Happy Jockey Club Gold Cup Day! 

While the Grade I Jockey Club Gold Cup is the feature race today, the real feature is the former Lucky Coin Stakes, which has been renamed for the late, great Harvey Pack. 

For decades Harvey held many important roles promoting and covering New York racing, but if you are of my vintage then you fondly remember Harvey hosting the DRF Siro’s handicapping seminars.  They were by far the best handicapping events I ever witnessed and eventually they generated so much interest that Capital OTB televised them. Harvey was the master of ceremonies each morning on the stage outside at Siro’s in his everyman, self-deprecating style. Think Henny Youngman meets Ralph Kramden.  His sign off “May the horse be with you!” was a call to arms for horse players.  That catchphrase is also the name of his excellent autobiography – which is full of wonderful tales from a true blue race tracker. 

Trivia Question: A number of horses have won the Jockey Club Gold Cup more than once – but what horse won this race a record five times? 

Race 3 – Flower Bowl – Grade 2 

One Mile And Three Furlongs On The Inner Turf 

 For Fillies and Mares Four Years Old And Upward 

A “compact” field of four today. This would have been a group of five – but War Like Goddess spiked a fever after her Glens Falls defeat and didn’t enter here.  That’s too bad since it would set up a nice rematch with McKulick.    

  1. Parnac: Last effort at Delaware Park was a very good third in the Grade III Robert G. Dick (86 Beyer) two months ago. She got nice ground saving trip but lacked space as she tried an inside move. Too back she bested N2X company at Belmont going today’s eleven furlongs (86 Beyer) by getting up in the shadow of the wire. Consistent performer gets an inside draw and the distance suits her. Likely leader in a paceless race. Possible piece.
  2. McKulick: Out finished War Like Goddess to win the Glens Falls last out (95 Beyer) with a nice turn of foot.  Certainly seems to prefer going long. Two back she couldn’t catch her stablemate, Market Segmentation, in the New York Stakes after the leader got away with easy fractions.  Irad kept her closer last time and she was moving late when asked. Expect her to be closer today again. The Pick. 
  3. Tamarama: Also entered in the 7th race on Friday but she is expected to go here. Jack Sisterson picks this one up from overseas where she last ran at Royal Ascot and faded badly after being on the lead. Significant weight drop. Has looked better on the synth than grass as of late. Does she want eleven furlongs? Javier in the irons. Lean against.  
  4. Amazing Grace: Was a decent third in the Glens Falls after trailing the field for most of the race (92 Beyer). She moving into contention but checked after running up on horses and lost her momentum then re-rallied for third. Rosario back in the irons. Win candidate.

Picks 2-4 

Race 11 – Jockey Club Gold Cup – Grade I 

One Mile And A Quarter on the Dirt On For Three Year Olds And Upward 

  1. Proxy: Won the Grade 3 Monmouth Cup going to gate to wire as the 2/5 favorite (96 Beyer) after failing to make an impact in the Stephan F. Foster. Was very good going today’s ten furlongs in the Santa Anita Handicap to only lose by a head. Bested West Will Power last Fall in the Clark and was strong in winning the Oaklawn Handicap (103 Beyer). Minor award.
  2. Unbridled Bomber: Has been primarily in optional claiming company but has made graded stakes efforts in his two most recent. Couldn’t handle Repo Rocks in the Westchester where he was outrun and was a distant third in the Suburban. Water is too deep.
  3. Warrior Johny: Makes his first attempt in Graded Stakes company off a distant third in the listed Hanshin Stakes at Ellis Park going a mile (91 Beyer). Crushed an N1X field last summer over this track going nine furlongs (99 Beyer) where he led for the entire race. Should be up on the pace.  Passing.
  4. Rattle N Roll: Last time we saw this Ken McPeek trained colt he was a strong second to West Will Power in the Stephen F. Foster (101 Beyer) where he made up a lot of ground late. Distance should suit him.  Doesn’t face anything close to West Will Power here today. Has five straight triple digit Beyers.  Consistent high level performer. Legit favorite.
  5. Clapton: Was a no threat second in the Suburban Handicap behind Charge It (100 Beyer) at today’s distance. Won the Ghostzapper three back at Gulfstream where he was ridden hard for the final half mile (95 Beyer). Can press the pace or come from further back. Gets a piece.
  6. Tyson: Ships in from Woodbine for Josie Carroll off of wins in the Grade 2 Seagram Cup and Grade 3 Dominion Day. In the Seagram Cup (98 Beyer) he went off at 2/5 and ran like it. Two back in the Dominion Day (101 Beyer) he sat off the pace and came running five wide. In both cases he was green in the stretch but overcame it. Tapit colt tries dirt for the first time. Wait and see approach.
  7. Duke of Love: Longshot entry by Josie Carroll has primarily been running on the poly at Woodbine but did win the Grade 3 West Virginia Governor’s Cup at Mountaineer a month ago (97 Beyer).  Tries some legit Grade I horses and will have to deal with the pressure that they will bring to bear. Passing.
  8. Bright Future: Enters here off a win going nine furlongs in an N2X race over this this course (100 Beyer) where he stalked and drew off in the stretch. He was decent in the Brooklyn for most of the race going twelve furlongs but was hung wide and faded in the stretch.  A bit of an all or nothing horse. All three wins look the same – stalk the pace up close on the outside, make the first move and draw off. That’s the likely setup today. He will need to deal with Rattle N Roll inside the sixteenth pole. The Pick.

Picks 8-4-5-1 

Trivia Answer: The immortal Kelso won the Gold Cup five straight years from 1960 to 1964.