' 2009 Jockey Club Gold Cup Results
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2009 Jockey Club Gold Cup Results

Summer Bird takes his walk down Victory Lane led by owner Dr. K.K. Jayaraman after the 2009 Jockey Club Gold Cup
Date: 10/03/2009

The $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) is the highlight of the Belmont Park Fall Championship Meeting, and is a major prep for the Breeders' Cup Classic. Officially 7,000 fans braved heavy rains on Saturday with temperatures in the mid 60's. A field of seven older horses went to post in this 1 1/4 mile main track feature, with Belmont and Travers Stakes winner Summer Bird sent off as the 5-4 favorite in his first start against open company. In to challenge the Tim Ice trained son of Birdstone included Quality Road and Macho Again, who went off at equal odds of 5-2. Quality Road won the Florida Derby earlier in the year and then came back to win the Amsterdam before finishing third in the Travers, while Macho Again won the Stephen Foster Handicap before finishing second in both the Whitney and the Woodward Stakes.

Summer Bird and Quality Road battle down the stretch.

23-1 Tizway contested the early lead with Quality Road around the clubhouse turn and down the backstretch through an opening quarter mile in 24.96 and a half in 49.73 through the slop and the rain, with 12-1 Asiatic Boy and favorite Summer Bird stalking them third and fourth respectively. Around the far turn, Quality Road took over the lead through 3/4 in 1:13.12 and 1 mile in 1:37.62, as Summer Bird passed the tiring Tizway entering the stretch. Quality Road and Summer Bird both drifted out wide to avoid the deep rail and the pair hooked up with 3/16 remaining. They battled the length of the stretch but Summer Bird dug in late to pull ahead for the hard-fought 1 length victory in 2:02.51. It was a long 4 1/2 lengths back to Tizway third, and a long 6 1/2 more to late-running Macho Again fourth.

Check out the other races on the card: The Beldame, Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational, The Vosburgh, and The Flower Bowl Invitational.

 #  Horse              Jockey          Win  Place   Show
 3  Summer Bird        Desormeaux     4.50   2.80   2.10
 7  Quality Road       Velazquez             3.80   3.80
 4  Tizway             Maragh                       6.30

Winning Time:  2:02.51

$2 Exacta  3-7            15.20
$2 Trifecta 3-7-4         95.00
$2 Superfecta 3-7-4-2    300.40
Results Chart

Left: Summer Bird in the winner's circle with trainer Tim Ice at his hip. Ice said, "When Kent swung him to the outside I knew he had the spot he wanted. He had said in the paddock the inside wasn't that good so he wanted him about 4 or 5 off the rail. When Summer Bird took the lead I was very confident that no one was going to get in front of him. Summer Bird was hanging a little bit on him; Kent said it was easier than it looked. He was in no doubt he was going to win the race. (The final 1/16) I was thinking no one was going to get by him. He's that kind of a racehorse. He's going to dig back in. I was feeling pretty confident."

Right: Summer Bird returns after the race.

Left: Summer Bird heads out to the track. His jockey Kent Desormeaux said, "Unlike the Travers, he was completely off the bridle, just cruising along. Once I positioned him, he was floating, completely turned off. I think he was idling in the stretch. At the 1/4 pole, he spit past Quality Road and he was idling. He's trying to be the best horse I've ever ridden. By far (his best effort). He was awesome today. He pulled up quietly like nothing had ever happened."

Right: The trophy presentation with owner Dr. K.K. Jayaraman holding up the trophy.

Left: Summer Bird in the paddock before the race.

Right: Summer Bird in the post parade. His trainer Tim Ice said, "It means a lot to win the three races in New York. It's been 20 years since a 3-year-old won the Belmont Stakes, the Travers, and the Jockey Club Gold Cup. I think it puts him in an elite group and he should be named (champion) three-year-old colt. The goal is the Breeders' Cup [Classic]. We'll take a couple of days and see how he is."

Left: Second place finisher Quality Road in the paddock before the race. His trainer Todd Pletcher said, "He ran well. I don't think (his acting up) before the start had any bearing on the race. I think he's better on fast track. Summer Bird relishes this kind of surface. We will talk with Mr. Evans (about the Breeders' Cup). It's run on synthetic so we have some thinking to do." His jockey John Velazquez added, "He put in a good effort. I don't think we've seen the best of him yet. I'm not knocking (Summer Bird). The other horse ran a great race, too. I think my horse is better on a dry track. I would like to see both horses on a dry track to see which one is the best horse. (Summer Bird) had an advantage over my horse. He had been running all summer long. My horse was stopped twice and came back at 6 1/2 furlongs then went to 1 1/4 miles over a wet track. I'm not frustrated. I just think my horse is better than (he was today)."

Right: Third place finisher Tizway returns after the race. His trainer H. James Bond said, "A good effort. The other horse just loves the mud." His jockey Rajiv Maragh added, "My horse earned respect for finishing third. We had a clear shot with a nice pace. The race really took off at the 1/2 mile pole and he couldn't keep up with the top two. We were clearly third best. This was a good group of horses. To be third-best in this race, it's not disappointing because there were good horses behind us."

Check out the other races on the card: The Beldame, Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational, The Vosburgh, and The Flower Bowl Invitational.

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