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Jockey Club Gold Cup Preview: Happy Saver Hopes to Remain Undefeated
Happy Saver winning the Federico Tesio (Credit: Maryland Jockey Club)

Jockey Club Gold Cup Preview: Happy Saver Hopes to Remain Undefeated

ELMONT, NY – Wertheimer and Frere homebred Happy Saver hopes to keep his undefeated record intact as he readies for Saturday’s $250,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park.

The winner of the Jockey Club Gold Cup will receive an automatic position in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Longines Classic (G1) this fall at Keeneland. 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 Kentucky will receive a travel allowance of $10,000 if based in North America and $40,000 if based Internationally.

The Jockey Club Gold Cup is a 1 1/4-mile classic dirt route open to horses ages 3 and up. The 2020 edition attracted a stout group of 5 runners.

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Let’s look at the full field:

#1 Happy Saver – Though he took his time getting to the races (he didn’t debut until this past June), he’s won all 3 career starts, each coming at a different track. He won the Federico Tesio Stakes at Laurel Park last time out to earn a fees-waived berth in the Preakness Stakes (G1), but his connections bypassed that in favor of this slightly longer test against older rivals.

#2 Prioritize – After running exclusively on grass for his first 9 starts (winning twice), he found immediate success on dirt when he defeated $35k claiming rivals at Aqueduct last December. He either defeated or finished second to optional claiming foes in his next 3 starts to earn a shot in the Woodward Handicap (G1), where he finished third in his dirt debut at this distance.

#3 Name Changer – He won 2 of his final 3 starts in 2018, including the Monmouth Cup (G3), before heading to the sidelines for 11 months. He returned last November to finish third in the Swatara Stakes at Penn National but is still seeking his first victory after making 4 starts since his long layoff; he was most recently fourth in the Salvator Mile Stakes (G3) at Monmouth Park.

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#4 Tacitus – The Juddmonte Farms homebred has displayed a propensity for running his best while going long on the Belmont Park dirt, including 2 starts back when he dominated the local 1 1/4-mile Suburban Stakes (G2) by 8 3/4 lengths. He was second in 2019’s Belmont Stakes (G1) at 1 1/2 miles and was most recently second in the Woodward after pressing the early pace.

#5 Mystic Guide – The Godolphin homebred was a game winner of the Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) at Saratoga last time out, defeating a pair of eventual Preakness contenders including Jesus’ Team, who finished third in both events. Like Happy Saver, his connections opted to run here against older, more experienced horses instead of in the Preakness against straight 3-year-olds.

The Jockey Club Gold Cup serves as race 9 and is one of 5 stakes on the Saturday card at Belmont Park, 4 of which are Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” events. Belmont Park also hosts the final American-based qualifier for the World Championships on Sunday, the Futurity Stakes (G3) for the Juvenile Turf Sprint.

The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is presented by America’s Best Racing.

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