2022 Belmont Gold Cup Contenders at Belmont Park

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Edited NYRA Press Release
Updated: June 07, 2022

Outbox and Loft To Battle in Grade 2 Belmont Gold Cup

Stayers will have their chance to shine in Friday's eighth running of the Grade 2, $400,000 Belmont Gold Cup, a two-mile Widener turf marathon for older horses on Day Two of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival.

The Belmont Gold Cup has been won the past four years by representatives from as many European nations, including Ireland's Baron Samedi, France's Amade, England's Call To Mind and Germany's Red Cardinal.

Two of those countries put forth serious challengers once again in German Group 2 winner Loft and multiple listed-winning UK-based runner Outbox, who will test the stamina of a sextet of North American runners.

2022 Belmont Gold Cup Field & Odds

Race 8 at Belmont Park on Friday, June 10 - Post 4:42 PM

Entry Horse ML Odds Jockey Trainer
1 Loft (GER) 4-1 Andrasch Starke
122 Lbs
Marcel Weiss
2 Abaan 5-2 Luis Saez
122 Lbs
Todd Pletcher
3 British Royalty 12-1 Joel Rosario
118 Lbs
Barbara Minshall
4 Outbox (GB) 2-1 Hollie Doyle
124 Lbs
Archie Watson
5 Strong Tide 6-1 Dylan Davis
120 Lbs
Michael Lauer
6 Cibolian 10-1 Flavien Prat
118 Lbs
Rodolphe Brisset
7 Novo Sol (BRZ) 10-1 Irad Ortiz, Jr.
118 Lbs
Saffie Joseph, Jr.
8 Box N Score 15-1 Manuel Franco
118 Lbs
Jonathan Thomas

German invader Loft represents the same trainer-jockey team of Marcel Weiss and Rene Piechulek, who rocked the racing world in last year's Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe with 72-1 winner Torquator Tasso. Loft is expected to be a far shorter price at Belmont Park, which is not the only difference between the two stable stars of the Weiss yard.

"Torquator Tasso is quite a lazy horse and some of the handicap horses he trains with really can't get him fit enough, so he needs a few races, but Loft is different-he is very easy to train and doesn't need a lot of work," said Julia Romich, assistant trainer to Weiss. "He's in great condition now and doesn't require any special distance or ground. He has been perfect so far leading to this race. You never know until you try to ship a horse like this, but we know that we have good German horses running right now and he's coming into this off a Group 2 win against them. The owner has also had success shipping to over there, as well."

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Owned by Gestut Ittlingen, whose Lauro won the 2008 Grade 2 Sky Classic at Woodbine, the lightly raced son of Alderflug [also the sire of Torquator Tasso and recent Group 1 winner Alenquer] is a grandson of In The Wings, who won the Breeders' Cup Turf over the Widener in 1990.

Loft won last month's Group 2 Oleander-Rennen over two miles on a right-handed, good-to-firm course at Hoppegarten. The run was just his seventh outing and fifth for Weiss, having been previously in the care of Andreas Wohler, trainer of the aforementioned Red Cardinal. Loft, assigned 122 pounds, exits the inside post under Piechulek.

"I think the two miles is perfect for him and he will run well with the American race style," Piechulek said. "Soft ground is even better for him, but it doesn't really matter that much with him if it is firm ground. I think he can place and maybe win. He likes races with a good pace, but he can place himself up close or behind, and I think he is even better this year and has been improving every race.

"Last year was a great year with the Arc win and this is the same trainer, though a different horse, obviously," Piechulek continued. "It's another story and experience to enjoy. I've never ridden in America and have tried years ago to and it didn't work out. On days like this and a race like this; to be there with a good horse who has a good chance, I'm very excited for that."

Hambleton Racing XXXIII's Outbox brings substantial class lines, but enters off a subpar effort for trainer Archie Watson in the Group 3 Aston Park at Newbury over 12 furlongs, finishing last of six.

In February, the son of Frankel won the listed $1 million HH The Amir Trophy in Qatar and last summer he defeated Group/Grade 1 winners Logician and Desert Encounter in the listed Fred Archer - both also over 12 furlongs. Two races back, he finished third in the Group 2 Jockey Club, just three-quarters of a length astern Yibir. The seven-time winner from 27 starts steps up to the two miles for the first time since finishing fourth in a Kempton handicap in January 2021. He will be ridden by regular pilot Hollie Doyle from post 4, carrying a field-high 124 pounds.

"Outbox is a very adaptable horse and we know he handles the traveling. I'm hopeful he will run a big race in the Gold Cup," Doyle said. "His previous run was disappointing, but every horse is entitled to throw in a bad one. His win in Qatar was excellent and if he can produce another run like that, it would be great. I have ridden in America before, but never at Belmont, so I am thoroughly looking forward to getting to know the track and being involved in such a prestigious race meeting."

Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher won the inaugural Belmont Gold Cup in 2014 with Charming Kitten and this year has a leading fancy in Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Alex Daigneault's Abaan, who won the H. Allen Jerkens over two miles and Grade 3 W. L. McKnight over 12 furlongs this winter at Gulfstream Park. The son of Will Take Charge will drop in grade from the Grade 1 Man o' War four weeks ago, where he finished fifth. Luis Saez has the ride from post 2 touting 122 pounds.

"He's already won at two miles," Pletcher said. "He's doing well and we're looking forward to getting him back at a distance he's proven at."

Colonel Stable and Jonathan Wilmot's Cibolian [post 6, Flavien Prat, 118 pounds] enters off a troubled fourth-place finish in last month's Grade 3 Louisville over 12 furlongs for trainer Rodolphe Brisset. Last summer, he was third in the listed Cape Henlopen Stakes at Delaware Park over the same trip and will be stepping up in both distance and class.

"I took a shot last time," Brisset said. "I entered him late and he was 20-1. We had a good draw so we hugged the rail the whole way around and when it was time to go, he couldn't really find his way out. He could have won based on what the jockey said. He had a lot of trouble. If you look at the gallop out, it looks like he went by everyone and kept on going. You never know, but he has run two mile and a half races this year."

Canadian classic winner British Royalty [post 3, Joel Rosario, 118 pounds], who races for Bruce Lunsford and trainer Barbara Minshall, will be looking to add the Belmont Gold Cup to his Breeders' triumph last fall.

Daniel Alonso's Novo Sol [post 7, Irad Ortiz, Jr.,118 pounds] was Group 1-placed in Brazil before coming to America and finishing third in the Grade 2 Pan American in April at Gulfstream.

Allowance winners Strong Tide [post 5, Dylan Davis, 120 pounds] and Box N Score [post 8, Manny Franco, 118 pounds] complete the lineup.

The Belmont Gold Cup is slated as Race 8 on Friday's 10-race card. First post is 1 p.m. Eastern.

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British Royalty seeks crowning moment in G2 Belmont Gold Cup

Friday's Grade 2, $400,000 Belmont Gold Cup, a two-mile turf marathon for older horses, will be graced by an appearance from British Royalty on Day Two of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival.

Trained and co-owned by Barb Minshall with Bruce Lunsford, the 4-year-old English Channel gelding has traveled an unorthodox ascendancy in the stayer division. He posted a debut win in October 2020 over Tapeta at Woodbine Racetrack when owned outright by Lunsford in the care of Minshall.

British Royalty would finish off-the-board in his next four starts, prompting the connections to drop him into a claiming event in July 2021 at Woodbine where he finished second while being haltered for $25,000 by conditioner John Charalambous.

He was entered back two weeks later for a $40,000 tag and immediately re-acquired, finishing a troubled fourth.

"He'd had a couple of rough trips and we thought we'd drop him in and try to give him an easy spot and you turn around and we'd lost the horse. It happens," Minshall said. "We were just trying to get him a win and get him focused. He didn't win that day. He had a rough trip. It wasn't like you'd won and then lost him.

"Ten days later the horse was back in and I called Bruce and asked if he wanted in," Minshall continued. "He said, `let's be partners.'"

British Royalty finished eighth in a 10-furlong turf allowance in his next start as a prep for the $400,000 Breeders' Stakes, the 12-furlong final leg of the Canadian Triple Crown contested over Woodbine's E.P. Taylor Turf Course.

British Royalty, with blinkers on for the first time, saved ground in fifth position through the opening mile of the Breeders' under a patient Patrick Husbands before launching his bid, splitting rivals and angling three-wide for the lengthy stretch run. He took command at the stretch call and drew off to a four-length win over the yielding going in a final time of 2:34 flat.

"He got a really good trip that day. I added blinkers to him because he was a little looky and I think that helped," Minshall said. "Patrick rode a great race on him. He got him into a nice stalking position. He likes a little bit of cover, but he doesn't want to come from 30 lengths back. He likes to sit in a close stalking position. He'll gallop all day and he just waits for the rider's cue. The ground was very soft that day and he just went over it like it was nothing. It was a great race."

British Royalty wintered at Winding Oaks Farm in Ocala, Florida, and made his seasonal debut last out with a close second under returning rider Joel Rosario in a 12-furlong allowance event over good Keeneland turf.

"He's a tall, leggy horse and he's matured a lot in the last year," Minshall said. "We had him in Florida all winter. He's become a very rideable horse and is a true stayer. He handles any kind of ground."

Minshall said British Royalty should relish the added ground.

"This horse will go as far as you want him to go. He's such a galloper, but he can gallop at a good pace. I think the distance is right up his alley," Minshall said.

British Royalty will begin his procession to New York on Tuesday evening but will not be traveling via Diamond Jubilee State Coach.

"He's a little quirky, so I have to ship him with a friend and make sure he has a window in his stall," Minshall said. "But other than that, he's a very kind horse. He's very rideable and very straightforward."

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