OTB Race Previews
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OffTrackBetting.com - Belmont Park in Elmont, New York will be the scene of the G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup on Saturday, October 8. Horses three years old and upward will be featured when they line up and go 1 1/4 miles on Belmont Park's dirt track for the winner's portion of the $1 million purse.
Six older entries will give it a go in the Jockey Club Gold Cup - race 10 on Belmont Park's stacked Saturday card. Post time is 5:23 PM. Here is a peek into the past performances of all six combatants for this G1 stakes - a "Win and You're In" qualifier for the Breeders' Cup Classic.
Effinex 7-5 - last year's Eclipse Award finalist for Older Male and defending third place finisher in this race had eight starts in 2015 for trainer James Jerkins - four wins - the G1 Clark Handicap November 11, the G1 Suburban Handicap, the G3 Excelsior Stakes at Aqueduct in April and an Allowance Optional Claiming in March. He also had a good runner-up finish behind some horse named America Pharoah in the Breeders' Cup Classic October 31 and a third in the G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup October 3 - with a DNF in the Grade 2 Brooklyn Invitational and a fourth in the G1 Woodward Stakes sprinkled in there. He enters off a slightly disappointing fourth in the G1 Whitney Stakes at Saratoga August 6 after a win in the G1 Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park July 9, his worst result in a while - a sixth as favorite in the G1 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs June 18, a victory in the G2 Oaklawn Handicap in April and a third in the G1 Santa Anita Handicap in March. Effinex now has nine wins, two seconds and four third place finishes in 25 career, has won three of his last six starts overall (all graded stakes) and has alternated wins and losses in his last six overall. Mike Smith will be in the saddle of the morning line favorite from the outside gate 6 looking for his third graded stakes win this year.
Mubtaahij 8-5 - globetrotting Irish bred colt had four wins and a second place finish in five races overseas last year including a win in the 2015 UAE Derby by eight lengths March 28 and the Al Bastakiya Stakes at Meydan before debuting in North America. He failed to place in his next four starts including a fourth in the 2015 Belmont Stakes and eighth in the Kentucky Derby before a second behind California Chrome in the $10 million 2016 Dubai World Cup in March. He was last seen running a decent second in the G1 Woodward Stakes at Saratoga September 3 after an OK third behind Effinex in the G2 Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park July 9. Mubtaahij has been a force in the past and enters off three straight pretty good efforts. He tries for his first win in 17 months (7 races) and first North American score Saturday with Irad Ortiz in the irons of the second betting choice from gate 2.
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Hoppertunity 7-2 - Bob Baffert trainee was one of the favorites for the 2014 Kentucky Derby but missed that race. He won the 2015 San Pasqual Stakes January 10 and the G1 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs November 28, 2014. He enters off consecutive fourths - the G1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar August 20 and in the G1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita June 25. Those results followed a respectable third place finish behind California Chrome and Mubtaahij in the $10 million Group 1 Dubai World Cup at Meydan March 24, a good win in the G2 San Antonio Stakes at Santa Anita February 6, an OK third behind California Chrome in the G2 San Pasqual Stakes January 9 and three straight runner-up finishes - the 2015 Clark Handicap November 27 at Churchill Downs, the G2 Haygard Fayette Stakes October 30 at Keeneland and the G1 Awesome Again Stakes in September. Hoppertunity has five wins, six seconds and four third place finishes in 21 starts overall, has finished no worse than fourth in 13 graded tries and has placed in six of his last eight graded/group stakes races ahead of this weekend - competitive every time out. John Velazquez has been tabbed with snapping a three race losing streak on the morning line third choice from post 3 Saturday.
Watershed 10-1 - Kiaran McLaughlin trained colt has three wins and three third place finishes in nine career starts. Last time out was an OK third in the G3 Philip H. Iselin Stakes at Monmouth Park August 27 after an Allowance Optional Claiming score at Saratoga July 25 and a third in a similar race on this track in June. He started 2016 with a couple of decent results in Dubai - a third in the Group 3 Firebreak Stakes being the best. Watershed has placed in three straight races ahead of this weekend and will be after his first graded stakes/group score from post 5. Joel Rosario rides.
Prontonico 12-1 - was at his best in 2014/2015 when he won the G3 Smarty Jones Stakes in September, 2014 the G3 Discovery Handicap in November of that year, the G3 Ben Ali Stakes in April, 2015 and the G2 Alysheba Stakes a month after that. He also had a second in the G1 Clark Handicap in November, 2014. He had been mostly underwhelming after that before an Allowance Optional Claiming score on this track September 9 followed 10 months away, a sixth in the 2015 Clark Handicap, a fifth in the G2 Fayette Stakes in October of last year and an eighth in the G1 Woodward Stakes in October, 2015. Prontonico has shown form in the past but hasn't produced a stakes score in 18 months. Jockey Javier Castellano will try to change all of that from the rail Saturday.
War Story 30-1 - has placed in his eight of 14 career starts - three wins, three seconds and two third place finishes and enters off an OK second in the minor Pa Derby Champion Stakes at Parx September 24. Before that was a seventh in the G1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar August 20, his best result in some time - an Allowance score at Thistletown July 30 and consecutive eighths - the minor Tropical Park Derby in December and the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile. War Story has quietly placed in two of his last three starts but still has yet to produce a graded stakes score. Jockey Antonio Gallardo will try to change all of that from gate 4 Saturday.
Race 10 on Belmont Park's Saturday card with a Post Time of 5:23 PM.
|1||Protonico||12-1||Javier Castellano||Todd Pletcher|
|2||Mubtaahij (IRE)||8-5||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||Kiaran McLaughlin|
|3||Hoppertunity||7-2||John Velazquez||Bob Baffert|
|4||War Story||30-1||Antonio Gallardo||Mario Serey, Jr.|
|5||Watershed||10-1||Joel Rosario||Kiaran McLaughlin|
|6||Effinex||7-5||Mike Smith||James Jerkens|
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