Joe Hirsch Turf Classic 2013 Contenders at Belmont Park

Dave Bond | OTB Writer
Updated: September 27, 2013 -- 11:52 AM ET

Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic is on tap for this Saturday, September 28 from a very busy Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. A purse of $600,000 will be on the line for horses three years old and upward willing to race 1 1/2 miles on Belmont Park's turf track.

10 older entries have been confirmed for this year's Joe Hirsch Invitational - race 9 on Belmont Park's packed Saturday schedule. Post time is 5:17 PM. Let's take a brief look into the past performances of all 10 entries for this competitive Grade 1 stakes. A win here will mean an automatic berth into the Breeders' Cup Turf in November.

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2013 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Race Favorite Entries

Big Blue Kitten - had a decent third in his 2013 debut in the Grade 2 Ft. Lauderdale Stakes at Gulfstream January 12 and followed that with two straight Allowance Optional Claiming scores - the last coming at Churchill Downs May 2. He had a nice second in the Grade 2 Monmouth Stakes behind Boisterous June 9 before his best career result - a win in the Grade 1 United Nations Stakes at Monmouth Park July 6. Last time out he continued to shine with a win in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga August 17. He has 10 wins, two seconds and four third place finishes in 17 career starts, has placed in all six 2013 races and has to be on the radar for the Joe Hirsch. He will be out for revenge against Boisterous this week and certainly has the motivation and form to provide a good run this weekend. He will be looking for his third straight Grade 1 score, is 8-5 on the morning line and is coupled along with...

Real Solution - highly regarded Chad Brown trained Italian import had five starts in at home with three wins to start his career, a sixth and a second in his last race overseas. He made his North American debut with an OK fourth in the Grade 3 Fort Marcy Stakes May 4 after being out of action since September and followed that with a respectable third in the Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap June 8 at Belmont Park. Last time out was his best career result - a win in the Grade 1 Arlington Million Stakes August 17. Real Solution departs from post 5 as the 8-5 favorite as a coupled entry along with Big Blue Kitten and...

Joes Blazing Aaron - raced to a good second in February in the Grade 3 Canadian Turf Stakes at Gulfstream and followed that with an ugly eighth in the Grade 3 Appleton Stakes in March. Since then he has raced four Allowance Optional Claiming races for trainer Eddie Kenneally and has placed in just one - June 19 on this track. He is 8-5 on the morning line as a coupled entry along with Big Blue Kitten and Real Solution and departs from post 8.

Joe Hirsch Turf Classic 2013 | Remaining Contenders

Twilight Eclipse - is the world record holder at 1 1/2 miles on turf who won his first two career starts but then fell off to a sixth in last year's Equalize Stakes, and recorded his first graded stakes win by 1 3/4 lengths in the 2012 Grade 2 W.L. McKnight Handicap at Calder November 24. He followed that with a fourth in the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida February 16 in his first start of 2013 bounced back yet again with a terrific win in the Grade 2 Pan American Stakes at Gulfstream in that world record time March 23. He followed that with a fifth in the Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap at Belmont Park June 8 and has raced to a pair of seconds since - in the Grade 1 Man o' War Stakes behind Boisterous at Belmont Park July 13 and in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer behind Big Blue Kitten last time out. He has been up and down in his career but when on has looked very, very good. Twilight Eclipse will have Javier Castellano in the saddle from post 6 at 7-2 odds.

Imagining - won two straight races last summer - both at Belmont Park including an Allowance Optional Claiming and an Allowance after a very good second in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby in November 2011. He was out of racing for nine months before returning to an Allowance score at Keeneland April 13. Last time out was a win in the minor Idle Rich Stakes at Saratoga August 25 after an ugly tenth in the Grade 2 Dixie at Pimlico in May. He has five wins and three second place finishes in 11 career starts for trainer Claude McGaughey. Imagining will have John Velazquez in the saddle from post 2, is 4-1 on the morning line and is a coupled entry along with...

Joe Hirsch Turf Classic betting at Belmont Park with OffTrackBetting.com

Boisterous - has won seven of his last 15 starts for trainer Shug McGaughey including the 2011 and 2012 Grade 3 Red Smith Stakes at Aqueduct and the 2011 and 2012 Knickerbocker Stakes also at Aqueduct. Last time out was a third in the Grade 2 Bowling Green here September 7 after worst performance in a year was an eighth in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga August 17. Before that was wins in the Grade 2 Monmouth Stakes June 9 and in the Grade 1 Man o' War Stakes July 13 at Belmont Park. Before those wins were second place finishes in the Grade 3 Ben Ali in April and the Grade 3 River City Handicap in November and another couple of wins. He now has four wins and two seconds and a third in his last eight starts overall and will be looking to get back on the winning track Saturday. He is a coupled entry along with Imagining and is being sent off at 4-1 odds from post 7.

