SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.— Grandview Equine, Cheyenne Stable and LNJ Foxwoods multiple graded stakes winner Olympiad surpassed the $2 million mark in purse earnings with a prominent two-length score in Saturday’s Grade 1, $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup at Saratoga Race Course.
Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott and piloted by regular rider Junior Alvarado, the 4-year-old Speightstown colt garnered a 105 Beyer Speed Figure and picked up a second “Win and You’re In” berth to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic on November 5 at Keeneland with his decisive victory over Grade 1-winner Americanrevolution in Saturday’s 10-furlong test for 3-year-olds and up.
Olympiad improved his record to 6-for-7 on the year, adding to victories in the Grade 3 Mineshaft on February 19 and Grade 2 New Orleans Classic on March 26 at Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots before securing triumphs in Churchill Downs’ Grade 2 Alysheba on May 6 and Grade 2 Stephen Foster on July 2, which also offered “Win and You’re In” status.
He entered the Jockey Club Gold Cup, his first attempt at 10 furlongs, off his lone defeat this year when a distant fourth behind Life Is Good in the nine-furlong Grade 1 Whitney on August 6 at the Spa.
“He had a poor race in the Whitney. The excuse that we gave him was the high heat and the high humidity,” Mott said. “He bounced back with the better weather yesterday. It seemed like he had good energy leaving the paddock and he ran that way.
“Olympiad looks like he exited the race in good order,” Mott added. “He ate up last night and he looked good on the shank this morning. It seemed like he had good energy and a good appetite.”
Mott said Olympiad will now target the 10-furlong Grade 1, $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland where he will face the undefeated Flightline, who earned a 126 Beyer for his 19 1/4-length score in Saturday’s Grade 1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar while trying the Classic distance for the first time.
“We are leaning toward the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Of course, the next question is going to be, ‘What about Flightline, who ran in California,’” Mott said. “They usually run more than one horse in the race, and we’ll probably be a participant. We won two Win-and-You’re-In races and we won at a mile and a quarter. It’s the end of the year with a big purse. We’ll probably have a lot of interest in going to the Breeders’ Cup Classic.”
Olympiad’s redemptive victory came one race after George Krikorian’s War Like Goddess, piloted by Joel Rosario, came up a neck short of measured pacesetter Virginia Joy in the 11-furlong Grade 2, $600,000 Flower Bowl.
Virginia Joy strolled through splits of 26.47 seconds, 53.29, 1:19.59 and 1:45.29 over the firm inner turf as War Like Goddess saved ground in fifth position before launching a strong bid from the quarter-pole. The 5-year-old English Channel mare reeled in all but the winner with an impressive turn of foot as Virginia Joy stopped the clock in 2:19.51.
“We are victims, naturally, in how the horses are going to run and how they perform. We are let down if they don’t perform as well or get the trip that we wanted,” Mott said. “So, it all comes into play. Naturally, we were elated when Olympiad came through for us.”
War Like Goddess was closer to the pace when overcoming splits of 53.77 and 1:19.88 to win the 12-furlong Grade 3 Bewitch in April at Keeneland and was nearer the decidedly swifter pace last out of 51.53 and 1:17.51 in the 12-furlong Grade 2 Glens Falls on August 6 at the Spa.
Mott indicated that War Like Goddess exited the race in good order and is likely to make her next start in the Breeders’ Cup but did not elaborate on the previously suggested possibility of racing against the boys in the 12-furlong Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf, to benefit from the added ground offered in comparison to the 1 3/16-mile Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf.
“I think both horses are going directly to the Breeders’ Cup. We’ll train them up to the race,” Mott said.
NYRA Press Office
Main photo: Olympiad wins the Jockey Club Gold Cup (NYRA/Coglianese)