Skippylongstocking Under Consideration for G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup

August 10, 2023

Skippylongstocking takes the West Virginia Derby (G3) Aug. 6, 2022 (Coady Photography)

Billy the Greek Set for Stakes Debut in $150K Skidmore

NYRA Press Office

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.— Daniel Alonso’s multiple graded stakes-winner Skippylongstocking, a game third in last year’s Grade 1 Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets, is under consideration for the Grade 1, $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup on September 2 at the Spa. The 10-furlong test for 3-year-olds and up offers a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic in November at Santa Anita Park.

Trained by Saffie Joseph, Jr., the 4-year-old Exaggerator colt was last seen finishing a close second to Giant Game in the nine-furlong Grade 3 Cornhusker Handicap on July 8 at Prairie Meadows.

“The winner got an uncontested lead and we got to him, but just couldn’t go by him,” Joseph, Jr. said. “The track was favoring speed on the day, but we had a chance to go by and we couldn’t, so second best on the day.”

Joseph, Jr. said he is also considering the nine-furlong Grade 2, $1 million Charles Town Classic on August 25 for Skippylongstocking, who has breezed back twice over the Spa main track, including a half-mile in 49.56 on August 6.

“He went good. He went a half by himself last week and he’s going to go in company this week,” Joseph, Jr. said. “He’ll stay on a weekly schedule working. This week will be a stronger work in company.”

Joseph, Jr. said he has no qualms about the Classic distance of the Jockey Club Gold Cup for Skippylongstocking.

“Ten furlongs is well within his reach. He ran well in the Belmont at 12 furlongs,” Joseph, Jr. said.

Skippylongstocking, who also finished third in last year’s Grade 2 Wood Memorial at the Big A, notched Grade 3 scores last year in the West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer and the Harlan’s Holiday at Gulfstream Park. He added the Grade 3 Challenger to his ledger in March at Tampa Bay Downs.

The $37,000 purchase at the 2021 OBS Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training sale has banked $931,185 through a record of 18-5-2-3.

Billy the Greek (inside) a narrow debut winner July 21 (NYRA/Coglianese)

Kenneth Ramsey’s Kentucky homebred Billy the Greek earned a 65 Beyer Speed Figure for a narrow nose score in his July 21 debut here in a 5 1/2-furlong off-the-turf maiden special weight.

With Luis Saez up, the Goldencents gelding bobbled at the break and bumped with a rival before recovering to track in third position. He made a brave inside move in upper stretch and took charge late to secure the win at odds of 12-1.

Joseph, Jr. said Billy the Greek will target the $150,000 Skidmore, a 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint for juveniles on August 18.

“It was a pleasant surprise that he won first time out,” Joseph, Jr. said. “Now we hope he will run on the grass. He’s bred for the grass.”

Billy the Greek is out of the stakes-placed Kitten’s Joy mare Kitten’s Dancer, who is a half-sister to multiple graded stakes-winning millionaire Bigger Picture, who captured the 2017 Grade 1 United Nations over the Monmouth Park turf.

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