Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby-winner King Guillermo, trained by Juan C. Avila for Victoria’s Ranch, is aiming to make his comeback in the Grade 1, $250,000 Cigar Mile for 3-year-olds and up on December 5 at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Victoria’s Ranch is the nom de course of retired baseball player Victor Martinez, a five-time All-Star who finished second in the MVP voting in 2014 when he hit 32 home runs. Martinez played for 18 seasons for a trio of teams – the Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers – as a catcher, first baseman and designated hitter.
“We’re going to train towards the Cigar Mile. We’d like to find him a Grade 1 win,” said Avila. “I think the one-turn mile suits him for his first race back.”
The Uncle Mo colt was scratched two days before a scheduled start in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby [won on September 5 by Authentic] after spiking a temperature. King Guillermo returned to the work tab on October 17 at Gulfstream Park breezing a half-mile in 51.78 seconds and fired a bullet half-mile in 46.48 on the Gulfstream main in his third recorded work on November 1.
“It was a very good breeze,” said Avila of the bullet work. “He’s doing perfect.”
King Guillermo, named after Martinez’s father, did not breeze this morning after Tropical Storm Eta brought heavy rain and gusty winds to South Florida.
A $150,000 purchase at the OBS April 2019 Spring Sale of Two-Year-Olds In Training, King Guillermo graduated last November at second asking on the Gulfstream Park West turf. After finishing third to the victorious Sole Volante in the Pulpit at one-mile on the Gulfstream turf on November 30, 2019, King Guillermo turned the tables on his rival with a 4 3/4-length score at odds of 49-1 in March in the Tampa Bay Derby at 1 1/16-miles on the main track.
King Guillermo exited his prominent Tampa Bay Derby coup to finish a game second to the undefeated multiple graded stakes winner Nadal in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby at nine furlongs at Oaklawn Park.
Avila said King Gullermo will ship to New York on November 29.
The Cigar Mile Day card also includes a pair of Grade 2, $150,000 nine-furlong events for juveniles in the Remsen and its filly counterpart, the Demoiselle, as well as the Grade 3, $100,000 Go for Wand Handicap for fillies and mares at one mile.
Photo Credit: King Guillermo previous work prior to Kentucky Derby, Coady Photography