George Weaver has waved goodbye to one stable star and is now eager to try out another at Grade 1 level, as he eyes the Cigar Mile with Majestic Dunhill.
Vekoma, a six-time winner from eight starts with more than $1.2m in prizemoney earned, had to be scratched from the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Keeneland this month after a setback.
That run was intended to be the final start of his career before going to stud and Weaver paid tribute to the Candy Ride chestnut, winner of the Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes in 2019.
“He was training great. We had some feet trouble with him over the summer and we got him going right and he ended up developing a fever when it was time to go over there and run,” said Weaver.
“It was disappointing, but we’re so proud of the horse and he’s going on to his second career. We’re all really happy for him.”
Moving forward and Weaver has his eyes on getting Majestic Dunhill running amongst elite company sooner rather than later.
A gutsy all the way winner of the Grade 3 Bold Ruler Handicap at Belmont Park on his most recent start, Weaves is contemplating the Fall Highweight Handicap (G3) or the Cigar Mile (G1) as possible next starts.
He wants to see what the make-up of both races is looking like before committing the five-year-old Majesticperfection gelding to a target. The fact there is no concern about going to stud after he’s done on the track ensures connections can plan freely and enjoy the ride.
“We’ll see how both races come up. I’m sure the Cigar Mile will have some heavyweights in there,” said Weaver.
“Majestic Dunhill is a gelding, so we’re not looking to establish stud value with him. We’re trying to make as much money as possible and spot him as best we can. The way the two fields stack up will factor heavily in our decision. He’s a fun horse to have.”
On the same card as Cigar Mile, Weaver may be able to target the $150,000 Grade 2 Demoiselle with Dollar Mountain.
She earned her maiden win in some style at Belmont last month and ‘she could be in consideration for the Demoiselle’, according to Weaver.
Meanwhile, Lead Guitar, winner of her last three starts, could head towards the $100,000 Autumn Days, an open six-furlong turf sprint for fillies and mares three-years and older at Aqueduct later this month.
“She’s a New York-bred and she has a lot of talent, and that helps her knock out some wins,” said Weaver. “She’s consistent in open company races too, and she’s developed into a really nice turf sprinter.”