Worth $3.4 million, the five Grade 1 races and one Grade 2 event at Belmont Park on Super Saturday, September 28, will bring together many of the nation’s top thoroughbreds for one spectacular day of racing.
The centerpiece of the card is the Grade 1, $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational, a 1 ¼-mile race that has graced the resumes of some of the sport’s biggest stars, from Man o’ War, who won the second running in 1920, to Kelso, who won it five straight times from 1960-64, and Curlin, whose back-to-back victories in 2007 and 2008 were the lynchpins of consecutive Horse of the Year honors.
Belmont S. (G1) star Palace Malice has been a beast since the summer and will hope to improve off of his fourth-place effort in the Travers S. (G1) when starting horribly and missing by less than a length. The Todd Pletcher charge continues to train forwardly and looms large in this spot.
Kentucky Derby (G1) victor Orb made a short lead before finishing third in the Travers and could offer more second off the layoff in this spot. The Shug McGaughey trained son of Malibu Moon has a wicked turn of foot and could be tough to hold off with his best. Multiple Grade 1 winner Flat Out is one of two likely for Bill Mott and was a game second in the Woodward S. (G1) last time behind Alpha, who also rates as an obvious contender. Whitney (G1) star Cross Traffic gives Pletcher a fine one-two combo and the lighly raced sort always seems to run huge. Two-time Grade 1 winner Ron the Greek and Iselin (G3) star Last Gunfighter are also candidates in this stellar event.
With all six graded stakes races serving as “Win and You’re In” events for the Breeders’ Cup in November at Santa Anita Park, the Grade 1, $600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, the Grade 1, $600,000 Flower Bowl Invitational, the Grade 1, $400,000 Beldame Invitational, the Grade 1, $400,000 Vosburgh Invitational and the Grade 2, $400,000 Kelso Invitational Handicap will be hotly contested as well.
Super Saturday and Belmont Wagering
A $300,000 Guaranteed Late Pick 4 will be offered on Saturdays throughout the 2013 Belmont Park fall meet.
Although Belmont Park offers daily Pick 4’s on races 2-5 and the final four races of the day, the $300,000 guarantee applies only to the Late Pick 4 on Saturdays. The Late Pick 4 is a 50 cent minimum wager in which the bettor must correctly pick the winners of the last four races on the card, usually beginning with race 7 on Belmont Saturdays.
By guaranteeing the wager for $300,000, Belmont Park will supplement the difference if the total wagering pool for the Saturday Late Pick 4 is less than $300,000.
On Super Saturday, September 28, Belmont Park will offer a $500,000 Guaranteed Pick 4. Included on the day’s card are five Grade 1 races: The Jockey Club Gold Cup, the Beldame, the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, the Flower Bowl, and the Vosburgh.
Handicapping Super Saturday and Belmont Park
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Super Saturday News
Mott talks up his Super Saturday contenders
by Handicapper’s Edge
Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott will be well-represented on Belmont Park’s Super Saturday with Royal Delta set to defend her title in the Grade 1, $400,000 Beldame Invitational, Flat Out attempting to turn the hat trick in the Grade 1, $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational, Slumber heading to the Grade 1, $600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational, Ron the Greek in either the Jockey Club Gold Cup or the Grade 2, $400,000 Kelso Invitational Handicap and possibly White Rose for the Grade 1, $600,000 Flower Bowl Invitational.
“Slumber is doing well,” Mott said of the five-year-old British-bred son of Cacique, who won an optional claimer at Saratoga each of the past two summers. “He’s two-for-two with us; it’s only taken two years to get those wins, but he’s doing fine. He’s stepped up twice for us, and he hasn’t done anything wrong, and he trains well. Hopefully, he’ll figure.”
Flat Out, winner of the 2011 and 2012 editions of the Jockey Club Gold Cup, has a record of 5-0-1 from six starts at Belmont Park and may be joined in the 1 1/4-mile race by Ron the Greek, sixth in last year’s edition.
“Flat Out has never disappointed anybody here,” Mott noted of the seven-year-old, second by a head to Alpha in the Grade 1 Woodward last out. “He’s doing well and he certainly likes it here. With Ron the Greek, initially, it was my idea to try him at a flat mile, but I’m fine with it if the owners decide to go in the Jockey Club Gold Cup.”
Two-time Eclipse Award winner Royal Delta has won her past two races by a combined winning margin of 15 1/4 lengths, most recently beating Authenticity in the Personal Ensign Handicap at Saratoga. In the Beldame, she will be confronted with a field that could include the Todd Pletcher-trained Authenticity and her stablemate, multiple Grade 1 winner Princess of Sylmar, star of the Kentucky Oaks, Coaching Club American Oaks and Alabama.
“She’s a serious filly,” Mott said of Princess of Sylmar, who will be facing older horses for the first time in the 1 1/8-mile Beldame. “You can’t take her for granted. But Royal Delta is doing well. I would say it seems she’s on the same path she was last year (en route to her second Breeders’ Cup Distaff win).”
Mott added that Close Hatches, who Saturday at Parx Racing added a second Grade 1 to her resume when taking the Cotillion, emerged from her victory in good order.
“She was a little fresh but she went right to the leaders and put them away and won the race,” he said. “She did it with authority.”
In other Super Saturday news, The Lumber Guy is scheduled to have his final breeze for the Vosburgh either Monday or Tuesday, according to trainer Mike Hushion.
Looking to defend his title in the six-furlong Vosburgh Invitational and earn a trip back to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, The Lumber Guy came off a six-month layoff on August 23 to finish second in the restricted Chowder’s First overnight stakes at Saratoga. The gray Grand Slam colt has worked twice since, including a bullet five-furlong move in :59 2/5 on September 14.
“He’s a big, strong horse and he hadn’t really run his race since (finishing second to Trinniberg last year in) the Breeders’ Cup,” Hushion said of The Lumber Guy, who remained in California during the winter and finished seventh twice at Santa Anita in the Malibu and San Carlos. “At least, that’s how I consoled myself after the race at Saratoga. But, between that race and his work on the 14th, there will be no excuses this time.”
Overall, the New York-bred four-year-old is 4-2-0 from 10 starts, with earnings of $756,300, including a victory in last year’s Jerome.
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Super Saturday Race Info:
When: Saturday, September 28
Where: Belmont Park, NY
First Post: 1:05 p.m. ET
Belmont Park 2013 Fall Championship Meet
Dates: September 7 through October 27
Belmont Park horse racing schedule: Dark Mondays and Tuesdays
Post Times: 1:05 p.m. ET in September and 12:50 in October.
Belmont Park Racetrack Information
Main track (dirt): 1 1/2 mile oval
Length of stretch from last turn to finish line: 1,097 feet
Widener turf: 1 5/16 mile, 27 feet inside main track
Inner turf course: 1 3/16 miles
Bets available may include: Win, Place, Show, Quinella, Exacta, Trifecta, Superfecta, Daily Double, Pick 3, and Pick 4.