The last of six major stakes race at Belmont Park today features a late blooming three year old who has been unstoppable as of late, a former triple crown winner and a couple of older males who were shown up by a super star female last time out.
Belmont Park – Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes (G1) – $750,000 – 1 1/4 miles – Dirt
1. Flat Out (FL) – Alex Solis – 126 – Charles Dickey – 7/5
1A. Birdrun (FL) – John Velazquez – 126 – William Mott – 7/5
2. Ice Box (KY) – Corey Nakatani – 126 – Nick Zito – 12/1
3. Rodman (KY) – Rajiv Maragh – 126 – Mike Hushion – 8/1
4. Stay Thirsty (KY) – Javier Castellano – 122 – Todd Pletcher – 8/5
5. Drosselmeyer (KY) – Jose Lezcano – 126 – William Mott – 6/1
6. A. U. Miner (KY) – Calvin Borel – 126 – Clark Hanna 10/1
The first half of the entry, Flat Out, was flat out beat by star four year old filly Havre de Grace late last month in the Woodward Stakes (G1) at Saratoga. He had his chance to win but couldn’t seem to catch up. He lost by 1 1/4 lengths. Previously, he ran 2nd in the Whitney Invitational Handicap (G1) to Tizway, who unfortunately will miss today’s race. He’s only raced five times this year, with just one victory, but he’s finished 2nd three times. the only time worse than second was a 6th place finish in the Stephen Foster Handicap (G1). He was looking for racing room at the far turn and at the top of the lane. By the time, he had racing room it was too late. With limited races this year, he should be fresh and ready to go.
One of the hottest, if not the hottest horse since June has been three year old and Todd Pletcher trained Stay Thirsty. This Bernardini colt has blossomed as the year has gone on. A nice win in the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct was followed up wiht poor performances in the Florida Derby (7th) and the Kentucky Derby (12th). Pletcher decided to bypass the Preakness, give him some rest and train for the grueling 1 1/2 miles Belmont Stakes (G1). The decision paid off. He finished a surprising and solid 2nd to Ruler on Ice. That seemed to turn things around for this colt. Six weeks later he dominated the 7 horse field in the Jim Dandy (G2) at Saratoga and then most recently won the Travers Stakes (G1) by 1 1/4 lengths. After an inconsistent first half of the season, he has now turned into a contender for Top three year old and quite possibly Horse of the Year.
It’s been a roller coaster ride for 2010 Belmont Stakes winner, Drosselmeyer. After missing 9 months since the big win at Belmont Park last summer, the Bill Mott trained colt has seen his share of ups and downs. After finishing 4th in the non-graded Challenger Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs in March and 5th in the Skip Away Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park, he won the One Count Stakes at Belmont Park. He followed that up with a nice second in the Brooklyn Handicap (G2). It looked as if all signs was that he was rounding back into form. Mott entered him into the Sword Dancer Invitational (G1) last month, but a disappointing 7th and last place effort quickly squashed any progress. It is interesting that he took almost 7 weeks off. Maybe there is more to that last place finish than we know.
PICK: I’m going with the three year old Stay Thirsty. I like how he has progressed as the season has gone on. He has found a way to win races against formidable opponents and has done it with ease lately. Flat Out has been very consistent this year, but getting to the winner’s circle has been just out of his reach on a few occasions. The sleeper in here could be the other half of the entry, Birdrun. He gets out on the lead with little to no pressure, he might gate to wire the field.
Review analysis and picks from the first five Parts for the Flower Bowl Invitational, Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational Stakes, Vosburgh Invitational Stakes, Kelso Handicap and Beldame Invitational Stakes.