ELMONT, N.Y. – The fields are shaping up for the first of two spectacular ‘Super Saturdays’ of racing on Saturday, October 1 at Belmont Park leading up to the Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships on November 4-5 at Santa Anita Park.
The Grade 1, $500,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational for 3-year-olds and up, will headline an exciting day that includes four other graded stakes: the Grade 1, $350,000 Vosburgh for sprinters; the Grade 1, $400,000 Beldame for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up; the Grade 2, $300,000 Gallant Bloom Handicap for fillies and mares; and the Grade 3, $200,000 Pilgrim for 2-year-olds on the turf.
Juddmonte Farms’ multiple graded stakes winner Flintshire is slated to be a strong contender in the Joe Hirsch, will be run over 1 ½ miles on the Widener turf with an automatic entry and fees-paid trip to Santa Anita Park for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Division on the line for the victor as part of the “Win and You’re In” qualifier.
Undefeated since being transferred to the care of trainer Chad Brown, Flintshire will look to sustain his unbeaten streak this year after starting 3-for-3, including a win last out in the Grade 1 Longines Sword Dancer on August 27 at Saratoga Race Course. Flintshire also registered impressive victories in the Grade 2 Bowling Green on July 30 at the Spa and captured the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Manhattan on June 11 in his last start at Belmont.
Brown is also likely to enter Klaravich Stables’ multiple grades stakes-placed runner Money Multiplier. A 4-year-old son of Lookin At Lucky, Money Multiplier has picked up two allowance victories from five starts this year, along with three second-place finishes in the Grade 1 Man o’ War Stakes at Belmont, the Grade 1 United Nations Stakes at Monmouth Park and the Grade 1 Sword Dancer.
Also possible is Grupo Seven C Racing Stable’s Grand Tito, who will look to rebound off a fourth-place finish in the Sword Dancer; Al Shaqab Racing’s Ectot, who is expected to make his third start stateside for trainer Todd Pletcher having finished fourth in his North American debut at Saratoga in last month’s Lure stakes and second on September 4 in an allowance optional-claiming race at the Spa.
West Point Thoroughbreds Twilight Eclipse is also expected for to enter having won his last start at Belmont Park on June 8 in an allowance race before going on to finish third in the Grade 2 Bowling Green and Grade 1 Sword Dancer.
The second “Win and You’re In” Breeders’ Cup berth will be on the line in the Vosburgh, which is likely to feature Green Lantern Stables’ A.P. Indian. Trainer Arnauld Delacour’s 6-year-old is 5-for-5 this year, including back-to-back Grade 1 wins in the Priority One Jets Forego and the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga. A.P. Indian is expected to run on Big Sandy for the first time since winning the Grade 3 Belmont Sprint Championship on July 9.
Joking will look to make his triumphant return in coming back from an injured splint bone. Trained and owned by Charlton Baker, Joking will look to extend his three-race winning streak in his first start since winning the Grade 2 True North on June 10 at Belmont.
Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen is expected to saddle Holy Boss, the 4-year-old Street Boss chestnut colt. George Weaver’s Requite is also expected to be in the mix in seeking his first career graded stakes win. Red and Black Stable’s Weekend Hideaway is also a probable for trainer Phil Serpe, with the 6-year-old facing a step up in class after winning against allowance company on August 22. X Y Jet, trained by Jorge Navarro, will be racing in North America for the first time since winning the Grade 3 Gulfstream Park Sprint on February 27.
Stallwalkin’ Dude, owned and trained by David Jacobson, and Favorite Tale, trained by Guadalupe Preciado, are possible for the Vosburgh.
Brown and Baker could also have entries in another Grade 1, with a talented field set to compete in the Beldame, which will be run over 1 1/8 miles on the main track. Brown’s Going For Broke is coming off a fantastic effort in her graded stakes debut when she finished second to Songbird in the Grade 1 Alabama on August 20. The Waterford Stables’ 3-year-old is 3-2-0 in five career starts.
Baker’s Rachel’s Temper is coming off a win in the Summer Colony on August 22 at Saratoga. Owned by Saul Kupferberg, Rachel’s Temper has finished off the board just once in her last five starts.
Off the Tracks, trained by Todd Pletcher, will look to add a second Grade 1 win in her career after winning the Mother Goose in her previous start at Belmont on July 2. The Curlin 3-year-old came in fourth in the Grade 2 Prioress on September 4.
Paola Queen, the winner of the Grade 1 Test, is also expected to run for trainer Gustavo Delgado. It would be Paola Queen’s fourth consecutive Grade 1 start. Before the Test, her previous best finish in a graded stakes start was a runner-up effort in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks.
Other Beldame possibilities include: the Kiaran McLaughlin-trained Penwith, who was the Lady Jacqueline runner-up on August 27 after coming in third in the Grade 1 Delaware Handicap on July 16; Gram Motion’s Tiger Ride and Dallas Stewart’s Forever Unbridled.
Lucy N Ethel will look to stay undefeated in her career in headlining the Gallant Bloom. The Jettany Thoroughbred’s 3-year-old is 4-for-4, including a win in the Grade 2 Prioress on September 4.
Lady Sheila Stable’s Hot City Girl will look to return to the winner’s circle. The Linda Rice-trained winner of the Grade 3 Charles Town Oaks posted a win in the Union Avenue last out on August 18 at Saratoga.
Brown’s Wavell Avenue returns to Belmont for the first time since a runner-up showing in the Grade 3 Bed o’ Roses Handicap on June 25. Wavell Avenue won the Shine Again on August 3 before coming in sixth in the Grade 1 Ballerina on August 27.
Paulassilverlining is looking to rebound off a fifth-place finish on August 27 in the Grade 1 Ballerina at Saratoga for owncer Vincent Scuderi and trainer Michelle Nevin while Fusaichi Red for trainer George Weaver, Treadway Racing Stable’s Wonder Gal, and trainer Bobby Ribaudo’s Quezon are likely to enter, with Stoneway Farm’s Stonetastic a probable for trainer Kelly Breen.
Rounding out the stakes action on the first ‘Super Saturday’ is the Pilgrm, to be contested at 1 1/16 Miles on the turf. Expected is Oscar Performance for Amerman Racing and trainer Brian Lynch coming off a maiden win on August 20 at the Spa, J.S. Choice forKRA Stud Farm and trainer Todd Pletcher, Frostmourne for Green Lantern Satables and trainer Christophe Clement; Oiseau De Guerre for Chad Brown; Berks County and Bird’s Eye View.