DeVaux Hoping To Celebrate Her Birthday in Style in G2 Cigar Mile

November 30, 2023

Pipeline ahead of the 2022 renewal of the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (Courtney Snow/Past The Wire)

NYRA Press Office

OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Trainer Cherie DeVaux, in the midst of a banner year with career highs in wins and purse earnings, will look to fete her 42nd birthday in style when she saddles Pipeline in Saturday’s Grade 2 Cigar Mile Handicap presented by NYRA Bets.

“It’s my birthday so hopefully it will be a celebration,” said DeVaux.

DeVaux has banked in excess of $5.2 million this year through a record of 280-50-34-31 heading into Thursday’s racing action, led by graded wins with She Feels Pretty [Grade 1 Natalma], Vavha [Grade 2 Raven Run, Grade 3 Charles Town Oaks], More Than Looks [Grade 3 Manila], Shotgun Hottie [Grade 3 Molly Pitcher] and Star Fortress [Grade 3 Cardinal].

She will look to add to those totals Saturday with the Grade 1-placed Pipeline, who made his first 13 starts for trainer Chad Brown before being transferred to DeVaux by owners John D. Gunther and breeder Eurowest Bloodstock Services.

“It’s something different for him. He came to us in great shape and in good form,” DeVaux said. “He’s been training really well. All things considered, he’s coming into the race in good order.”

Pipeline, a 5-year-old Speightstown bay out of the multiple graded stakes-placed Empire Maker mare Vivo Per Lei, has breezed five times at Keeneland dating to October 22. He posted a bullet half-mile breeze in 47.60 seconds Friday in his final serious piece of work.

DeVaux said Pipeline accomplished the string of sharp works of his own accord.

“Not being asked and he’s had plenty of horse in those works,” DeVaux said. “He’s a really big horse. He’s big and imposing. A big, handsome colt and strong.”

Pipeline graduated in September 2021 at Saratoga Race Course and completed his sophomore season with a last-of-8 effort in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap here. He returned in April 2022 and romped to a frontrunning nine-length score in a one-turn mile allowance here that garnered a 104 Beyer Speed Figure.

Two starts later, following a runner-up effort in the Grade 3 Monmouth Cup, Pipeline registered a career-best 105 Beyer when a pace-pressing third in the seven-furlong Grade 1 Forego last August at the Spa.

Pipeline failed to hit the board in three starts this year, including a distant fourth in the Forego in August ahead of a last-of-8 effort last out in the nine-furlong Grade 2 Woodward on October 1 here.

He has drawn the outermost post 12 Saturday with Jose Lezcano slated to ride for the first time.

“He’s easily rateable in his works. He has a lot of speed so wherever he breaks, he just needs to be able to stay out of trouble,” DeVaux said. “Anytime you get a horse in from a different trainer, you just have to regroup and get to know them. That’s what we did with him and he’s been straight forward. He looks fantastic and he’s training well.”

Northern Invader conquers the Gio Ponti Oct. 6 at Aqueduct (Chelsea Durand)

DeVaux could look to add to her impressive season with West Point Thoroughbreds and David Ingordo’s Northern Invader, who is being pointed to the Grade 2 Mathis Mile on December 26 over the Santa Anita Park turf.

The 3-year-old Collected chestnut, bred in Ontario by Anderson Farms Ont. Inc. and Peter A. Berglar Racing Interests, made his first two starts on dirt at Churchill Downs and finished second on both occasions, including to G2 Cigar Mile contender Everso Mischievous in May.

He shipped up to Belmont in July and graduated by eight lengths traveling one-mile over the Belmont turf and was subsequently a close fifth in the Grade 2 Secretariat on August 12 at Colonial Downs when defeated 2 3/4-lengths by the victorious Gigante.

Norther Invader returned to winning form in October at Belmont at the Big A with a prominent one-length score over firm turf in the Gio Ponti. On Sunday, he broke a step slow in the 1 1/16-mile off-the-turf Commonwealth Turf but closed from last-of-8 to finish second to familiar foe Gigante.

“Bad luck with his break – it put him far behind, but he ran a respectable race on the dirt going two turns,” DeVaux said.

DeVaux said the talented chestnut is a barn favorite.

“He’s cool. He’s a really nice horse to have,” DeVaux said. “Whenever you have a horse that can run on the dirt and the turf it’s always good to have because when turf races rain off it gives you the option to stay in.”

The well-bred $310,000 OBS March Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training purchase is out of the winning Arch mare Androeah, who is a full-sister to Grade 1-winner Archarcharch. 

Jonathan Stettin is a New York Legend. He's been a Horseplayer, earning his living at the track, since he was 19 years old. @jonathanstettin

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