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Owner-breeder William S. Farish (right) leads Code of Honor down Victory Lane after the 2019 Jockey Club Gold Cup with jockey John Velazquez aboard
The highlight of the Belmont Park Fall Championship Meeting is the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1), a "Win and You're In" qualifier for the Breeders' Cup Classic, contested at the Classic distance of 1 1/4 miles on the main track. Conditions were excellent for late September, with sun earlier in the card giving way to clouds later and temperatures in the mid 70's at the historic Long Island facility, with a fast main track and the turf courses firm. Just 5 horses made final entry with Suburban (G2) and Woodward (G1) winner Preservationist sent off as the 9-5 favorite. In to challenge him included 2-1 second choice Code of Honor, winner of the Dwyer (G3) and the Travers (G1), and 11-4 third choice Tacitus, 2nd in the Belmont (G1), Jim Dandy (G2), and Travers.
Vino Rosso (inside) and Code of Honor (outside) duel down the stretch after bumping 3 times.
# Horse Jockey Win Place Show 2 Code of Honor Velazquez 6.00 3.30 2.20 3 Vino Rosso Ortiz Jr. 4.70 2.80 1 Tacitus Ortiz 2.30 Winning Time: 2:00.30 $1 Exacta 2-3 11.90 $1 Trifecta 2-3-1 26.50 $1 Superfecta 2-3-1-4 32.20Results Chart
Code of Honor in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Shug McGaughey said, "Both horses ran incredible races and you hate to see it happen like this. I do think we had gotten by him and the other horse [No. 5, Vino Rosso] came out into us a little bit. We battled back to just be beaten by a nose. I can't say enough about Code of Honor to be able to step up against older horses the way he did today. I thought maybe Johnny [Velazquez] had to move a little sooner than he wanted to just because Tacitus and Preservationist weren't able to put the pressure on Vino Rosso. I thought we had him at every jump and [Vino Rosso] kind of came out."
Left: Code of Honor heads back to the barn.
Right: Code of Honor get hosed off after the race. Winning jockey John Velazquez said, "Honestly, he came out and bumped my horse on me. I had put the head in front of him and he bumped him. It kind of got my horse off balance for the second time when he bumped him. And now he puts the head in front of me and I'm trying to get back in front him and he beats me by a head or a nose or whatever it is. It was a perfect trip, no complaints at all. Just when we got to the eighth pole, he bumped me a little bit, just enough to get my horse off balance. [Code Of Honor] has been showing up the last three races. He's putting it together. I'm very proud of him. He's the top of the [3-year old] division now, I believe."
Left: Code of Honor returns after the race. McGaughey added, "He's made so much improvement since the [Kentucky] Derby. I couldn't be any prouder of him than I am. I would have to think (that he is the top 3-year-old). Who's done more? Maximum Security has won a couple of Grade 1's but where's he now. We've been going since the first of January; I think that says a lot. We'll see how he comes out of it and I'll talk to Mr. Farish and we'll figure (Breeders' Cup Classic) out from there."
Right: Code of Honor circles while they consider the inquiry. Winning owner-breeder William S. Farish said, "I don't go after anybody, but this is a wonderful horse and he deserved it. I saw the pictures of it and it was definitely three bumps but bottom line, we're all very excited. It was a really meaningful win for us. We had our family here from all over the country and Shug is just a great, great friend, a wonderful trainer and he did a fabulous job with this horse. This is just fantastic. (The Breeders' Cup) is up in the air. This horse needs a little vacation but on the other hand, he comes out of his races well and that is certainly a possibility."
Left: Second place finisher (disqualified from 1st) Vino Rosso warms up before the race. Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. said, "He fought hard. I was proud of the way he ran."
Right: Vino Rosso circles while they look at the inquiry.
Left: Third place finisher Tacitus returns after the race. Trainer Bill Mott said, "He runs good every time. He shows up every time. There isn't one time he doesn't give it a try."
Right: Fourth place finisher and beaten favorite Preservationist in the paddock before the race. The Jimmy Jerkens trainee improved his record to 6 wins, 1 second, and 2 thirds in 11 starts, earning $1,084,550 for owner Centennial Farms.
Midnight Bisou wins the Beldame Stakes
Jockey Jose Bracho sent 49-1 longest shot Spring in the Wind to the lead exiting the chute and she set fractions of 24.83 and 48.09 while pressed by Midnight Bisou and stalked by Wow Cat. Turning for home jockey John Velazquez sent Midnight Bisou to challenge and she took over through 3/4 in 1:11.98 and 1 mile in 1:36.36, bumping into Wow Cat at the 3/16 pole. Kept to task by Velazquez, Midnight Bisou drew off late to win by 3 1/4 lengths in 1:48.86. It was another 5 1/4 lengths back to 38-1 Crimson Frost third.
Left: Midnight Bisou in the winner's circle. Scott Blasi, assistant to winning trainer Steve Asmussen said, "You're always a little worried drawing the one-hole in short fields, but I thought Johnny rode her great and did a terrific job riding her to the wire. She proved to be the best. She's just been an amazing horse this year. The way she's developed this year, she's turned a corner going from 3 to 4, and it's exciting. She's been training great since the Personal Ensign and hopefully we can just keep her happy going forward."
