Diversify wins the Whitney Handicap (G1) (c) NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography
A fascinating field of eight will go 1 1/4 miles in Saturday’s $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) at Belmont Park. The octet features the defending champ as well as a trio of accomplished horses who got their foundation in Europe. A Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) berth awaits the winner of the “Win & You’re In” event.
Here’s the field:
CARLINO (#1) (30-1) – Mark Hennig trainee gets the rail coming off an allowance score at Saratoga. Lemon Drop Kid gelding ran evenly in the Brooklyn (G2) at 1 1/2 miles in a prior graded run and might get a share today.
MENDELSSOHN (#3) (7-2) – Grade 1 turf hero ran a big second in the Travers and will have his final prep for the Breeders’ Cup Classic in this spot. Blue-blooded son of Scat Daddy retains Euro-based pilot Ryan Moore.
UNO MAS MODELO (#5) (30-1) – Macho Uno gelding comes off a pair of fine sprint outings at Saratoga, but this is an awfully ambitious spot for the five-year-old.
DIVERSIFY (#6) (4-5) – Classy Rick Violette Jr. trainee rides in on a three-race win streak and is the one to beat. New York-bred son of Bellamy Road loves the surface with an 8-6-2-0 local line, and he is also two-for-two at 10 furlongs.
DISCREET LOVER (#7) (15-1) – Five-year-old son of Repent will go over the $1 million mark in career earnings with a top-three finish here. Durable sort has a knack of getting minor awards in the big ones and looms as an exotics type.
THUNDER SNOW (#8) (6-1) – Multiple Group 1 victor has a lot of class. But Helmet colt will have to prove to me that his front-running Dubai World Cup (UAE-G1) victory was not simply a product of riding a pronounced track bias. Godolphin homebred draws outside and brings world-class pilot Christophe Soumillon with him.
The pace of the race could be rapid, with Diversify, Thunder Snow and Mendelssohn all being speedy sorts. I believe that Diversify will run the other pair into the ground on his favorite surface, exposing each today.
Belmont Stakes runner-up Gronkowski figures to benefit most from a lively tempo from off the pace. And I think it will be a two-horse race in the final furlong.
$20 Ex Box 2-6 = $40
$5 Tri Key 2,6 with 2,6 with 1,4,7 = $30