The Grade 1, $1 million TVG Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational
on September 29 at Belmont Park is the centerpiece of Super Saturday, which
features four additional Grade 1’s and the Grade 2 Kelso Handicap, each a
“Win and You’re In” event for the Breeders’ Cup on
November 2 and 3 at Santa Anita Park.
According to Andrew Byrnes,
stakes coordinator for The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA), likely to
head the field for the TVG Jockey Club Gold Cup as he goes for his third
straight graded stakes score is Janis Whitham’s 4-year-old Fort Larned.
Trained by Ian Wilkes, the E Dubai colt’s 1 ¼-length victory in the Grade
1 Whitney Invitational Handicap on August 4 earned him a career-high 110 Beyer
Speed Figure, the best this summer at Saratoga Race Course for all races beyond
a mile and tied for fifth nationally for the year.
Looking to turn the tables on Fort Larned
in the 1 ¼-mile TVG Jockey Club Gold Cup will be Whitney runner-up and beaten
favorite Ron the Greek and his
stablemate, Flat Out, who finished
third. Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, Ron the Greek has been first or
second in all five 2012 starts, including Grade 1 victories in the Santa Anita
Handicap and Stephen Foster Handicap, while Flat Out seeks his first victory
since a 2 ½-length score in last year’s Jockey Club Gold Cup.
Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, a three-time winner of the Jockey
Club Gold Cup, will be represented by Stuart S. Janney, III’s Hymn Book. The 6-year-old Arch gelding, who
has made six consecutive graded stakes appearances, won the Grade 1 Donn
Handicap in February at Gulfstream
Park and most recently
was fourth in the Whitney.
Three-year-olds have taken 38 of the 93 previous runnings of the TVG
Jockey Club Gold Cup, the most recent of which was 2009’s Belmont Stakes
and Travers winner, Summer Bird. Looking to continue that success will be Fast Falcon, whom Hall of Famer Nick Zito
saddled to finish a close-up third to the dead-heated duo of Golden Ticket and
Alpha in the Grade 1 Travers, and the Ken McPeek-trained Atigun, who was fourth in the
The TVG Jockey Club Gold Cup is one of the few races on the NYRA
circuit to have eluded trainer Todd Pletcher, who will saddle the improving San Pablo,
the Grade 3 Philip Iselin winner who hit the board in 11 of his 12 career
starts. Under consideration from Pletcher’s barn as well is Repole Stable’s
2011 Travers winner Stay Thirsty,
most recently fifth behind winner To Honor and Serve in the Grade 1 Woodward on
September 1 at Saratoga.
Ruler On Ice, the
2011 Belmont Stakes winner, is also questionable for the TVG Jockey Club Gold