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Belmont Park’s feature race of the fall meet, the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes (G1), will be contested this Saturday. Like always, its field should have a direct impact on the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).
The Travers Stakes (G1) winner Code of Honor comes into this race after putting up one of the best performances by a 3-year-old this season. His Travers triumph was his third stakes win of the season, the first being the Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park before winning the Dwyer Stakes (G3) over this course. The son of Noble Mission now finds himself with a shot at winning 3-Year-Old Horse of the Year honors. A win against older horses would go a long way in helping him achieve that goal, not to mention setting him up perfectly for a run at the Classic.
The winner of the Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes will receive an automatic position in the $6 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) this fall at Santa Anita Park. Pre-entry and entry fees will be paid and a nominator award of $10,000 will be given to the nominating person. Also, all Breeders’ Cup starters based outside of the state of California will receive a travel allowance of $10,000 if based in North America and $40,000 if based Internationally.
Here is a look at the full field:
#1 Tacitus – Will this 3-year-old finally get back to the winner’s circle for the first time since April? After winning the Wood Memorial (G2) at Aqueduct, Tacitus was one of the favorites to win the Kentucky Derby (G1), but a poor trip saw him finish third. He ran well as the favorite in the Belmont Stakes (G1) but was the runner-up that day, a result that he repeated in the Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) and the Travers Stakes (G1). He has found a new way to lose in every start, though not all have been his fault. This horse has talent; now, he just needs some luck.
#2 Code of Honor – This has been the best 3-year-old during the second half of the season, with wins in the Dwyer Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park and the Travers at Saratoga. Both efforts displayed his strong improvement, which makes him ultra-dangerous here, considering he won the Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park earlier in the year. His only concern here is the apparent lack of early pace. This one-run horse needs a good pace to chase in order to show his best turn of foot.
#3 Vino Rosso – We finally get to see Vino Rosso again after he scratched out of the Woodward Stakes (G1) last time out at Saratoga. His connections believe that the 1 1/4-mile distance is where he will really excel, which he displayed earlier this year when he won the Gold Cup at Santa Anita Stakes (G1) over the same distance. He followed that with an average third in the Whitney Stakes (G1) last time out while going 1 1/8 miles. He will run without blinkers for the first time since February 10, 2018.
#4 Preservationist – You can definitely say this guy is a late bloomer. The 6-year-old horse by Arch has done his best running this season, winning 4 of his 6 starts. Three races back he impressively won the Suburban Stakes (G2) here at Belmont Park, before heading up to Saratoga to win the Woodward Stakes (G1) last time out. He also was fourth in the Whitney Stakes (G1), which seemed to just be on off day for him. This is the horse that could control the race from a pace prospective today.
#5 Olympic Village – This recent claim will jump right up to Grade 1 company after being tagged for $75,000 following a 7-furlong victory at Saratoga. That was his first start since November of last year, when he was an allowance/optional claimer winner at Laurel Park, and his third straight. The waters get much tougher for him here, but former claimers and maiden claimers have had great success this year against Grade 1 company, so you never know what could happen.
The Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes serves as one of seven Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” events this weekend at Santa Anita Park and Belmont Park. Here is the full schedule for this coming weekend:
The American-based Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” events continue next weekend with an eye-popping 16 events, starting Friday at Keeneland on the Lexington track’s opening day. The Action will continue throughout the country on Saturday and Sunday, with more races from Keeneland, Belmont Park, and Santa Anita Park.
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