Mineshaft winning the Pimlico Special in May.
Belmont will hold the first half of their major Breeders' Cup Preps this weekend with four Grade 1 races on the card Saturday. The 85th running of the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup for three-year-olds and up at a mile and a quarter will be held as the 10th race on an 11 race card with a post time of 5:45pm Eastern. The other three races are the $750,000 Turf Classic Invitational at 1 1/2 miles for open company, the $750,000 Flower Bowl Invitational at 1 1/4 miles on the turf for the fillies, and the $500,000 Vosburgh at 6 1/2 furlongs on the dirt. Preps for the other four Breeders' Cup divisions will be held in a week on October 4th.
Multiple Grade 1 winning Mineshaft, who is expected to go off a strong favorite in Saturday's 85th running of the Grade 1, $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup, breezed five furlongs over Belmont's main track Monday morning in 1:01 2/5. It was the four-year-old's second workout since beating four overmatched foes in the Grade 1 Woodward on September 6th. "He's doing great," trainer Neil Howard said. "He's ready." Mineshaft, undefeated in a pair of starts at the Gold Cup distance of a mile and a quarter, may face only three other horses - Moon Ballad, Empire Maker and Evening Attire - in this year's Gold Cup. All three of his rivals, however, are Grade or Group 1 winners. Howard has trained his share of Grade 1 winners including 1990 Preakness winner Summer Squall, Runup the Colors, Secret Status and Tomisue's Delight, but says Mineshaft is in a league of his own. "I would never say anything to slight Summer Squall, but Mineshaft is a special horse," he said.
Empire Maker is now out of the Jockey Club Gold Cup.
Moon Ballad winner of the Dubai World Cup will return to the dirt for the first time since that victory.
Moon Ballad, winless in three starts since his five-length victory over Harlan's Holiday in the Dubai World Cup, should be the one to catch in the opening stages of the Gold Cup. He's going to have to run a monstrous race to hold off Mineshaft, Empire Maker and Evening Attire, but facing a small field might make his job as the pacesetter a bit easier. "Not having a lot of speed in there could benefit him," Albertrani said. "He'll be tough if he can repeat his World Cup effort." With the defection of Empire Maker, Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey has picked up the mount on Moon Ballad. The weight-for-age Jockey Club Gold Cup is New York's last major prep for the Breeders' Cup Classic, the feature of the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Santa Anita on October 25th.
Sulamani winner of the Arlington Million after the disqualification of Storming Home.
The Turf Classic-bound Lunar Sovereign, a visually impressive winner of Belmont's Grade 1 Man 'o War a few weeks ago, breezed a half mile over the main track in :49 3/5 Monday morning. Regular rider Richard Migliore was up for the work. Lunar Sovereign, who possesses an awesome turn of foot, beat a decent field in the Man o'War that included Grade 1 winners Denon and Balto Star. With the presence of Sulamani, Storming Home and Sabiango, the Turf Classic comes up a much stronger race. "The thought is he's doing great and he's four-for-four at Belmont," trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. "This is as tough as it gets. If he runs well here, that gives us a reason to look at the (October 25th) Breeders' Cup Turf."
Sabiango, a Group 1 winner in Germany and perhaps the biggest threat to take down Sulamani in the Turf Classic, breezed a half-mile over the "yielding" inner turf in :50 Wednesday morning. "I'm happy, but he didn't do anything special," said Sabiango's trainer, Andreas Wohler. Wohler doesn't start many horses in the U.S., but handicappers should take him seriously when he ships across the Atlantic. Two years ago, he saddled Sabiango's half brother, Silvano, to a victory in the Arlington Million. Silvano also finished second to With Anticipation in Belmont's Grade 1 Man O'War. "It's hard to compare (Silvano and Sabiango)," Wohler said. "Sabiango is a stayer; he wants a mile and a half. Silvano didn't want to go beyond a mile and a quarter. That's how With Anticipation got us in the Man 'o War." Jockey David Flores is scheduled to ride Sabiango for the first time in the Turf Classic.
Head Haze winner of the Beverly D. at Arlington.