Right: Midnight Bisou heads out of the paddock before the race. Winning jockey John Velazquez said, "It was pretty easy for her. I didn't have to do very much, just keep her out of trouble, and she did what she had to do. I didn't have to hit her or anything. I just showed her the whip, and let her know she had to run. That was it. She's a much better horse this year. She wasn't as consistent last year. After talking to Mike [Smith], when I rode her in the Breeders' Cup, he said, 'She's not too crazy about the track at Churchill Downs, anyway.' She came back this year and hasn't run bad yet."
Left: Second place finisher Wow Cat returns after the race. Jockey Jose Ortiz said, "She gave me a good run. I had a great trip. I was a little uncomfortable having to go early to make it to the hole by the half-mile pole. I think I did everything I could. She ran good in the Breeders' Cup last year. I think this will set her up just the same. She ran the same exact race last year."
Right: Third place finisher Crimson Frost in the paddock before the race. The Michelle Nevin trainee improved her record to 5 wins, 6 seconds, and 5 thirds in 26 starts, earning $407,528 for owner Barry Ostrager.
Imperial Hint (inside) wins the Vosburgh Stakes
Jockey Javier Castellano sent Imperial Hint to the lead through fractions of 22.11 and 44.65 whle pressed by Firenze Fire and stalked by Brown Buckeye. Entering the lane, Firenze Fire moved up to challenge, gaining a short lead through 5f in 56.19, but Imperial Hint fought back to win by a nose in 1:08.35. It was a long 9 3/4 lengths back to Brown Buckeye third, and 3 1/4 more to American Power last.
Left: Imperial Hint in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Luis Carvajal Jr. said, "Javier said that he was so confident. These are two very nice horses. This was a great race. This was the kind of race that you wanted to see, even though at 1-5 you want to win easy, it doesn't always work out that way. It seemed like he was comfortable, and he was going to make it look easy, but Firenze Fire came back on the outside and he got a surprise from that horse. He's small but you can see he has heart. It's a long trip to California but he was there before and this race fit perfectly. I don't think we'll have to do much after this. I won't worry too much about getting him a lot of works or anything like that. The (BC) Sprint will be one of the greatest races that Saturday. There are a lot of great elements in that race."
Right: Imperial Hint takes his walk down Victory Lane led by owner Raymond Mamone. Winning jockey Javier Castellano said, "It was unbelievable. You never know in this game, nothing is for sure. You have to ride your race, and this is a great horse. I loved the way he did it. He fought all the way to the end. He didn't want to get beat. I give all credit to the horse and the trainer, he did a great job. Now, we have the Breeders' Cup, and I'm looking forward to it. He's special. He showed the talent he has today. He can win by 10 lengths or win by a nose. No matter what, he knows how to get it [done]. I'm very proud of him."
Left: Second place finisher Firenze Fire returns after the race. Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. said, "He passed [Imperial Hint] and the other horse came back on him. He tried to fight back. There was no speed in the race except the horse to beat, so I had to go for it. I took my horse out of his place too early. You don't want to do that, but I had to do it. I thought it was a little early to try and jump on him. It worked out good turning for home and at the 3/16 pole, but it didn't work out in the end."
Right: Third place finisher Brown Buckeye in the paddock before the race. The Anthony Quartarolo trainee improved his record to 7 wins, 1 second, and 3 thirds in 13 starts, earning $223,464 for owner Ron Paolucci.
The $200,000 Pilgrim Stakes (G3) is not a Challenge race but is a useful prep for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf as it features 2-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles on the Widener turf course. Debut winner No Word was sent off as the 2-1 favorite in the field of 9 over 5-2 Structor, also a debut winner, and 7-2 Our Country, 4th in the With Anticipation (G3) after winning his first 2 starts.
Jockey Jose Lezcano sent 15-1 Tuggle the lead through fractions of 23.77, 47.23, and 1:11.53 while pressed by 14-1 Maxwell Esquire and stalked by 10-1 Andesite. Turning for home, ockey Irad Ortiz Jr. sent Structor, 4th early to the front through 1 mile in 1:35.34. Andesite attempted to close late but Structor held him off to win by a head. It was another 1 1/4 lengths back to late-running Our Country third, while favorite No Word checked in 5th.
Left: Structor heads to the winner's circle. Winning jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. said, "I didn't want to go that wide, but I didn't have any other option. If I wanted to drop in some more, I would have to keep taking him back and I didn't want to do that. He needed the race. I think he will improve. The first time was a slow pace and he just finished. Today, he moved little more in the beginning. He needed the race to get to the next level.He did everything perfectly. He's a nice horse. He's got some talent. I think he's going to get to the next level."
Right: Fifth place finisher and beaten favorite No Word returns after the race. The Todd Pletcher trainee has a record of 1 win in 2 starts, earning $57,500 for owner-breeder Wertheimer et Frere.
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