Jockey Club Gold Cup

The Jockey Club Gold Cup, established in 1919, is a prestigious thoroughbred flat race open to horses of either gender three-years-old and up. It is typically the main event of the fall meeting at Belmont Park, just as the Belmont Stakes is of the spring meeting and the Travers Stakes is of the summer meeting at Saratoga. Part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge series, the winner of the 2008 Jockey Club Gold Cup automatically qualified for the Breeders' Cup Classic.

The Jockey Club Gold Cup has often been the event in which horses who have done well in a year's U.S. Triple Crown races first face older opponents on a weight-for-age basis. Before it was known as the Jockey Club Gold Cup it began as the Jockey Club Stakes. This was its name when Man o' War won it against the only horse willing to race him. Damask, owned by Harry Payne Whitney, was entered as a sporting gesture and to keep "Red" from having to run alone in a "walkover." Damask finished 15 lengths behind with Red held under strong restraint in order not to humiliate his rival. Even so, Red broke the American record for a mile and a half.

Despite its $750,000 purse and Grade 1 status, the stature of the race has suffered somewhat in recent years thanks to the emergence of the Breeders' Cup held not long afterward, as well as the race's having been shortened to the more common distance of 1-1/4 miles in 1990, reducing its distinctiveness.

The race was once run (1976 through 1989) at 1-1/2 miles, but from 1921 through 1975 it was two miles (3 km) long, second in distance only to the less prestigious, 2-1/4-mile Display Handicap. From 1958 through 1974, except for 1962 and 1968, the race was held at Aqueduct Racetrack instead of Belmont.

The past winners of the Gold Cup is a veritable who's who of award winning Hall of Fame horses. Seven horses have won the race twice (including Triple Tiara winner, Shuvee). Only one horse in history has won the Cup five times, and that was the great gelding Kelso.

Perhaps the most memorable renewal was that of 1978, when Exceller defeated the previous year's Triple Crown winner, Seattle Slew, by a nose, with the 1978 Triple Crown winner, Affirmed, finishing fifth.

Belmont Park Graded Stakes Races

Stakes Race Grade Purse
Westchester Handicap III $150,000
Beaugay Stakes III $150,000
Fort Marcy Stakes III $100,000
Peter Pan Stakes II $200,000
Sheepshead Bay Stakes II $250,000
Metropolitan Handicap I $750,000
Sands Point Stakes II $200,000
Acorn Stakes I $300,000
Ogden Phipps Handicap I $400,000
Vagrancy Handicap II $200,000
Brooklyn Handicap II $200,000
Jaipur Stakes III $150,000
Belmont Stakes I $1000,000
Just A Game Stakes I $500,000
Manhattan Handicap I $500,000
True North Handicap II $400,000
Woody Stephens Stakes II $400,000
Hill Prince Stakes III $150,000
Mother Goose Stakes I $300,000
New York Stakes II $200,000
Dwyer Stakes II $200,000
Bed O'Roses Handicap III $150,000
Poker Stakes III $150,000
Suburban Handicap II $350,000
Victory Ride Stakes III $150,000
Man O'War Stakes I $600,000
Bowling Green Handicap II $150,000
Garden City Stakes I $250,000
Noble Damsel Stakes III $100,000
Gallant Bloom Handicap II $150,000
Kelso Handicap II $200,000
Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes I $500,000
Beldame Invitational Stakes I $350,000
Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational Stakes I $500,000
Jockey Club Gold Cup I $750,000
Vosburgh Invitational Stakes I $350,000
Miss Grillo Stakes III $100,000
Pilgrim Stakes III $100,000
Tempted Stakes III $100,000
Nashua Stakes II $150,000
Frizette Stakes I $300,000
Jamaica Handicap I $250,000
Champagne Stakes I $300,000
Athenia Stakes III $100,000
Knickerbocker Stakes III $100,000
Turnback The Alarm Handicap III $100,000
Bold Ruler Handicap III $100,000
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