Walzerkoenigin, a stakes winner in France, Germany and Italy is one of six females expected to run in Saturday's Grade 1, $750,000 Flower Bowl Invitational. She got her first feel for the Belmont turf Wednesday morning when breezing five furlongs over the inner course in 1:05 under jockey Edgar Prado who will ride her Saturday. "We're very happy," said Paul Harley, the racing manager to Gestut Schlenderhan. "She did everything that was required with her She'll probably have some light exercise tomorrow, but she might not leave the barn."
Walzerkoenigin, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Kingmambo, enters the Flower Bowl off a fourth-place finish to Heat Haze in the Beverly D. on August 16th. "Hopefully, the pace will be a bit quicker this time," Harley said. "They went forty-nine and three and that compromised this filly's chances. It was her first start in the U.S. and we're hoping she can improve a little with the experience under her belt." Harley said that even if Walzerkoenigin were to win the Flower Bowl, the four-year-old would not run in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf. "We're going to (Woodbine's) E.P. Taylor," Harley said. "We're trying to avoid facing all the top fillies at once." Others pointing for the Flower Bowl are Dimitrova, Dress to Thrill, Heat Haze, Riskaverse and Snow Dance.
Ghostzapper in the King's Bishop post parade at Saratoga.
The field for Saturday's G1, $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup (Race 10, 5:45 p.m., Free Past Performances)
PP HORSE TRAINER JOCKEY WGT 1 Quest Nick Zito Edgar Prado 126 2 Moon Ballad Saeed bin Suroor Jerry Bailey 126 3 Mineshaft Neil Howard Robby Albarado 126 4 Evening Attire Pat Kelly Mark Guidry 126 5 State Shinto Kiaran McLaughlin Richard Migliore 126 Moon Ballad will race with Lasix for the first time.
The field for Saturday's G1, $750,000 Turf Classic Invitational (Race 9, 5:13 p.m.)
PP HORSE TRAINER JOCKEY WGT 1 Polish Summer Andre Fabre John Velazquez 126 2 Slew Valley Gary Sciacca Javier Castellano 126 3a Balto Star Todd Pletcher Edgar Prado 126 4 Lunar Sovereign Kiaran McLaughlin Richard Migliore 126 5 Sabiango Andreas Wohler David Flores 126 6a Deeliteful Irving Michael Dickinson Joe Bravo 126 7 Sulamani Saeed bin Suroor Jerry Bailey 126 Sabiango will race on Lasix for the first time.
The field for Saturday's G1, $750,000 Flower Bowl Invitational (Race 8, 4:41 p.m.)
PP HORSE TRAINER JOCKEY WGT 1a Sixty Seconds Christophe Clement Corey Nakatani 118 2 Riskaverse Pat Kelly John Velazquez 120 3 Walzerkoenigin Peter Schiergen Edgar Prado 120 4a Dress To Thrill Christophe Clement Corey Nakatani 120 5 Primetimevalentine Danny Peitz Jose Santos 118 6 Dimitrova Dermot Weld Jerry Bailey 113 7 Snow Dance John Ward Jr. Richard Migliore 120 8 Heat Haze Bobby Frankel Jose Valdivia Jr. 123
The field for Saturday's Grade 1, $500,000 Vosburgh (Race 7, 4:09 p.m.)
PP HORSE TRAINER JOCKEY WGT 1 Gygistar Mark Hennig John Velazquez 126 2 Proud Citizen D. Wayne Lukas Gary Stevens 126 3 Ghostzapper Bobby Frankel Javier Castellano 123 4 Voodoo Jimmy Jerkens Jorge Chavez 126 5 Peeping Tom Pat Reynolds Shaun Bridgmohan 126 6 Posse Steve Asmussen Jerry Bailey 123 7 Ajedrez Wayne Catalano Eusebio Razo Jr. 126 8 Highway Prospector Mark Shuman Jose Santos 126 9 Papua Mike Hushion Edgar Prado 126 10 My Cousin Matt Scott Lake Travis Dunkelberger 126 11 Aggadan Richard Dutrow Jr. Corey Nakatani 126
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