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Private Zone wins Big A's Cigar Mile

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NEW YORK (AP) Private Zone set a blazing pace on a chilly Saturday at Aqueduct to win the $750,000 Cigar Mile by five lengths over Secret Circle.

The stakes carried a guaranteed purse of $500,000. Under the incentives built into the race conditions, Private Zone ran for the additional money as a Grade 1 stakes winner. The victory was worth $450,000 to the Good Friends Stable, the ownership group managed by paralyzed former rider Rene Douglas.

Breaking from the rail with Martin Pedroza up, Private Zone took the shortest route around the track.

The 5-year-old gelding shot right to the front and clicked off swift fractions of 44.18 seconds for the half mile and 1:08.34 for six furlongs. The time was 1:34.39

Private Zone, trained by Alfredo Velazquez, paid $11.60, $5.80 and $4.10. Secret Circle, the 5/2 favorite, returned $4.60 and $3.30 while Bourbon Courage paid $4.10 to show.