E.P. Taylor Day
Autumn Miss Stakes
California Flag Hcp
Jockey Club Gold Cup
California Distaff Hcp
Happy Saver walks down Victory Lane after the 2020 Jockey Club Gold Cup with jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard
The highlight of the Belmont Park Fall Championship Meeting is the $250,000 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 typical for early October, with cloudy skies and temperatures near 70 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) winner Tacitus sent off as the 3-5 favorite off his second place finish in the Woodward (G1). In to challenge him included 9-4 second choice Happy Saver, a 3-year-old undefeated in 3 lifetime starts including the Federico Tesio last out, and 7-1 third choice Mystic Guide, the other 3-year-old in the field and winner of the Jim Dandy (G2). Due to the short field and heavy favoritism for Tacitus, there was no show pool.
Happy Saver (inside) and Mystic Guide (outside) duel down the stretch.
Jockey Jose Ortiz sent Tacitus to the lead on the clubhouse turn throuh easy fractions of 24.93, 49.68, 1:13.61, and 1:37.25 while pressed by Mystic Guide and stalked by Happy Saver. In the stretch, Tacitus tired allowing Mystic Guide to inherit the front through 9f in 1:49.35. Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. sent Happy Saver down to the inside for room and he rallied to outfinish Mystic Guide by 3/4 length in 2:01.77. It was another 1 1/4 lengths back to favorite Tacitus third.
# Horse Jockey Win Place Show 1 Happy Saver Ortiz Jr. 6.70 5.50 ---- 5 Mystic Guide Velazquez 7.70 ---- 4 Tacitus Ortiz ---- Winning Time: 2:01.77 $1 Exacta 1-5 17.20 $1 Trifecta 1-5-4 31.00 $1 Superfecta 1-5-4-2 62.20Results Chart
Left: Happy Saver in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Todd Pletcher said, "I thought he was a little uncomfortable inside there. He was in a tricky spot. Johnny [Velazquez on Mystic Guide] had first run on him and was able to keep him in there. To his credit, that was a pretty game performance to come up the inside there in his fourth start and first time against older horses going a mile and a quarter. To do that after breaking his maiden on June 20th is hard to do. I was very proud of the horse and his performance. I'm happy for the connections, the Wertheimers have been loyal supporters for many years and I'm appreciative of that. It's great to get a Grade 1 win for them. He's by a Derby winner [Super Saver in 2010] we trained, so it's fun all the way around."
Right: Happy Saver returns after the race.
Happy Saver exits the paddock before the race. Winning jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. said, "I thought we were going to be on the lead and I was surprised to look up and see Tacitus on the lead early. I can't take back but I can't go head and head so I just let my horse be there. I used him a little on the backside to stay close and go from there. I had horse. I just didn't have anywhere to go. I had a little space inside but i didn't know if Jose [Ortiz on Tacitus] had a lot of horse and I didn't want to check him because his horse has a big stride, so I just waited. When we turned for home, I knew he'd be there for me and if the hole was still open, I'd go for it. If not, I'd go around Johnny. But it was still open, so I went for it. When I needed him, he was there for me."
Left: Second place finisher Mystic Guide exits the paddock before the race. Jockey John Velazquez said, "He ran good. I had him where I wanted to be, and I was holding the eventual winner down in there but eventually he got through on the rail. If he [Happy Saver] had to come around us, we would have won the race, but he got through and that was the difference right there."
Right: Third place finisher Tacitus in the post parade. Jockey Jose Ortiz said, "We knew there was no speed in the race and Bill [Mott] didn't tie my hands. He told me if they give it to you going 49 and 50, just take it. He ran good."
Civil Union wins the Flower Bowl Stakes
Civil Union takes her walk down Victory Lane.
Jockey ose Lezcano sent 20-1 longest shot Lovely Lucky to the front first time by through fractions of 24.62, 48.93, 1:14.36, and 1:38.27 while pressed by Cambier Parc and stalked by 8-1 La Signare. Turning for home Lovely Lucky tired allowing Cambier Parc to inherit the front through 9f in 1:50.13 beforealso tiring. Civil Union, 6th early under Joel Rosario, came out 3 wide for room, rallying to the front and outfinishing late-running 5-1 My Sister Nat by a head in 2:01.28. It was another 3/4 length back to Nay Lady Nay third, and 2 3/4 more to favorite Cambier Parc fourth.
