We have four stakes races at Belmont Park on Saturday, but with short fields and heavy favorites at least for horseplayers it is anything but a Super Saturday.
Only five go in the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1), a “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).
Travers (G1) winner Code of Honor is the 8-5 morning line favorite as he takes on his elders for the first time. He only has to face three from the handicap division—Woodward (G1) winner Preservationist (9-5), Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) winner Vino Rosso (7-2) and longshot Olympic Village (30-1) who is coming off a victory in a $75,000 claimer.
Completing the field is the three-year-old Tacitus (5-2), who has run second in each of his last three starts in the Belmont Stakes (G1), Jim Dandy (G2) and Travers.
The stakes action starts in the fourth race with a field of six entered and four likely to start in the $300,000 Vosburgh (G1), a “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1).
Call Paul (15-1) will scratch to run at Delaware Park and Promises Fulfilled (7-2) worked at Churchill Downs on Friday.
Imperial Hint, winner of the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (G1) in his last outing is the 2-5 morning line favorite.
The $300,000 Beldame Invitational (G2) features another 2-5 morning line favorite in Midnight Bisou. The Steve Asmussen trainee is perfect in six starts this year, winning the Personal Ensign (G1) at Saratoga last out by a nose over Elate.
The $200,000 Pilgrim (G3) usually produces a few starters for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G3) and is the most attractive betting race among he four stakes on the 11-race Belmont Park card.
The Chad Brown trained Structor, a good looking maiden winner in his debut at Saratoga is the 5-2 morning line favorite.
Among his foes are the third and fourth place finishers in the With Anticipation—Andesite (10-1) and Our Country (4-1) and No Word (G3), an impressive maiden winner in his debut for trainer Todd Pletcher.
Let’s head out to Belmont Park for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Belmont Park Race 10 The Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) Post time 5:49 ET
2 Code of Honor 8-5
4 Preservationist 9-5
3 Vino Rosso 7-2
1 Tacitus 5-2
Code of Honor
The Shug McGaughey trainee faces older for the first time off a career top effort winning the Travers (G1) last out at Saratoga as our top pick. Things went his way that day as he got some pace, was racing wide which seemed to be the best part of the racing surface that day and came with a good late rally, drawing off to win by three lengths. He won the Dwyer (G3) over the main track here going a mile and ran well at Belmont Park last year in a runner up finish in the Champagne (G1). The main questions are whether he gets some pace in front of him and taking what could be a short price against a pair of solid older runners. Johnny V. should be able to place him in a good spot not as far back and this colt looks like he has matured since the spring and capable of moving forward off his last effort. He is getting four pounds from his older foes.
The six-year-old has made just 10 starts, winning six including a career top speed fig winning the Woodward (G1) last out. He won the Suburban (G2) three back over the main track here and then was fourth in the Whitney (G1) and he proved me wrong in the Woodward as I did not give him much of a chance in that race. The Jerkens trainee owns a solid pace rifle throughout and can be on or close to the lead. He will appreciate the return to 1 ¼ miles and has run ell in his three trips over the Belmont Park main track.
The Pletcher trainee won the Santa Anita Gold Cup (G1) as our top pick at 4-1 over Gift Box earning a career top speed fig. However, he regressed in a third-place finish last out in the Whitney (G1) behind McKenzie and Yoshida. The blinkers come off here and picks up Ortiz as Johnny V, who has ridden this guy in all 13 of his career starts hops off to stick with our top pick. The colt has just one start over the main track here, a fourth in the Belmont Stakes (G1) last year. With the hood off and Irad on this guy he may end up too far back early and might be at a tactical disadvantage.
WIN: Code of Honor to win at 8-5 or better.
EXACTA: 2 / 3,4
TRIFECTA: no play