On the Super Saturday card
Bill Mott had horses entered in six
races. Early on the card he missed the winner’s circle in two of the non-stakes
races. Then his superstar Royal Delta finished second in the Beldame. In the
two big turf races Mott also had no luck. Mott still had hope to get a win in
the day’s big one because he had Flat Out going for his third consecutive Jockey Club Gold Cup.
Little did Mott know that
it would take his long shot horse Ron the Greek to bring home the Cup at
21-1. Ron the Greek had not won a race since taking the Sunshine Million
Classic at Gulfstream Park in January. He ran in five graded stakes since then
always bringing home a check by finishing either third or fourth.
From the start of the race
Mott could tell that Ron the Greek was ready, “Today, he broke like a different
horse. He was up on the pace himself, much like in the Sunshine Millions. He
was in the bridle today and he flat outran everybody.”
I don’t think Mott
intended to use a pun there, but Ron the Greek did indeed outrun everybody
including the favorite, Flat Out.
The race began with Alpha
going to the lead with Palace Malice not far behind in the two-path. Ron the
Greek was close, sitting in third. The top three stayed in that order for the
first three-quarters of a mile that went in 1:10.78.
Midway through the
clubhouse turn Ron the Greek slipped to the rail, which has been a very
favorable place to be since the fall meeting began. Once there, Ron moved very
quickly to the lead and drew away to a 6¾ length victory in 1:59.70 and paid
$44 to win.
Ron the Greek was ridden
by Jose Lezcano, who had just today
returned to the track after being injured at Saratoga. In addition to winning
the Gold Cup Lezcano won the Flower Bowl on Laughing.
Palace Malice held on for second and Todd Pletcher was pleased, "I thought he ran
great, you know. He showed his 3-year-old form was legit. He ran well against
older horses; he beat a lot of nice older horses today.”
Orb ran a very disappointing race finishing eighth and trainer Shug McGaughey said,
was going down the backside fine and just dropped the bit and didn't do any
running. It's pretty puzzling.”
The Jockey Club Gold Cup
is part of the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re in” series and so said Mott, “He’s
going to the Breeders’ Cup because he paid his way in today. He got a free trip
out there, got his entry fees paid.”