The BEL Gold Cup – Grade III
BEL 1 1/2m Turf Graded Stake
Purse $400.000 For Four Year Olds And Upward.
1 Big Daddy Z, trained by Maxmillion Farm
Took 7 races to clear maidens and he didnt manage that till he was a three year old. Since that first win however he has been contesting some top class races and has done well enough to justify his place in the field today. He took the DMR Derby and was a very close third in the Hirsch Turf Classic as a three year old and looked to be building nicely as a four year old as he took the CA Cup Classic and then ran a strong second in the San Luis Rey Stakes. Unfortunately he found soft ground in his last start and showed his distaste with a very poor sixth a run which we should probably ignore if the ground comes up ast today. He is drawn well and loves this trip so they are big plus’s and he must be in everyones calculations for this race.
2 Gila Bend, trained by Barcelona Farms
This six year old has been around a while and whilst his form is a little up and down he loves this trip and can win on this surface. He took the Connally BC Turf in his penultimate start but was poor from a wide draw last time underlining how tough it can be to catch him on a good day. Whilst he is good enough at his best i think his form may be just a tick behind one or two of these.
3 Pass The Pesos, trained by John Henry
Whilst he has been running pretty well he hasnt actually won a race since an allowance win a year ago. Thats not as bad as it sounds as he has placed at grade two and three and managed a 100 plus speed rating four times in defeat. Some sharp work times and a trip hat may bring out the best and he may be the dark horse in the race,
4 Sunny Gabe, trained by Mb Stables
Has been beaten twice by Big Daddy Z in recent starts and whilst he is working like a turf sprinter and stays this trip there is no reason he can turn the tables on that runner.He won the Breeders Stakes over this trip last year so is certainly in the mix and probably has some of the best work times in the field. That may be enough to make him your choice especially as the champion trainer will have him primed for this grade three attempt.
5 Volare, trained by Axeman
This is one of my favourite mares in the game and whilst she often places against the boys she has struggled to beat them in the past. She loves this trip but at seven she would have tp be in her best form to win today.
6 G Honkus Brown, trained by Spankys Barn
Showed just how silly HRP can be at times by running a superb second in the San Juan Capistrano Stakes just a few weeks after winning a six dollar claimer. Without that last start you would write him straight off but that super if slightly unbelievable run puts him right in the race.
7 Fluctuation, trained by Mb Stables
Has been slumming it in lower grade this year running second at TAM Last time but you dont have to look too far back in his form to find some great efforts against the top grade. The winner of the grade two National Museum of Racing and the grade three Saranac he also managed fourth in the grade one HOL Derby and any of those runs would put him in the top two or three today. My only worry is the wide draw but if Mb Stables can stop him burning out it shouldnt matter too much over this trip.
This is a fairly light field for a big purse but it is very even and will be hard to find the winner.
If Fluctuation can handle the wide draw he should be in there along with Big Daddy Z, of the others Sunny Gabe and Volare should be included in the exotics.