This weekend can determine whether the stars of the racing world will either burn as brightly as the sun, or fade into the background like the seventh star of the Seven sisters. On Saturday we have a slew of exciting stakes races and grade ones that would make any better like they've died and went to heaven. All of this is topped the Grade one Jockey Club Gold Cup, where history could be made or a new champion for either the older male or 3yr old male division is crowned. On Sunday we have Europe's Breeders Cup Classic, when the running of the richest turf race, the de l' Arc de Triumphe is run.
Among the races on Saturday, besides the Jockey Club Gold Cup, we have Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, the Beldame, the Vosburgh, and the Kelso. In the Joe Hirsch, we have turf star Gio Ponti making his final prep before heading to the Breeders Cup Turf, where he'll meet Conduit, last years Turf hero. You will also see the records setting Precious Passion, who could pull a huge upset if the course at Belmont remains firm, but that is unlikely to happen, seeing as how the forecast has been predicting rain since Friday. You also have Grand Couturier and Musketier, both of whom are talented, but have been beaten by the favorite Gio Ponti. Any of these horses are capable of pulling an upset if given the correct set up.
In the Kelso, a horse that has beaten Gio Ponti before, Court Vision, will be looking to return to top form. He will be giving up to seven pounds to his rivals, but he is the class of the field. The only one I can see that may be able to run with him, if he runs his A race, is Ready's Echo. He has displayed talent on occasion, but does not always produce the kind of effort needed to run down the top horses. If Court Vision comes up to this race back in form, however, I don't see any horse running him down.
The Vosburgh, is a small yet very competitive field. It will feature Fabulous Strike, who seems to be in fabulous form lately, and will be going for his third straight victory. He will have some very good company though, trying to keep him from winning this prestigious sprint. One of his main competitors is Munnings, who has had a very productive year overall, until his last race where he bounced, big time after running a huge race in the 9 furlong Haskell, where he was third to Rachel Alexandra and Summer Bird. This go around, he is facing a much smaller field, and shortening up to six furlongs.
The last of the big stakes leading up to the big finale is the Beldame, the Jockey Club Gold Cup for fillies and mares. In this race, everything seems to be all about the talented Music Note, who in her last start, beat two time champion Indian Blessing. Music Note seems to have rebounded back into top form, which is not good news for anybody wishing to test her. Another thing going for this talented filly is that she is racing on a track she five for six over. The only horse I see that could possibly pose a threat is Unbridled Belle. This mare, though, has not been in very good form recently and disappointed last out.
The last of them all comes the Jockey Club Gold Cup, the biggest of the day. I've already reviewed the top three horses in this race, and feel Summer Bird the Belmont and Travers winner will prevail. The two horses that are getting the most attention right now, other than Summer Bird are Macho Again and Quality Road. Macho Again is in the best form of his career, but I fear that he may bounce off of a gut wrenching run against Rachel Alexandra, where he was beaten only by a head. Summer Bird in his last had a much easier win and has had five weeks off compared to Macho's four. Quality Road has me a bit leery because the only top tire horses he's beaten are sprinters. He did, however beat Dunkirk, who was grade one stakes placed twice. The one horse I think could really spring an upset is Asiatic Boy. This horse has been nothing but consistent since he's come to America, but is being overlooked by the public. At this distance he's had success before, which came in the form of a second place finish in last year's Dubai World Cup, to Curlin. If I were a bettor, this is the horse I'd be watching, because today I have a feeling that this consistently classy horse will run big.
As a side note, because of tomorrow's significance in races not just nationally, but internationally as well I may not write my normal Sunday story.