Sharp Azteca Exits Cigar Mile In Good Shape; Connections Considering Start In Pegasus World Cup

Ivan Rodriguez’s Sharp Azteca is no worse for wear Sunday morning following his first career Grade 1 victory in Saturday’s $750,000 Cigar Mile Handicap presented by NYRA Bets at Aqueduct Racetrack, trainer Jorge Navarro said by phone from his Florida training base.

Navarro noted that the 4-year-old colt by Freud suffered a superficial laceration on a back leg but has otherwise emerged from his 5 ¼-length victory in good order.

“It’s nothing serious. I guess coming out of the gate, a horse cut him in the back, but everything is good,” he said. “I had to jump on a plane last night, so I only got to see him for a little while after the race, but I spoke to my guy out there and I spoke to my vet. He looks very bright, alert. I’m pretty pleased with how he’s come out of the race so far. He was begging for his mints and carrots.”

In the Cigar Mile, the centerpiece of the Big A’s fall meet, the typically speedy Sharp Azteca showed a new dimension under Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano, sitting off a pair of frontrunners early only to power home a decisive winner while carrying the field’s 125-pound highweight to a final time of 1:35.17.

“I’m still wowed by that performance,” said Navarro. “What more can you ask? I love fast horses, but those types of horses always find someone who wants to go with them. I’m pleased we can have a second plan with him.

“Castellano did an amazing job. That’s why he’s Javier Castellano,” he continued. “There wasn’t much to say in the paddock. I just told him, ‘You’re on top of him, you do what you want. The only thing I’m going to ask is that once you put him there to make a move, don’t wait, just go. You can’t wait on him; when you open up that window, go.’”

Navarro said the connections are currently “95 percent” sure that Sharp Azteca, who flies back to Gulfstream Park West on Tuesday, will kick off his 2018 season in the Grade 1, $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational on January 27 at Gulfstream Park.

“He’s going to fly home and we’re going to regroup,” he said. “I’m going to give him probably a week off to see how he comes out of this and we’ll go from there. He’s going to let us know. With him, he lets us know where he’s at.”

The post Sharp Azteca Exits Cigar Mile In Good Shape; Connections Considering Start In Pegasus World Cup appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

DYFD Winter - 300x90

Comments are closed.