Left: Civil Union in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Shug McGaughey said, "I didn't know when she was back like that what was going to happen. They weren't flying up front, but I always like one to have a target. He had to save ground, come through, and it worked out great. She looked like she was going along alright, so it wasn't a matter of if she was back there and he was sort of asking her. It looked like down the backside, he let her move into better position to where she would have a chance at the leaders. I figured maybe the first two horses would come back to her a little bit. She was taking everything that we did with her and she was getting bigger and stronger."
Right: Civil Union returns after the race. Winning jockey Joel Rosario said, "It was close in the end, but she got the job done. She's a push-button filly. When you want her to go, she's just there for you, so she makes it easy for us. She gallops and gallops and had enough left to finish. It's nice to ride those kinds. She broke just fine and I was real comfortable where I was. I let her settle a bit because we were going a mile and a quarter and tried to wait to the last part before I made my move turning for home. I went inside a little bit and she handled everything well and then came out turning for home. It was good."
Left: Second place finisher My Sister Nat returns after the race. Jockey Jose Ortiz said, "I thought [Nay Lady Nay] was going to have more horse. She kind of pushed everybody on the left. Rosario got the hole and he had enough horse. His filly ran well."
Right: Third place finisher Nay Lady Nay heads out of the paddock. The Chad Brown trainee improved her record to 5 wins, 1 second, and 1 third in 9 starts, earning $446,180 for owners First Row Partners and Hidden Brook Farm.
Dayoutoftheoffice wins the Frizette Stakes
Dayoutoftheoffice takes her walk down Victory Lane.
Jockey Jose Ortiz sent 9-1 Joy's Rocket to the lead through fractions of 22.94 and 46.41 while pressed by Dayoutoftheoffice and stalked by Vequist. Turning for home Dayoutoftheoffice took over the lead through 3/4 in 1:10.98. Kept to task by Junior Alvarado, Dayoutoftheoffice drew off late to win by 2 lengths over Vequist in 1:35.82. It was a long 10 1/4 lengths back to 29-1 longest shot Cilla third.
Left: Dayoutoftheoffice in the winner's circle. Winning trainer and co-owner Tim Hamm, celebrating his first Grade 1 said, "The plan was to have a fresh horse for this time of the year. We wanted to just train her a little lightly and have her fresh for the fall run. Everything went according to plan. When you put a plan together that works - the team of (co-owner) Siena Farm and myself and all our assistants - you feel vindicated. We all thought this filly was special when she won at 4 1/2 [furlongs] because we knew she would be able to get longer than that. She was able to get the job done today. Hopefully everything comes back well. Unless there's some unforeseen circumstances, we'll be at the Breeders' Cup."
Right: Dayoutoftheoffice gets a kiss after the race. Winning jockey Junior Alvarado said, "I thought it [the pace] was going to be a little more contested and I was going to stalk but I felt like I was in control of the race from where I was. I knew I had the horse in front of me [measured], so I just made sure my filly got into a nice rhythm and at the same time keep everybody where I wanted them to be. It worked out great today. When I asked her turning for home, she responded beautifully. Post position (5) had a lot to do with how she ran today because it allowed me to control the race. It was just a matter of time before she got it to the next gear and really kicked on nicely at the end."
Left: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Vequist heads out of the paddock. Jockey Luis Saez said, "She broke pretty nice and I thought we were in a good spot. When we got to the three eighths, I started asking her a little and when we got to the stretch the winner took off. I wish we could have been outside [instead of inside post] so I could have pressed early, but that's racing."
Right: Third place finisher Cilla heads out of the paddock. The Bentley Combs trainee improved her record to 1 win, 0 seconds, and 2 thirds in 4 starts, earning $60,400 for owner-breeder P. Dale Ladner.
Jackie's Warrior wins the Champagne Stakes
Jackie's Warrior takes his walk down Victory Lane.
