Belmont Super Saturday Fields Taking Shape

by | 09.21.2014 | 4:01pm
Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.

On Saturday, Belmont Park will host TVG Super Saturday, which will include six graded stakes worth a total of $3.4 million. Topping the list is the Grade 1, $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup for 3-year-olds and up.

The 1 ¼-mile Jockey Club Gold Cup is expected to attract V. E. Day, Wicked Strong, and Tonalist, the top three finishers of the Grade 1 Travers on August 23 at Saratoga Race Course. Also probable are Grade 1 Whitney winner Moreno, Grade 2 Suburban Handicap victor Zivo, and Big Cazanova, Last Gunfighter, Prayer for Relief, and Stephanoatsee. Speak Logistics is possible.

Fillies and mares will travel 1 1/8 miles in the Grade 1, $400,000 Beldame. Stopchargingmaria, victorious in the Grade 1 Alabama and Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga, is slated to take on older runners for the first time in the Beldame. Probables also include Grade 1 Delaware Handicap winner Belle Gallantey, Hot Stones, and Stanwyck.

A star-studded field is expected for the Grade 1, $600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic. The prospective lineup for the 1 ½-mile turf marathon is likely to feature last year's runner-up Big Blue Kitten and Grade 1 Sword Dancer winner Main Sequence.

Big Blue Kitten, trained by Chad Brown for Ken and Sarah Ramsey, returned off a 10-month layoff to take the 1 1/16-mile Lure Stakes on August 2 at Saratoga, and was a fast-closing second in the Grade 3, 1 1/8-mile Cliff Hanger at Monmouth Park. Main Sequence enters the Turf Classic off victories in the Grade 1 United Nations at Monmouth and the Sword Dancer, both races having been won by Big Blue Kitten in 2013.

The field is also likely to include multiple Grade 1 winner Real Solution, whose lone win on the year came in the Grade 1 Knob Creek Manhattan at Belmont, former 1 ½-mile world record holder Twilight Eclipse and graded stakes winners Hangover Kid, Medal Count, and Micromanage.

Another Brown/Ramsey horse, Stephanie's Kitten, is likely to headline the Grade 1, $600,000 Flower Bowl at 1 ¼ miles on turf for fillies and mares.

Stephanie's Kitten is winless in 2014, but has finished second in each of her past two starts, the Grade 1 Diana at Saratoga and the Grade 1 Beverly D. at Arlington Park. The 5-year-old daughter of Kitten's Joy became a Grade 1 winner last year in the Just a Game at Belmont, but her season ended prematurely after a third-place finish in the Diana on July 27.

The 1-2 finishers from the Grade 2 Ballston Spa at Saratoga are both expected to enter the Flower Bowl. Abaco, a neck winner of the Ballston Spa, will likely represent Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, while runner-up Strathnaver is probable for trainer H. Graham Motion.

Rounding out the list of probables are Alterite, also trained by Brown, and Tannery, second in this race a year ago. Either Aigue Marine or Irish Mission, both trained by Christophe Clement, is anticipated to be among the field, with the other going to Santa Anita Park's Rodeo Drive.

In the $400,000 Vosburgh, a “Win and You're In Breeders' Cup Sprint Division” race, New York-bred Palace will shoot for his third straight Grade 1 victory. Expected to line up against the Alfred G. Vanderbilt and Forego winner are Happy My Way, unraced since finishing second as the favorite in the Vanderbilt on August 2; Clearly Now, beaten favorite in the Forego; 3-year-old Coup de Grace, winner of the Grade 2 Amsterdam who next was third as the 2-1 choice in the Grade 1 Ketel One King's Bishop; Grade 1 Carter winner Dads Caps; Private Zone, winner of last year's Vosburgh; and Ribo Bobo, who will be making his Belmont debut.

Grade 1 Woodward winner Itsmyluckyday will be taking an unconventional route to the Breeders' Cup Classic as he heads the field for the Grade 2, $400,000 Kelso at a mile. Likely to challenge the Lawyer Ron colt are Grade 2 Ack Ack winner Bradester, 3-2-0 in seven starts this year; Capo Bastone, most recently fourth in the Forego; River Rocks, returning to graded stakes company off a career- and field-best 110 Beyer Speed Figure last time out at Saratoga; Scarly Charly, winner of a one-mile allowance in July at Belmont, and Vyjack, stretching out a furlong after finishing third in the Forego.

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