Both words can be combined into one word – Curlin.
Stonestreet Stable’s reigning Horse of the Year could become the first American Thoroughbred to reach $10 million in earnings. Curlin has earned $9,796,800 and trails only Cigar, who earned $9,999,815, as racing’s top money-earner. The winner’s share of the Jockey Club Gold Cup purse is $450,000, and that would vault Curlin to the top of the money pile. Second ($150,000), third ($75,000) or fourth ($37,000) would leave Curlin short of Cigar’s mark.
The Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational is a weight-for-age race, with three-year-olds carrying 122 pounds and older horses carrying 126 pounds. The only horse to get this advantage will be Mrs. William Kilroy’s Mambo in Seattle, who suffered one of the toughest beats in the history of Saratoga Race Course when he lost the Grade 1 Travers Stakes presented by Shadwell Farm by a nose to Colonel John on August 23. Mambo in Seattle is trained by Neil Howard, who won the Jockey Club Gold Cup in 2003 with Mineshaft.
Also likely are Frost Giant, winner of the Grade 1 Suburban Handicap here in June, Wanderin Boy, who was third to Curlin in Saratoga’s Grade 1 Woodward, Timber Reserve, Angliana and either A.P. Arrow or Ravel.
* * *
The JCGC is the centerpiece of a day that truly reflects the spirit of Belmont Park’s Fall Championship Meet. Fans will receive a free Belmont Park stadium seat with each paid admission, while supplies last, and they will have a guaranteed $500,000 all-stakes Pick 4 on races 7-10 to whet their betting appetites.
And what stakes races there are! Here’s the lineup, which is subject to change:
70th running of the Grade 1, $600,000 Beldame, fillies and mares, 3 and up, nine furlongs (Race 6, 5:40 p.m.): Cocoa Beach (CHI), Ginger Punch, Lemon Drop Mom, Salty Response and Unbridled Belle. Stronach Stable’s Ginger Punch is seeking her fourth straight Grade 1 victory here for Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel.
31st running of the Grade 1, $600,000 Flower Bowl Invitational, fillies and mares, three and up, mile and a quarter, inner turf (Race 7, 4:13 p.m.): Communique, Dynaforce, Jade Queen, Mauralakana (FR) and Palmilla. The French-bred Mauralakana has won four straight and five of her last six starts for trainer Christophe Clement and just defeated Communique in the Beverly D.
69th running of the Grade 1, $400,000 Vosburgh, 3 and up, six furlongs (Race 8, 4:46 p.m.): Abraaj, Black Seventeen, Fabulous Strike, J Be K, Kodiak Kowboy and Rockerfeller. Trainer Marty Wolfson has entered Rockerfeller, who has won three of his last four starts, to face the likes of Abraaj, winner of Saratoga’s Grade 2 A.G. Vanderbilt and last year’s Vosburgh winner, Fabulous Strike.
32nd running of the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational, 3 and up, mile and a half, Widener Turf Course (Race 9, 5:19 p.m.): Dancing Forever, Grand Couturier (GB), Presious Passion, Strike a Deal and Summer Patriot. Summer Patriot is the only non-Grade 1 winner in this race, and he’s won three of his last four starts for trainer Barclay Tagg.
The Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational will be race 10 on the 11-race card, with approximate post time of 5:52 p.m. The last race will go to post at 6:24 p.m.
* * *
The biggest weekend of Belmont Park’s Fall Championship Meet continues on Sunday, September 28 with a card featuring three graded stakes races. And, as with Saturday’s Jockey Club Gold Cup Day card, those races are certain to have an impact on the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita on October 24-25.
Sunday’s main attraction will be the 28th running of the Grade 2, $250,000 Kelso Handicap for three-year-olds and up at a mile on the Widener Turf Course.
Expected here are Forefathers, Giant Wrecker, Hellvelyn (GB), Media Play, Midwatch, Stalingrad and Tam Lin (GB).
The winner of the 30th running of the Grade 3, $150,000-added Pilgrim for two-year-olds at a mile and a sixteenth on the Widener Turf Course will automatically qualify for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita. Vying here are Bittel Road, Dueling Alex, Duke of Homberg (GB), Herr Mozart, Relatively Ready and Show Me the Cash.
Likewise, the winner of the 29th running of the Grade 3, $150,000-added Miss Grillo for juvenile fillies will automatically qualify for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf under the “Win and You’re In” format.
Probables for the Miss Grillo are Ancient Future, Bambolina, Casanova Move, Consequence, Freedom Rings, Maram, Megachurch, Miss Bodine, Our Golden Dream, Pumpkin Shell and Sugar Mom.