Independence Hall sharp in final breeze for G1 Cigar Mile presented by NYRA Bets

November 28, 2021

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Independence Hall breezed a bullet half-mile in 46.80 Saturday at Churchill Downs in his final piece of work for the Grade 1, $750,000 Cigar Mile presented by NYRA Bets.

“I’m very happy with the way he worked,” trainer Michael McCarthy said. “We wanted to go ahead and put a little air in his lungs and that’s definitely what we got. A race like the Cigar Mile doesn’t come around very often and we wanted to make sure we’re nice and sharp.”

Owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Twin Creeks Racing Stables, WinStar Farm, Kathleen Verratti and Robert Verratti, the 4-year-old Constitution colt boasts a 2-for-2 record at the Big A that includes a 12 1/4-length score in the 2019 Grade 3 Nashua and a four-length win in the 2020 Jerome, both at a one-turn mile for his former conditioner Michael Trombetta.

Independence Hall made his first start for McCarthy in November 2020 at Del Mar, winning a 6 1/2-furlong optional-claiming sprint ahead of a fifth in the seven-furlong Grade 1 Malibu in December 2020 at Santa Anita.

The dark bay demonstrated class while chasing the victorious Knicks Go with a third-place effort in the nine-furlong Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup in January at Gulfstream and a pressing second in the nine-furlong Grade 3 Lukas Classic in October at Churchill Downs.

McCarthy said Independence Hall has benefitted from the addition of blinkers three starts back when fifth off a four-month layoff in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic in August at Del Mar

“The blinkers have helped him focus a little bit and dial him in a little more,” McCarthy said. “The Pacific Classic was unfortunate coming off of a long layoff and going a mile and a quarter. It just didn’t seem like he was as tight as he could have been but as you can see it certainly moved him forward.”

Last out, Independence Hall, romped to a 7 1/4-length score over Cigar Mile-rival Code of Honor in the nine-furlong Grade 2 Fayette contested over a sloppy track on October 30 at Keeneland.

McCarthy confirmed Hall of Famer Javier Castellano will retain the mount aboard Independence Hall, who will ship to New York on Monday.

NYRA Press Office

Photo: Before his victory, Independence Hall showed his independence after being saddled for The Jerome at Aqueduct New Year’s Day 2020. (Susie Raisher)

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