BC Classic Preview in The JC Gold Cup

The JC Gold Cup (BC) (Grade 1)- $750.000 Purse
BEL- For Three Year Olds and Upward
One Mile and One Quarter on the Dirt
September 28, 2019

Last year, the JC Gold Cup sent a total of eight horses to the BC Classic, meaning that over half of the field for that race first ran here at BEL in the JC Gold Cup. It didn’t matter how well the horse did in the Gold Cup, as both the winner, State Police, and the 13th place finisher, Out On A Limb ended up going to the BC Classic. So here we are this weekend, getting set for the 16th running of the JC Gold Cup, a race that figures to be talked about at length again in about five weeks. Looking at the quality in this field, we can certainly expect to see a handful of runners, not just the top finishers find their way to the BC. Let’s just sit back and enjoy this one, shall we? Here is the field!

#1- Achilles (Diablo Diablo, ridden by R Gutierrez)- In March, this horse was able to win the SA Handicap, coming from off the pace to get the win by a head. Unfortunately, that’s the last time that he has had a race to really get excited about. His last four starts have seen him finished off the board, with the last two races being particularly troubling, as they were consecutive ninth place finishes (Suburban Handicap and the Pacific Classic). This is a horse that is flying in the morning for workouts, but has not back it up for a while on the track.

#2- Champion In Action (Night Rider Stables, ridden by J J Castellano)- After a three race winning streak, the gelding has continued putting up “1’s” in the past performances. Unfortunately those have been 11’s for his last two starts. The same races are involved there as was with Achilles, both the Suburban Handicap, and the Pacific Classic. Of course, the Pacific Classic is a race that got a lot of attention for its very fast pace, so for both of these they could be throw outs. I have more confidence in looking elsewhere.

#3- Splash Mountain (John Henry, ridden by J R Velazquez)- The reigning BC Classic champion was not one of the eight horses that ran in this race last year. He chose the smaller OK Derby, a Grade 3, and did not even hit the board in that. After recovering from that with the win in the biggest race of the year, Splash Mountain has continued to be successful into his four year old season. His only win this year was the Whitney, but has also picked up a couple of second place finishes during the season. Has only made one career start at BEL, where he was third in the 2018 BEL Stakes.

#4- Serengeti Sands (TwinTowersRacing, ridden by L H Colon)- After a few sprints, the three year old is going to run the longest race of his career. He has commonly been entered in high level stakes, including the Forego (Grade 1) in his last start, but he has come up short more often then not. In 13 starts, he’s only hit the board four times, and has only done that once this season. In a field of this quality, he is tough to pick.

#5- Dastardly Havoc (Maxmillion Farm, ridden by D E Centeno)- Comes off a second place finish in the Grade 3 WV Governors Stakes, in what was a field of five, and prior to that was third in the Suburban Handicap. That is a race that others in here come out of that finished much further up the track that day. His lone win in 2019 came at the OP Handicap in April. Essentially, this is a horse that I could see getting a piece of the purse, but he doesn’t win enough for me to put on top.

#6- