It is last call for top horses hoping to make it to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, and we have seven Win and You’re In races on tap on Saturday between Belmont Park and Keeneland.
This year’s Breeders’ Cup will be held at Keeneland on Oct. 30-31. The $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) will earn the winner an automatic starting spot in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) to face off against Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and the brilliant mare Beholder.
American Pharoah is the current favorite in early wagering for the Classic at BetOnline at +250, with Beholder second at +400.
The third choice in early Classic betting is Honor Code at +450, who will be in action on Saturday at Belmont Park, the 3-5 morning line favorite for the $400,000 Kelso Handicap (G2).
Tonalist is the 6-5 morning line favorite for the Jockey Club Gold Cup, a race he won last year in addition to taking the Belmont Stakes (G1). The colt ran third behind Honor Code and Liam’s Map in his last start in the Whitney (G1) at Saratoga. He is currently listed at BetOnline at +1100 in early Classic betting.
Keeneland Race 6 The TCA G2 (Filly & Mare Sprint)
Judy the Beauty (6-5) is the defending Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) champ and has lost her two races since winning the race last year. She was only beaten a neck in the Humana Distaff (G1) at Churchill Downs off a five-month break and then was third as the 4-5 chalk in the Honorable Miss Handicap (G2) in her last outing on July 29 at Saratoga. She comes back off a two-month break and has been busy in the mornings, posting six works over the main track here. She has never been on a wet track but is bred to love it.
Keeneland Race 8 The Breeders’ Futurity G1 (Juvenile)
Sheikh of Sheikhs (5-1) took the field gate to wire to break his maiden in his debut going six furlongs on the main track at Saratoga. The $330,000 purchase has a solid off track pedigree, by Discreetly Mine out of a stakes placed Pioneering mare that has dropped three other winners, top earner stakes winner Conquest Two Step ($339,408).
Keeneland Race 9 The Shadwell Turf Mile G1 (Mile)
Dutch Connection (4-1) invades from overseas for the Charlie Hills barn. The colt is coming off a good seconds in the Lennox (G2) at Goodwood and the Prix Jean Prat (G1) at Chantilly in his last two starts. His last was his first go against older. He handled ground with some give to it well last out and is a two-time Group 3 winner. Without two-time Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) winner Wise Dan in this race it is wide open and it did not come up as tough as in previous years.
Belmont Park Race 6 The Flower Bowl G1 (Filly & Mare Turf)
Curvy (2-1) makes her U.S. debut here for the Wachman barn. The talented three-year-old filly won four in a row before checking in third in the Irish Oaks (G1) and then gave a good account of herself last out in the Yorkshire Oaks (G1), beaten just a half-length for the top spot. She has handled ground with plenty of give to it which should be the case today and makes her local debut with lasix added to the mix.
Belmont Park Race 7 The Frizette G1 (Juvenile Fillies)
Nemoralia (5-1) gets the call, as none of the U.S. runners in here really look that appealing. Our top pick ships in for the Noseda barn and she has won on the all-weather at Kempton and grass at Doncaster. The $170,000 Ocala purchase is bred to like a wet track, by More Than Ready out of the stakes winner Alina ($234,650). She debuts in the U.S. with lasix added and Rosario takes the call.
Belmont Race 8 The Champagne G1 (Juvenile)
Sail Ahoy (12-1) faces winners for the first time here for the Shug barn after the colt made a good late rally to get up late and break his maiden going a mile here. The barn brings them along slower than most and this guy still appears to have a ton of upside. He will benefit if the rains come, as he is bred top and bottom to relish a wet track. He is by Bernardini out of a Seeking the Gold mare that has dropped six winners including a pair of stakes winners, Point of Entry ($2.49 million) and Pine Island ($666,800).
Belmont Park Race 10 The Jockey Club Gold Cup G1 (Classic)
Constitution (3-1) set the early fractions and weakened to finish fifth in the Bernard Baruch Handicap (G2) trying turf for the first time. It was his first go off a seven-month layoff. Back in February, he won the Donn Handicap (G1) with a career best speed figure and won last year’s Florida Derby (G1). He should be tighter second off the bench for Pletcher and the switch back to dirt will suit him. Not a ton of speed in this short field and he is reunited with Castellano who has been on board for all four of his wins. He has a strong off track pedigree if the track is still wet.
For full card, betting reports for both Belmont Park and Keeneland for today, Michael Dempsey of turfnsport.com will be providing selections and analysis for all of the races.