Siskany Makes Stateside Debut a Winning One in G2 Belmont Gold Cup

June 9, 2023

Siskany captures the Belmont Gold Cup in his first stateside run (Susie Raisher)

By Mary Eddy – NYRA Press Office

ELMONT, N.Y.— Godolphin’s British homebred Siskany lived up to his heavy favoritism when pouncing to a two-length victory in Friday’s Grade 2, $250,000 Belmont Gold Cup, a two-mile Widener turf test for older horses, at Belmont Park.

Trained by Charlie Appleby and expertly piloted by William Buick, the bay son of Dubawi made his first trip to America well worth the while in scoring the winner’s share of $137,500 and providing Appleby with his second win at Belmont Park in the past month, adding to a triumph with Ottoman Fleet in the Grade 2 Fort Marcy in early May.

“It worked out really well. He’s a horse who hasn’t had all the luck in the world in his past races,” said Liam O’Rourke, director of studs, stallions & breeding for Darley Europe. “He had a lovely sit today and a lovely ride from William. They went slow early and I think that helped him. He’s got a big finishing kick and nothing got in his way. He was resolute to the line. A deserving winner. There’s no doubt he improves when he travels.”

Siskany emerged from post 2 and was settled in the middle of the 13-horse field as Tide of the Sea bounded to the front under Katie Davis, racing four lengths ahead of Channel Maker and marking an opening quarter-mile in 24.81 seconds and a half-mile in 51.11 over the firm footing. Buick patiently held Siskany in his mid-pack stalking position passing the stands for the first time and into the second turn before the Trevor McCarthy-piloted L’Imperator, who had broken slowest of all, made a bold move from ninth on the far outside of the field to challenge Tide of the Sea for the lead after one-mile in 1:45.48.

Buick angled Siskany a couple paths from his inside stalking position to ensure racing room mid-way down the backstretch while L’Imperator quickly fizzled out after his ambitious bid. Tide of the Sea was once again in command through the latter part of the stretch and entering the final turn, but clung to a precarious lead as Channel Maker was asked for more from Luis Saez through 1 1/4 miles in 2:11.26.

“I thought getting him into the clear [on the backside] was a sensible thing to do,” Buick said. “He was the best horse in the race and it was an opportunity that arose. Channel Maker took me into the race and to get on the back of him was an obvious move at that point.”

A loaded Siskany loomed large on the outside as Amazing Grace rushed up the inside and took the lead at the top of the lane, but Siskany gained with every stride down the center of the course and came to even terms with his rival just past the eighth pole before kicking clear when shown a right-handed crop by Buick. An inside-rushing British Royalty passed a game Amazing Grace and The Grey Wizard made an impressive late run on the far outside from 11th, but was left with too much to do as Siskany prevailed in a final time of 3:23.94.

The Grey Wizard got up for place honors by a neck over British Royalty with Amazing Grace rounding out the superfecta another half-length back. Cibolian, High Definition, Tide of the Sea, Barbados, Strong Tide, Channel Maker, Tartini, L’Imperator and Cross Border completed the order of finish.

Buick, who rode the Appleby-trained Yibir to a third-place finish in last year’s Grade 1 Man o’ War here, expressed gratitude for the opportunity to return to Belmont this year.

“It’s great to win at Belmont,” Buick said. “We came here with Yibir last year and that was a bit frustrating. Like I’ve said, to be able to come over here and get these rides and opportunities is a real privilege. There are a lot of good riders here who could ride these horses, so I’m very happy I get the call to ride when they come over, especially because we are in the middle of a European season, as well.”

To the winner’s circle for Siskany and connections (NYRA/Coglianese)

Appleby said Siskany’s next start is likely to come back home in the U.K.

“Delighted with him,” said Appleby by phone from Newmarket. “He’s a good mile-and-six [furlong] horse [in the U.K.], two-miler [in the U.S.A.]. He’s done that well today. Unfortunately, there’s nothing left for him there on the other side of the water, so we will likely bring him back here and then look to Dubai again and hopefully work our way back from a Belmont Gold Cup, again.”

Siskany, who also won the Group 3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy in February at Meydan Racecourse, improved his lifetime record to 18-7-3-3. He returned $3.70 on a $2 win ticket.

Graham Motion, trainer of runner-up The Grey Wizard, expressed pride in the son of Caravaggio when making the step up from a last-out allowance win in April at Keeneland.

“He ran super. I was very pleased with his race,” Motion said. “This was a big step up from his last race, absolutely. It was a good effort. He’s very honest this horse. He hasn’t done much wrong. I was very pleased with him. The winner is legit.”

Motion added the $135,000 John’s Call, a 1 5/8-mile marathon restricted to horses who have not won a Grade 1 or Grade 2 race this year on August 23 at Saratoga Race Course, could be a viable next start.

“Where do we run now? It’s possible we may run him at Saratoga, maybe the John’s Call or one of the mile-and-a-half races, definitely,” he said.

Live racing resumes Saturday at Belmont for the lucrative 13-race Belmont Stakes Day card, featuring nine graded stakes races led by the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets in Race 12. First post is 11:20 a.m. Eastern.

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