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Jockey Club Gold Cup: Bill Mott’s Race to Win?

 
The $1,000,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) has drawn 10 horses for the mile and a quarter race at Belmont Park on Saturday. As part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series, this race is a “Win and You’re In” event.
 
The winner of the JCGC has gone on to take the Breeders' Cup Classic in 1995 with Cigar, 1997 Skip Away, and 2007 Curlin.
 
The biggest question, and at the same time the toughest question to answer, focuses on the Bill Mott trainees Ron the Greek and Flat Out. Is Mott going to have his runners at their best for the Gold Cup or is he going to wait to have them at 100% for the Classic?  We know that Mott often will target a race and use earlier races as preps. Last year’s Classic win for Mott with Drosselmeyer is the perfect example.  Mott is as good as any trainer at having his horses ready for a specific race.
 
Ron the Greek (5/2) draws the inside post position and the morning line spot as favorite.  Ron the Greek will attempt to become only the third horse to win the Santa Anita Handicap and the Jockey Club Gold Cup in the same year. Affirmed did it in 1979 and then John Henry won both races in 1981, both of those horses are in the Hall of Fame.
 
In addition to the Big ‘Cap, Ron the Greek won The Stephen Foster  (G1) at Churchill Downs. A win in the JCGC and then the Classic would give win him four grade one victories and make him a worthy candidate to take the Horse of the Year title from I’ll Have Another. Does that help answer the question as to whether Mott will have Ron the Greek at 100% on Saturday? If he is ready, he is clearly the horse to beat.
 
Stay Thirsty (12-1) has had a disappointing four year-old season.  He is zero for three in 2012, with two fifth place finishes in his graded stakes races.
 
Ruler On Ice (20-1) has been equally unimpressive. It seems that his connections are hoping for rain and a chance to renew the magic of their sloppy track Belmont Stakes long shot victory.  His off track record is impressive.
 
Hymn Book (5-1) has only one win in 2012, and that was in the Donn Handicap (G1) in February.  Trainer Shug McGaughey has said that they have no plans for Hymn Book to run in the Classic. His recent fast workouts seem to show that Hymn Book will be ready to put in his best effort in the JCGC. Is that effort good enough for this field?
 
Fort Larned (7/2) has won the Cornhusker and the Whitney in very impressive fashion. Those victories earned Beyer Speed Figures of 108 and 110. The Ian Wilkes trainee’s win over Ron the Greek and Flat Out in the Whitney had many people putting him at the top of the handicap division. Keep in mind that he has never run at Belmont.
 
Atigun (15-1) is one of the three year-olds in the field. Trainer Ken McPeek never shies away from any competition. Atigun is without a stakes win in 2012, and his recent fourth place in the dead heat Travers seems to put him below his elders.
 
Fast Falcon (12-1) is the late developing Nick Zito sophomore. Coming in third, he was the horse that had the best finish in the Travers, but he still only has a maiden victory to his credit.
 
San Pablo (12-1) goes out for trainer Todd Pletcher. He has won his last two starts, both of them against small fields and both of them earned 102 BSFs. The most recent was the Iselin Handicap (G3) at Monmouth Park.
 
Flat Out (3-1) will try to defend his JCGC title, which was his last victory. The horse has changed barns and has only run twice since joining Bill Mott.  Mott admitted that Flat Out was not peeking for his first start at Monmouth and in the Whitney he had a very wide trip.  Flat Out is two for two at Belmont Park.
 
Game Ball (50-1) is another wacky long shot entry from trainer Naipaul Chatterpaul. The horse’s last nine starts have been on the turf.  His last dirt win came at Fort Erie in a $10,000 starter allowance in 2011.
 
The Jockey Club Gold Cup is race 10 on the Super Saturday card at Belmont Park that also includes:
 
Race 5 – Beldame (G1) – fillies/mares – mile and an eighth
Race 6 – Kelso Handicap (G2) - mile
Race 7 – Vosburgh (G1) – six furlongs
Race 8 – Flower Bowl (G1) – fillies/mares – mile and quarter TURF
Race 9 – Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) – mile and a half TURF
Race 10 – Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) – mile and a quarter
 
The Pick 6 begins with race 6 and the all stakes Pick 4 begins in race 7.
 
 
 
  

 

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Older Comments about Jockey Club Gold Cup: Bill Mott’s Race to Win?...

Ron the Greek, Hymn Book, Flat Out. I like both Hymn Book and Ron the Greek.
Fast Falcon and Ron the Greek battle the last furlong for the win.
Not the most thought trough method of wagering but then I have heard worse
Following up on Mike in SB ---> Fort Larned is historically preserved in Kansas. The fort operated from 1859 to 1878 to protect the Santa Fe Trail.
Since I grew up 30 miles from Fort Larned, the fort, I've got to bet on Fort Larned, the horse. Doubt if he goes off at 7/2 though.
Like Fort Larned and Stay Thirsty in here.
Both Fort Larned and Ron the Greek have good off track form.
If the track turns up sloppy, then I just cannot bet against Ruler On Ice. Otherwise, I like Fort Larned and Ron the Greek.
To me is seems RTG and Fort Larned will take this to the wire unless FL is allowed to set his own pace or stalk as he did last time. These two seem to be above the rest. I like Hym 3rd
Mott has a stacked deck to be sure with The Greek and Flat Out, but he better beware the Ian Wilkes charge ... Fort Larned might take this one wire-to-wire.

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