A field of nine sophomores will travel 1 1/2 miles on the Belmont Park Widener turf in Saturday’s inaugural $1 million Jockey Club Derby Invitational. The third leg of the Turf Trinity features a very competitive group of both domestic and international rising stars, and the victor will receive a starting berth into the $4 million Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) at Santa Anita on November 2 as part of the “Win & You’re In” Challenge Series.
A Thread of Blue (#1) (4-1) is perfectly drawn inside and will lead the way early on in the Jockey Club Derby.
Henley’s Joy (#3) (5-1) and Tone Broke (#6) (10-1) will likely be a few lengths back in the next flight, while top closers Digital Age (#8) (5-2) and Spanish Mission (#9) (3-1) will be unhurried early on.
$1 Trifecta 6 with 8,9 with all = $14
$1 Trifecta 6 with all with 8,9 = $14
$1 Trifecta 8,9 with 6 with all = $14
Here is the cast:
A THREAD OF BLUE (#1) (4-1) – Kiaran McLaughlin pupil led at every call in a facile Saratoga Derby victory in advance of this lucrative event. Hard Spun colt was second in his lone local appearance, and the Kentucky-bred looks to have a decisive early edge in the field. Luis Saez will be in the silks and putting the sophomore on top from the break.
CURRENT (#2) (15-1) – Todd Pletcher pupil was second-best in the Jersey Derby most recently in what looks like a good prep for his first try at 1 1/2 miles. Curlin colt is winless since 2018, though, and he will need marked improvement to upset this cast. Junior Alvarado has the call.
HENLEY’S JOY (#3) (5-1) – Belmont Derby (G1) victor finished with energy in his fifth-place finish in the Saratoga Derby last out. One of two in the field for Mike Maker, the Kitten’s Joy colt likes this course but he could be vulnerable if the surface has some give to it. Jose Lezcano rides the contender.
PEDRO CARA (#4) (12-1) – French invader has won two in succession and four-of-five overall in preparation of his stateside bow. Gelded sophomore has class question marks to answer in the Jockey Club Derby, but his form is excellent and he could surprise with a top performance.
SAN HUBERTO (#5) (10-1) – Stakes-winning son of Speightstown has come home first in three of his last four races for highly regarded conditioner Fabrice Chappet. The Irish-bred colt gets Lasix for his U.S. debut and picks up turf ace Flavien Prat, as well. Sophomore could be any kind with some value, as well.
TONE BROKE (#6) (10-1) – Broken Vow colt was a winner in the final two legs on the Canadian Triple Crown since taking the blinkers back off. Steve Asmussen trainee was impressive in his turf debut when rolling home in the Breeders’ Stakes, and he also picks up Hall of Fame pilot John Velazquez. Contender will track the pace early on.
KADAR (#7) (15-1) – Dark bay son of Scat Daddy rallied belatedly when seventh in the Saratoga Derby, and he could run a peak race in his third outing since arriving in the United States. Mike Maker trainee cost a bundle as a juvenile, and he rates as a sneaky exotics player at a big price from off the pace. Manny Franco will be in the stirrups atop the one-run closer.
DIGITAL AGE (#8) (5-2) – Grade 2 victor has given a fine account himself in the first two legs of the Turf Trinity, finishing fourth in the Belmont Derby (G1) and second in the Saratoga Derby. Consistently very good son of Invincible Spirit has improved his BRIS Speed numbers with each lifetime performance and is a top-three must use with Javier Castellano up.
SPANISH MISSION (#9) (3-1) – Group 3 star has ideal form coming into the Jockey Club Derby in preparation of his first run in the states. David Simcock-trained son of hot sire Noble Mission has never been better, and the colt has proven to be a top stayer who thrives at distances similar to what he will run on Saturday. Regular pilot Jamie Spencer coming along to ride is a big positive.
PHOTO: A Thread of Blue (c) Adam Coglianese Photography/Ethan Coglianese