Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational 2013 Contenders at Belmont Park

Dave Bond | OTB Writer

Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational comes our way this Saturday, September 28 from a very busy Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. A lucrative purse of $1 million will be on the line for horses three years old and upward willing to go 1 1/4 miles on Belmont Park's dirt track.

A strong field of eight has been confirmed for the Gold Cup Invitational - race 10 on Belmont Park's action packed Saturday card. Post time is 5:49 PM. Here is a brief look into the past performances of all eight combatants for this lucrative Grade 1 stakes.

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2013 Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational Race Favorite Entries

Cross Traffic - Todd Pletcher trained colt has just five career starts - three wins including a maiden score in his debut January 24 and a nice Allowance Optional Claiming score March 10 by 7 1/2 lengths at Gulfstream to start his career. Last time out was terrific win over Fort Larned in the Grade 1 Whitney Invitational after a great second behind Sahara Sky in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap May 27 at Belmont Park and a successful graded stakes debut - a good second behind Flat Out in the Grade 3 Westchester Stakes at Belmont Park April 27 with a Beyer Speed Figure over 115. He may not be the most experienced of the contenders but he has looked terrific in his short career! Cross Traffic has gone up against the best and prospered - no reason to think differently about this weekend. He departs from the far outside post as the 5-2 favorite and will have John Velazquez in the saddle.

Flat Out - is the defending champion in this race at Belmont September 29 and followed that with a decent third in the 2012 Breeders' Cup Classic but had two off the board finishes in his next two starts - a fourth in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap and a fifth in the Grade 2 New Orleans Classic at Fair Grounds March 30. He bounced back in a big way with a terrific score in the Grade 3 Westchester Stakes April 27 beating Cross Traffic and earning a Beyer Speed Figure over 115 and followed that with a third in the competitive Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap May 27. Last time out was a good second in the Grade 1 Woodward behind Alpha August 31 after a nice score in the Grade 2 Suburban Handicap July 6 at Belmont Park. Flat Out has placed in eight of his last 10 starts and has won two of his last four overall for legendary trainer Bill Mott. He is the second choice on the morning line at 3-1 odds and leaves from post 6.

Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational 2013 | Remaining Contenders

Palace Malice - Todd Pletcher trained colt parlayed his enormous 3 1/4 length win in the Belmont Stakes June 8 with a win ahead over Will Take Charge and Moreno by 9 1/2 lengths in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy July 27. This after a disappointing twelfth in the Kentucky Derby. Last time out however was a disappointing fourth in the Grade 1 Travers behind a few of his Gold Club foes. He also had a seventh in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds March 30 and was a nice second in the Blue Grass Stakes April 13 behind Java's War. He has been a bit "hit or miss" in his short career so far but his win in the Belmont has opened absolutely everyone's eyes - his Jim Dandy score only cemented his status as one of the best in the land. Palace Malice is listed at 4-1 odds and lines up in post 7 - right between the two favorites Saturday.

Orb - was the favorite in all three Triple Crown races and had an OK Preakness in which he got lost in the shuffle and fell victim to almost a perfect trip by Oxbow and finished fourth but he did win the Kentucky Derby by 2 1/4 lengths, the Grade 1 Florida Derby March 30 at Gulfstream, the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes February 23 and he had an Allowance Optional Claiming score January 26 this year. We know her can race! He has posted a pair of thirds ahead of the Gold Cup - in the Belmont Stakes and last time out in the Grade 1 Travers August 24. Shug McGaughey looks to get back on the winning track with his impressive colt this week but he will have to overtake a few contenders that have had success against him the past couple of starts. Orb is 9-2 on the morning line and will have Javier Castellano guiding him from post 2.

Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational betting at Belmont Park with

Alpha - finished second to Gemologist in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial in April 2012 after two straight wins - the Grade 3 Withers Stakes at Aqueduct last February 4 and the Count Fleet Stakes in January. Alpha had a disappointing Kentucky Derby finishing twelfth but bounced back with a nice win in the 2012 Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes on July 28 and a win in a dead heat in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes in August 2012 at Saratoga. He hadn't been the same since failing to place in six starts including a twelfth in the 2012 Breeders' Cup - before a terrific win last time out in the Grade 1 Woodward Stakes at Saratoga August 31. Before that was a sixth in the Grade 1 Whitney Invitational after a fourth in the Grade 2 Suburban July 6. Alpha departs from post 5 at 8-1 odds.

Last Gunfighter - Chad Brown trained colt had a six race win streak snapped two back with a respectable second in the Grade 2 Suburban Handicap behind Flat Out at Belmont Park July 7 with a career best 103 Beyer Speed Figure. He returned to the winner's circle last time out however in the Grade 3 Philip H. Iselin Stakes at Monmouth Park August 18. The other wins include two minor stakes scores - the Evening Attire at Aqueduct January 19 over Isn't He Perfect and the Raymond Earl Stakes by 4 3/4 lengths December 9 also at Aqueduct. He also won the Grade 3 Pimlico Special May 17 by an impressive 4 1/2 lengths after a win in his graded stakes debut - the Grade 3 Excelsior Stakes at Aqueduct March 23. He has placed in all 12 career starts - those seven wins, three seconds and two third place finishes and is one of the hottest horses in the land ahead of Saturday's action. Despite the success he is listed at 10-1 odds and will leave from the 3 hole Saturday.

Ron the Greek - looked very good in 2012 for trainer Bill Mott with two wins and three second place finishes in five starts before a sixth in last year's Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park September 29 and an OK fourth in the Breeders' Cup Classic in November. Among the wins last year were the Grade 1 Steven Foster Handicap and the Santa Anita Handicap. Ron the Greek recorded a repeat win by 11 1/4 lengths in the Sunshine Millions Classic Stakes January 19 at Gulfstream but was fourth in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap March 2. He went on to a pair of OK thirds - in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster behind Fort Larned June 15 and before that in the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic April 20. He has since raced to a pair of fourths - in the competitive Grade 1 Whitney and the Grade 1 Woodward last time out. He has just one win this year but has shown very good form in the past against top competition. Hopes are that he can regain that form. Ron the Greek has drawn the rail and is 12-1 on the morning line.

Vitoria Olimpica - Brazilian bred Todd Pletcher trained colt makes just his third start on North American soil after six starts at home yielded three wins and two third place finishes. He debuted in North America with a sixth in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Saratoga in July and bounced back last time out with a nice win in the minor Alydar Stakes on that same track August 22. Saturday marks his graded stakes debut as the longest shot in the filed- 20-1 odds.

2013 Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational Entries & Odds

Race 10 on Belmont Park's Saturday card with a Post Time of 5:49 PM.

Entry Horse Jockey Trainer ML Odds
1 Ron the Greek J. Lezcano W. Mott
2 Orb J. Castellano C. McGaughey III
3 Last Gunfighter R. Maragh C. Brown
4 Vitoria Olimpica (BRZ) I. Ortiz, Jr. T. Pletcher
5 Alpha J. Bravo K. McLaughlin
6 Flat Out J. Alvarado W. Mott
7 Palace Malice M. Smith T. Pletcher
8 Cross Traffic J. Velazquez T. Pletcher

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