Breeders Cup Hopefuls in Super Saturday at Belmont
With the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic due to take place at Churchill Downs on November 5, punters will no doubt be paying close attention to the performance of their favorites in upcoming races, including the six graded stakes on Belmont Park’s Super Saturday card this weekend – the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational; the Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational; the Flower Bowl Invitational; the Beldame; the Vosburgh; and the Kelso Breeders’ Cup Handicap. All six races feature prime contenders for the prestigious Breeders Cup, and Saturday’s races can be a make-or-break scenario for eligibility.
Contenders for the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup, run over a distance of 1 1/4 miles, include Stay Thirsty, Flat Out, Birdrun and Drosselmeyer. The $350,000 Beldame race over 1 1/8 miles for fillies has pegged Horse of the Year hopeful Havre de Grace as a favorite, while Uncle Mo is favored to win in the one-mile, turf-track Kelso, with Jackson Bend seen as his biggest rival.
The 1 1/2 mile Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, with a $500,000 purse, will feature competitors Cape Blanco, Sword Dancer, Teaks North, and Mission Approved. The six-furlong Vosburgh, with a purse of $350,000 features Big Drama, Euroears and Trappe Shot. The $500,000 Flower Bowl, a 1 1/4 mile race, will see Deluxe making her second start against Stacelita.
This will be Uncle Mo's second start since being laid up for four months due to ill health caused by a liver problem. Fans are hopeful that he has regained his former strength and spirit that had experts comparing him to the legendary Seattle Slew, with hopes for a Triple Crown Victory spurred on by his Breeders' Cup Juvenile victory last year. His first race following his illness was the Grade 1 King's Bishop where he lost by a nose to Caleb's Posse, a horse which many believe he would have beaten with ease in the past. Nonetheless, loyal fans will be watching for his full return to form on Saturday, which could put him in the running as favorite for the Breeders' Cup.
The rivalry between Havre de Grace and Blind Luck will not continue through to the Saturday Special at Belmont, as Blind Luck remains on the West Coast to run at Santa Anita in the Lady's Secret on Saturday. Nor will their paths cross in the Breeders' Cup Classic, as Blind Luck's trainer, Ferry Hollendorfer, says she will be running in the Ladies Classic, while Havre de Grace is aiming for the Breeders Cup Classic.