Jockey Joel Rosario hustled favorite Jackie's Warrior to the lead through fractions of 23.12, 46.14, and 1:10.68 while pressed by Reinvestment Risk and stalked by Midnight Bourbon. Turning for home Jackie's Warrior drew away from the field through 7f in 1:22.62, and finishing 5 1/2 lengths ahead of Reinvestment Risk in 1:35.42. It was a long 8 3/4 lengths back to Midnight Bourbon third.
Left: Jackie's Warrior in the winner's circle. Toby Sheets, assistant to winning trainer Steve Asmussen said, "He had an easy half-mile and I'm surprised he came home that quick. He's very impressive. He's a class act and does everything correct. The one-turn mile certainly didn't seem to bother him."
Right: Jackie's Warrior in the post parade. Winning jockey Joel Rosario said, I was very confident that he could get the mile. He just enjoyed what he was doing. I tried to get him away from there quickly and get position. I think the further he goes the better. He seemed to do it very easy today and I was very confident in him. I wanted to be a little out in front so he had confidence, and it looked like he liked that. I let him do whatever he wanted to do. He breaks two lengths in front of everyone and not all horses can do that. He's amazing."
Left: Second place finisher Reinvestment Risk returns after the race. Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. said, "We tried to stay a little closer to the pace today but we couldn't beat the winner; he's a very nice horse."
Right: Third place finisher Midnight Bourbon in the post parade. The Steve Asmussen trainee improved his record to 1 win, 1 second, and 2 thirds in 4 starts, erning $99,420 for owner Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC.
Closing out the stakes action, the $150,000 Sands Point Stakes (G2) is not a Breeders' Cup Challenge race, with a field of 8 three-year-old fillies going 1 mile around one turn of the Widener turf course, a potential prep for the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf. Miss J McKay was sent off as the 2-1 favorite off second place finishes in the Coronation Cup at Saratoga and the Music City Stakes at Kentucky Downs. In to challenger her included 5-2 second choice Tamahere, winner of the Prix la Sorellina Tattersalls in France, and 11-4 third choice Selflessly, 5th in last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) and winner of the Lake George (G3) last out.
Jockey Jose Lezcano sent 13-1 Pure Wow to the lead out of the chute through fractions of 23.87, 47.54, and 1:11.68 while pressed by Miss J McKay and stalked by 47-1 Drop a Hint. Turning for home Pure Wow tired as Tamahere, 7th early under Irad Ortiz Jr., came out 5 wide to sweep to the front through 7f in 1:23.02. Kept to task by Ortiz, Tamahere drew off to win by 2 lengths over late-running 5-1 fourth choice Speaktomeofsummer in 1:35.21. It was another 3/4 length back to Drop a Hint third, while favorite Miss J McKay faded to finish 7th beaten 5 1/4 lengths.
Left: Tamahere heads to the winner's circle. Winning trainer Chad Brown said, "She trained super and we momentarily thought about running in the Queen Elizabeth [Keeneland] for her first start in the country. I thought that would have been a little ambitious. She trained brilliantly. As you can see behind the gate, there's still some work to do. She's a high-strung horse. She was a little bit keen early on, but Irad got her to settle and she showed us that turn of foot that she showed us in the morning. She's a really exciting horse to have for the future. We're lucky to have her. She gave us a lot of confidence that she would be a good horse."
Right: Tamahere returns after the race. Winning jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. said, "She broke good and put me in a good position. We got some pace in front of us and that worked out perfect because she settled down and relaxed so well. The trainer had told me 'she has a nice turn-of-foot, you're going to love her.' I just trusted Chad and waited as long as I could and when I asked her, she was ready."
Left: Second place finisher Speaktomeofsummer returns after the race. Jockey Joel Rosario said, "It looked like for a second I had a hole to go through and then it just closed, so I had to wait a little longer. The other horse just got the jump. She ran well."
Right: Third place finisher Drop a Hint heads out to the track before the race. The Antonio Arriaga trainee improved her record to 1 win, 2 seconds, and 3 thirds in 12 starts, earning $85,712 for owners Sam Wilensky and Rosana Puerta Curbelo.
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