Super Saturday Recap: Tonalist Serves Notice to Clones There is More Than Belief

Tonalist wins the Jockey Club Gold Cup and is a strong contender for the Breeders' Cup Classic (Photo credit: Breeders' Cup Ltd.)

While much of the talk about Super Saturday revolves around Shared Belief winning the Awesome Again (G1) despite getting “mugged,” Tonalist served notice to the Jim Rome clones that the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) is not a done deal.

While Bovada had Shared Belief at early betting odds of 2-1 for the Classic last week, some off shore racebooks had the undefeated colt down to even money, and the cash was sent in on Saturday in the Awesome Again as the colt opened up at 1-9 and closed at 2-5.

In a roughly run race, jockey John Velazquez was handed a seven-day suspension for carrying out the undefeated favorite while on board longshot Sky Kingdom. Shared Belief, who is owned in part by Jim Rome’s Jungle Racing, got up late to win by a neck over Fed Biz, who benefited from his stablemate Sky Kingdom’s tactics but had to settle for second.

Shared Belief Wins Awesome Again

The colt paid $2.40 and topped a $2 recommended exacta with Fed Biz that paid $8.20.

While Shared Belief will indeed be the betting favorite for the Classic, particularly with the clunker tossed in by California Chrome in the Pennsylvania Derby (G2), it would not be wise to overlook Tonalist.

The Belmont Stakes (G1) winner checked in third in the Travers (G1) and I thought jockey Joel Rosario gave the colt an overly aggressive ride.

Trainer Christophe Clement took the blinkers off the colt and he bounced back with a good-looking win in the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) at Belmont Park on Saturday. The colt was back in 10th in the early going under a patient ride from Rosario and came with a good late run to get up and win by 1 ¾ lengths over Zivo.

Tonalist Wins Jockey Club Gold Cup

The colt paid $8.10 as my second choice and along with my top pick Zivo the $2 recommended exacta paid $39.00.

I really liked his effort and he earned a 106 Beyer Speed Figure, which was a career top. By comparison, Shred Belief earned a 101, and he has had three figures higher.

However, we have to take into account Shared Belief’s rough, wide trip. He traveled 66 more feet than Fid Biz according to Trakus, which is better than seven lengths.


It was probably a tougher race than trainer Jerry Hollendorfer wanted for his final prep for the Classic, but at least now we know the colt is battled tested and will be a strong contender. A win will lock up the Eclipse Award for top three-year-old and Horse of the Year.

With the handicap division decimated by retirements, the three-year-old division may dominate. The top four betting choices for the Classic seem likely to be Shared Belief, Tonalist, California Chrome, and possibly Bayern, all three-year-olds.

While a dozen Breeders’ Cup Challenge races (10 in the U.S., two at Newmarket) were decided Friday and Saturday, we are not done. There are still 15 “Win and You’re In” races over the next two weeks. Eight of those will be hosted by Keeneland, which opens on Friday.

There are two at Belmont Park, the Grade 1 Frizette and Champagne, and the Santa Anita Sprint Championship will be decided on Oct. 4.

In addition, there are four Breeders’ Cup Challenge races coming up at Longchamp on Oct. 5.


Michael Dempsey’s Breeders’ Cup Report $34.95

Michael’s Breeders’ Cup Report for Friday and Saturday includes his selections, analysis, fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for every race on the Friday and Saturday card from Santa Anita Park on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.

The Breeders’ Cup offers 13 championship races over two days, bringing together the best top horses, trainers, and jockeys from around the world, this year to compete at Santa Anita Park.




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