The framework of many Breeders’ Cup races at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4-5 will be shaped this Saturday at Belmont Park.
Dubbed “Super Saturday,” the card features six graded stakes worth a combined $2.7 million. All six races are Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” tests, and all feature top contenders for the World Championships.
Saturday’s event will be televised on ESPN Classic from 4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. EDT.
With Met Mile and Whitney winner Tizway sidelined with a fever, resurgent Stay Thirsty looks the one to beat in the Grade 1, $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup, a likely primer for the Breeders’ Cup Classic. The 3-year-old son of Bernardini, coming off wins in the Jim Dandy and Travers, will face older horses for the first time.
The most competitive race on the card could be the Grade 1, $350,000 Vosburgh, a prep for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. All eyes are on Big Drama, making his second start off a nearly eight-month layoff. He’ll be tested by Bob Baffert’s California shipper Euroears, the record-setter for six furlongs in the Bing Crosby at Del Mar on July 31. Trappe Shot is seeking his first Grade 1 win.
Uncle Mo and Jersey Town both posted quick works Sunday morning in preparation for the Grade 2 Kelso Stakes. Uncle Mo, runner-up in the King’s Bishop, makes his second start since being sidelined for four months with an illness.
Horse of the Year contender Havre de Grace will use the Grade 1, $350,000 Beldame to prepare for a possible matchup against the boys in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. The 4-year-old mare’s top challenger looks to be the Bill Mott-trained Royal Delta.
The intriguing Deluxe, making her second start in the United States, looks to carry on the class of her pedigree in the Grade 1, $500,000 Flower Bowl, a likely prep for the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf. The Bill Mott runner is out of the dam Hasili, who’s produced six Grade 1 winners.
Arlington Million winner Cape Blanco, 2 for 2 since coming to the U.S., headlines the Grade 1, $500,00 Joe Hirsch Turf, a prep for the Breeders’ Cup Turf.
Photo: J.J. Hysell