Saturday October 1, 2005

The 87th running of

The Jockey Club Gold Cup
9th Race @ Belmont


1. Suave...Prado...He seems to have trouble stringing more than two good races together without falling apart. Bad news since this is his 3rd race off the layoff. On the one hand, he is coming off a career best. On the other, he is coming off a career best. That could spell trouble for a horse that apparently likes long breaks between efforts. He would be better suited for a turnback instead of another 10 furlong affair.  I would expect a regression here, and depending upon the severity he could even miss the board.

2. Bishop Court Hill...Sutherland....He must be entered as a rabbit for Flower Alley because failing that he is nowhere near fast enough to win this on his own. 

3. Borrego...Gomez...Huge effort in the Pacific Classic after racing 6 wide. But that race was his best ever and I'd look for a slight regression here. The cross-country trip seems to halt his progression as well. At least it has in the past. Still, he's fast enough to be a factor in the exotics though he'll probably be no bargain at the windows.

4. Flower Alley...Velasquez...It's happened more than I care to mention. A horse I like in the Derby basically flops in the Derby, but goes on to have a meaningful year, if not career. Holy Bull and Skip Away immediately come to mind. I'm not comparing this guy to either, but he has shown some of the promise in his last two that cements my opinion of him earlier in the year. A BIG step up here as he takes on older for the first time, but there are no St. Liams or Ghostzappers here for him to contend with. Last two were sensational, and he shows no sign of wilting judging by his works. A strong contenduh!

5. Sun King...Bejarano...I have been duped by this horse at almost every turn this year. He finally looks like he may be ready to take a step forward, but I'm expecting he'll be done in by the distance, if not the pace. (Run, don't walk to the windows) Nice work at the SPA last weekend. Zito has not had a particularly scintillating run at Belmont this year. Strong enough for a piece, but a win? I can't see that.

6. Lava Man...Valenzuela...Vanned off after the Pacific Classic. Not exactly what you want to see when you look at the pp's and you want to like him. Ran through his skin in the Hollywood Gold Cup prior to that though, and distance most certainly is not a question. Hard to get too excited, but won't be a surprise if he gets that picture taken.

7. Imperialism...Espinoza...Has proven several times over the last 18 months that he is not a Grade 1 animal. Of course the way things are, who is? I feel that he may sneak in to the exotics at a long price, but not likely a winner. Probably a clunk-up for 3rd at best.

8. Grand Reward...Smith...No reason for him to be here. Pulled up in the Pimlico Special, and beaten more than 24 lengths in his last 3 finishes. Last.



     I'm sticking with Flower Alley. I think he may be developing into something special.

    Sun King screws me here, and I'm back off the wagon--again.

    Borrego will be closing, and he'll have plenty to close into.




1. Flower Alley

2. Sun King

3. Borrego


2005 bBra