repole, who also won the Fall Highweight with Caixa Eletronica and the Super Mario overnight stakes with Notacatbutallama.
Groupie Doll had a five-race winning streak snapped.
“She ran a hell of a race,” said trainer William “Buff” Bradley of Groupie Doll, who was making her first graded stakes start against males. “I’m glad we came. I knew Stay Thirsty was coming at us; he ran a great race, too. I thought she ran her race and ran very well. I’m very proud of her. I knew she’d gotten nosed out. Tough field.”
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