The horses were originally scheduled to fly into New York from Kentucky on Thursday, but their flight was delayed a day due to inclement weather across the Northeast. Departing from Lexington at approximately 10 a.m., their plane arrived at Islip MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma, NY, where they boarded a van to Belmont Park. Bearpath, another contender in the Turf Classic, also made the trip.
“We got to gallop a regular mile and a half this morning at Keeneland, which kept him in his comfort zone,” said Al Stall, Jr., who trains the colt for Adele Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm. “Now that he's here, it takes some percentage points off the stress factor. The weather will clear up, so we should be fine. Plus, the trip was great. No problem whatever.”
Paddy O’Prado, owned in partnership by Jerry Crawford’s Donegal Racing and trained by Dale Romans, carries a three-race win streak on grass into the Turf Classic, including his first Grade 1 score in the Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park last time out on August 21. Prior to that, Paddy O’Prado won back-to-back races at Colonial Downs, taking the Grade 2 Virginia Derby on July 17 and the Grade 2 Colonial Turf Cup in June. On May 1, the son of El Prado finished third in a sloppy edition of the Kentucky Derby.
“The trip was fine once we got off the ground,” Romans said. “He’s done well on everything he’s run on, including several different types of turf courses, so I don’t think it matters. We expect to win, that’s what we’re here for.”
The Jockey Club Gold Cup, the centerpiece of Belmont Park’s fall championship meet, will be run as the 10th of 11 races on a card that also boasts the Grade 1, $350,000 Vosburgh Invitational, the Grade 1, $500,000 Flower Bowl Invitational, the Grade 1, $350,000 Beldame Invitational and the Grade 1, $500,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational. First race post time is 12:30 p.m.