Super Saturday Picks: Orb Takes on Older in Jockey Club Gold Cup

Kentucky Derby winner Orb takes on older in the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup (photo credit: churchilldowns.com)

Super Saturday at Belmont Park features six Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” races with Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Orb and Belmont Stakes (G1) victor Palace Malice taking on older for the first time in the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1).

The winner of the Jockey Club Gold Cup earns an automatic staring spot in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita Park along with an all-expenses paid trip. Last year three of the top four finishers of the Classic used the Jockey Club Gold Cup as their final prep including the Classic winner Fort Larned.

Flat Out won the Jockey Club Gold Cup last year for the second year in a row, but was third in the Classic. The only horse to have won the race three times or more is the great Kelso, who won five consecutive runnings of the Jockey Club Gold Cup between 1960 and 1964.

Cross Traffic is the 5-2 morning line favorite and is coming off a victory in the Whitney Handicap (G1) at Saratoga. The Todd Pletcher trainee is a couple of heads away form being undefeated. He came out on the wrong end of photos in the Met Mile (G1) and Westchester (G3) in his two previous starts.

Kentucky Derby winner Orb (9-2) has come up short in three starts since winning the Run for the Roses, but is coming off a solid effort in a third place finish in the Travers (G1), beaten ¾ of a length for the top spot. It was a nose back to Belmont winner Palace Malice (4-1).

Alpha (8-1) looks back on track after winning the Woodward (G1) last out, which was his first victory since winning the Travers (G1) last summer in a deadheat with Golden Ticket.

Completing the field are longshots Ron the Greek (12-1), Last Gunfighter (10-1) and Vitoria Olimpica (20-1).

The Jockey Club Gold Cup is the last of six graded stakes on the card with a post time of 5:49pm eastern.

The other intriguing match up comes in the first stake of the day, the $400,000 Beldame Invitational (G1). Defending champion and two-time Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (G1) winner Royal Delta is the 3-5 morning line favorite and will face off with the talented three-year-old filly Princess of Sylmar.

The Pletcher trained Princess of Sylmar was the upset winner of the Kentucky Oaks (G1) at 38-1, and then came back to win the Coaching Club of American Oaks (G1) and the Alabama (G1) in her last two starts. She has won seven of her nine career starts but is in really tough facing older for the first time.

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 Orb 9-2
6 Flat Out 3-1
7 Palace Malice 4-1
8 Cross Traffic 5-2

Analysis: Orb earned a career top speed fig in a third place finish in the Travers (G1) last out at the Spa which was his first start off a 2 1/2 month break. I do not think he was fully cranked and looks capable of moving forward off that effort. He was only beaten 3/4 of a length by Will Take Charge, who came back to win the Pennsylvania Derby (G2) in his next outing. It looks as if the colt will get an honest pace to run at here and gets four pounds from his elders. Three-year-olds have won this race three times in the last seven years, the last being Summer Bird in 2009. Javier Castellano gets his first leg up on the Kentucky Derby (G1) winner as regular jockey Joel Rosario is out with a broken bone in his foot and Jose Lezcano, who rode him last out gets reunited with Ron the Greek.

Flat Out is seeking to become the first three-time winner of the race since Kelso, who won the race five times in a row between 1960 and 1964. The seven-year-old is coming off a game effort in a head loss in the Woodward (G1) at the Spa behind gate to wire winner Alpha, who was taking advantage of a racing strip that was kind to speed. The Bill Mott trainee loves the main track here, winning five of six with a third. He beat Stay Thirsty and Fort Larned in last year’s running of the race, with the latter coming back to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) in his next outing.

Palace Malice did not have the best of trips in a fourth in the Travers. The colt stumbled coming out of the gate, came with a four wide bid and finished up well, beaten just 3/4 of a length for the top spot and beaten a nose by Orb for third. The colt earned a career top speed fig two back winning the Jim Dandy (G2) at Saratoga, showing his upset win at 14-1 in the Belmont Stakes (G1) was no fluke. He is proven over the main track and the distance is not an issue. His sire Curlin won this race in back-to-back years.

Wagering
WIN: #2 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 2,6 / 2,6,7,8
TRI: 2,6 / 2,6,7,8 / 2,5,6,7,8

 

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