Saturday’s Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup may be a little light on entries, but still remains one of the more intriguing early autumn races.
By Ryan Dickey
The Jockey Club Gold Cup to be contested at Belmont Park for 3-year-olds and upward going a mile and a quarter on the main track, the race has five probable starters a day before entries close on Wednesday.
Tacitus, Mystic Guide, Name Changer, Happy Saver and Prioritize are the probables per the Belmont Park racing office.
Possible last-minute entries include Tenfold, Forewarned and Plus Que Parfait. Horses nominated to the $250,000 Grade 1 tilt that are less-likely to be entered include Everfast, Money Moves and Multiplier.
The Saturday card at Belmont Park features the Jockey Club Gold Cup as well as the Grade 1 Flower Bowl, Grade 1 Champagne, Grade 1 Frizette and Grade 2 Sands Point.
Tacitus, trained by three-time Jockey Club Gold Cup winning trainer Bill Mott is the headliner.
Mott, who won the Gold Cup in 1995 with Cigar, in 2012 with two-time winner Flat Out and in 2013 with Ron the Greek looks to saddle Tacitus for the first time since the Tapit colt finished second in the Grade 1 Woodward at Saratoga on Sept. 5.
Tacitus will be trying the Jockey Club Gold Cup for the second straight year, following a third-place finish to Code of Honor, who hit the wire second behind Vino Rosso, but was elevated to first place after Vino Rosso was disqualified following a claim of foul and a steward’s inquiry.
A winner of four races from 13 career starts, The Juddmonte Farms-owned multiple graded stakes winner looks to bring his lifetime earnings over the $3 million mark in Saturday’s race.
Tacitus has never failed to hit the board at the 10 furlong distance, winning once while finishing second twice and third twice.
Mystic Guide is coming into the Jockey Club Gold Cup off his first career graded stakes victory, as he took the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes last month at Saratoga his last time out.
The Godolphin-owned Ghostzapper colt is trained by Michael Stidham and has earned $143,200 from five career starts. He has yet to try a mile and a quarter.
Graded stakes winner Name Changer (2018 Grade 3 Monmouth Cup Stakes) only raced once in 2019, and hasn’t won a race since the Queens County Stakes at Aqueduct in December of 2018.
This year, the Colts Neck Stables-owned 7-year-old son of Uncle Mo has run three times, failing to hit the board last out in the Grade 3 Salvatore Mile Stakes at Monmouth last month. Name Changer finished third in an allowance race at Laurel Park in July and second over the same track in stakes company for trainer Jorge Duarte Jr. in March.
Name Changer has yet to try 10 furlongs.
Happy Saver is a perfect 3-for-3 in his young career. The Todd Pletcher-trained 3-year-old Super Saver colt became a stakes winner last out by taking the Federico Tesio Stakes at Laurel last month.
Owned and bred by Wertheimer and Frere, Happy Saver looks to stretch from 1 ⅛ miles to the mile and a quarter distance for the first time. Pletcher looks to saddle his first Jockey Club Gold Cup winner.
Prioritize, the 5-year-old Tizway gelding owned by William Clifton Jr. rounds out the five probable Gold Cup entries. Multiple graded stakes placed, the H. James Bond trainee was purchased as a yearling from the 2016 Keeneland September sale for $45,000.
A career earner of $307,100, Prioritize finished third behind Global Campaign and Tacitus in the Woodward last out. He has tried 10 furlongs twice in 14 career starts, with his finish in the Woodward being the only time he hit the board at that distance.
Happy Saver and Tacitus should vie for the early lead if the race indeed has but five runners. The 2019 Jockey Club Gold Cup also only featured five entries. Vino Rosso took the other four runners gate-to-wire but was placed second after the interference of Code of Honor.