Tonalist on Target for Cigar Mile 2015
Tonalist on Target for Cigar Mile 2015: Speaking from his barn at Belmont Park on Sunday, trainer Christophe Clement was in good spirits discussing his dual threat for next Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Cigar Mile Handicap in multiple graded stakes winner Tonalist and consistent miler Red Vine.
Working in company on the Belmont main track Saturday, the duo completed a maintenance work and returned this morning in good order, according to Clement.
“It was a very good work yesterday,” said Clement. “They worked together five-eighths in like a minute and galloped out in 1:13. They both looked good this morning. The plan is to run both horses.”
Tonalist, coming off a fifth-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland on October 31, is set to make his second career start at Aqueduct, where he made his debut in November 2013. The 4-year-old son of Tapit will also return to the one-mile distance and use blinkers for the first time since finishing second in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont on June 6. Red Vine, most recently third in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, has finished no worse than third at that distance on the dirt.
“It’s a Grade 1 in New York, it’s going to be very tough but I like the way each of them look,” said Clement. “Tonalist will have blinkers back on and be ridden by John Velaquez, and Red Vine with Joel Rosario.”
Clement said the plan is for both Tonalist and Red Vine to remain in training in 2016 but each would receive a break after the race.