ELMONT, NY – Lauren and Ralph Evans’ Diversify took full advantage of a paceless field, wiring Saturday’s Grade 1, $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes at Belmont Park.
The Jockey Club Gold Cup is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with winner receiving an automatic berth in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar on Saturday, November 4.
Breaking very sharply from along the rail under Irad Ortiz, Jr., Diversify immediately took a 2-length lead and maintained it through opening fractions of :24.17, :47.74, and 1:11.42. Heading into the stretch, the favored Keen Ice began to move forward and apply pressure, but Diversify dug in and repelled him to hit the wire first by a length in a final time of 2:00.96 for the 1 1/4-mile main track event.
“We couldn’t have dreamed of a better scenario,” said winning trainer Richard Violette. “The first 1/4, going in :24 was ideal. He’s done nothing but get better from the early summer until now. He’s always been a nice horse, but he’s certainly jumped into the major leagues here today. (Keen Ice) might’ve moved a little earlier than he wanted to because we were always loose on the lead. The pace certainly made the race for us.”
Keen Ice finished 3/4 of a length ahead of Pavel for second, with Good Samaritan spaced out well in fourth. Destin, Rally Cry, and Highland Sky completed the order of finish.
With the win, Diversify improved his record to 10-7-2-0. The 4-year-old gelded son of Bellamy Road increased his career earnings to $775,425 after taking home the $450,000 winner’s share of the purse.
“We did pick up the ‘Win and You’re In’ for the classic today, but we’re going to enjoy today’s race and give it a couple of days,” Violette said. “I’ll talk it over with Lauren Evans and Ralph Evans, and we’ll come up with a decision next week.”
Diversify returned $9.80 to win, $4.40 to place, and $3.40 to show. Keen Ice brought back $2.70 to place and $2.30 to show, while Pavel paid $3.80 to show.