OZONE PARK, NY – Calumet Farm’s True Timber gave jockey Kendrick Carmouche his first Grade 1 win with a strong 7/1 upset score in Saturday’s $250,000 Cigar Mile Handicap at Aqueduct.

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True Timber broke from post 8 and settled into a close stalking position in the clear while King Guillermo and Mr. Buff dueled through opening fractions of :22.89 and :45.82.

Ranging up three-wide in the far turn, True Timber took over nearing the 1/4 pole and drew off in the stretch when asked.

The Jack Sisterson trainee kicked away to win by 5 1/2 lengths, completing the sloppy (sealed) one-turn dirt mile in 1:36.49.

Credit: NYRA / Chelsea Durand

“I owe (my first Grade 1 win) to my fans, my wife and kids, and how much they stuck with me and kept me pushing and fighting in this game,” Carmouche said. “This means so much to me. This is the biggest win of my career and I hope I have many more blessed ones. It means a lot going into the winter meet. New York has really good racing and really good purses.”

Snapper Sinclair necked out the 4/5 Performer for second, while King Guillermo and Mr. Buff faded to third and fourth, respectively. Bon Raison completed the order of finish.

Mind ControlFirenze Fire, and Majestic Dunhill scratched.

True Timber’s win was his first at any stakes level and first since taking back-to-back optional claiming events at Belmont Park in the summer of 2018. The 6-year-old intact son of Mineshaft now sports a record of 29-5-5-9 with $1,215,150 earned.

“I got to give credit to True Timber, the farm, the incredible staff I have, and of course Kendrick,” said Sisterson, who took over True Timber’s training duties in the summer when Kiaran McLaughlin retired. “I had all the confidence in the world when Kendrick texted me (before the race), ‘I got you, brother, don’t worry,’ with a little peace sign.

“As soon as I got the horse, the Cigar Mile was a year-end goal,” Sisterson added. “A lot of emphasis has to be put on how good a trainer Kiaran McLaughlin is. He had this horse before I did and sent him to me in such good shape. This shows how good of a trainer he really is.”

True Timber returned $16.60 to win, $6.80 to place, and $3.20 to show. Snapper Sinclair brought back $9.30 to place and $4 to show, while Performer paid $2.20 to show.