Slumber - had two wins, a second and two third place finishes in eight starts in Great Britain before debuting in North America in November with a fourth in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby. In 2013 he has two starts - both Allowance Optional Claiming scores at Saratoga. Slumber leaves from post 4 at 6-1 odds.

Nutello - made his North American debut last time out and finished a very good third right behind Twilight Eclipse and Big Blue Kitten in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga August 17 after 13 starts overseas resulted in five wins and two third place finishes - one of those thirds being in last year's Prix du Jockey Grade 1 Club-French Derby. His last win came in April at Toulouse but has had a seventh and a eighth respectively since before his third last time out. Nutello has drawn the rail with Jose Lezcano in the saddle.

Little Mike - finished fifth in this race last year after a win in the Grade 1 Arlington Millions and went on to win the Breeders' Cup Turf in November to end his 2012 season. He spent the first part of 2013 in Dubai with disappointing results - two races there resulted in an eleventh March 30 in the Dubai Duty Free and an eighth in a Group 1 race - both result at Meydan Racecourse. He returned to North America July 6 and produced another somewhat disappointing result - a fourth in the Grade 1 United Nations Stakes at Monmouth Park July 6 and followed that with a sketchy sixth in the Grade 1 Arlington Millions August 17. He won three of five starts in the US before his trip overseas - all Grade 1 races on turf but hasn't placed in any one of his Grade 1 races in 2013. Little Mike has 12 wins, two seconds and a third place finish in 25 career starts. Little Mike hopes to regain the form that saw him win three Grade 1 races last year- this week with Mike Smith guiding him from the far outside post at 10-1 odds.

King Kreesa - had his biggest career win two back in the Grade 3 Poker Stakes at Belmont Park July 4 and was a good second last time out in the Grade 2 Fourstardave at Saratoga August 10. He also had a good win over Lubash in the minor Kingston Stakes at Belmont Park June 1 after a third in the Grade 3 Fort Marcys Stakes May 4. Before those results was nice third in the Grade 3 Appleton Stakes at Gulfstream March 30 in his only other start this year. He has placed in all five starts in 2013 and enters the Joe Hirsch in the best form of his career. King Kreesa departs from post 9 as the longest shot in the field at 12-1 odds.


2013 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Entries & Odds

Race 9 on Belmont Park's Saturday card with a Post Time of 5:17 PM.

Entry Horse Jockey Trainer ML Odds
1 Imagining J. Velazquez C. McGaughey III
4-1
1A Boisterous J. Velazquez C. McGaughey III
4-1
2 Big Blue Kitten J. Bravo C. Brown
8-5
2B Real Solution A. Garcia C. Brown
8-5
2X Joes Blazing Aaron R. Maragh M. Maker
8-5
3 Nutello J. Lezcano H. Motion
8-1
4 Slumber (GB) J. Alvarado W. Mott
6-1
5 Twilight Eclipse J. Castellano T. Albertrani
7-2
6 King Kreesa I. Ortiz, Jr. J. Englehart
12-1
7 Little Mike M. Smith D. Romans
10-1

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OTB Schedule - Sunday, Sep 25

Race Tracks Time (EST)
Albuquerque 3:39 PM
Australia A 11:00 PM
Australia B 11:05 PM
Australia C 11:20 PM
Belmont Park 1:30 PM
Belterra Park 1:31 PM
Century Downs 3:12 PM
Chester Downs Harrahs Philly 12:43 PM
Flamboro Downs 5:59 PM
Fort Erie 1:54 PM
Gulfstream Tropical 1:24 PM
Hastings Park 4:50 PM
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Hippodrome 3R 1:55 PM
Iowa Greyhound Park Mat 2:00 PM
Jacksonville Mat 1:33 PM
Laurel Park 1:14 PM
Los Alamitos (QH) 9:45 PM
Los Alamitos (TB) 5:00 PM
Monmouth Park 12:54 PM
Mountaineer Park 6:59 PM
Palm Beach Mat 1:03 PM
Parx Racing 12:56 PM
Pleasanton 4:16 PM
Pocono Downs 7:29 PM
Portland Meadows 3:02 PM
Prairie Meadows (TB) 2:00 PM
Presque Isle 5:25 PM
Remington Park 4:02 PM
Rideau Carleton 6:30 PM
Saratoga Harness 12:25 PM
Southland Mat 5:00 PM
Summerside 12:01 PM
Tri-State Twi 5:00 PM
Wheeling Downs Mat 12:34 PM
Will Rogers Downs 1:00 PM
Woodbine (TB) 1:00 PM
Zia Park 2:17 PM

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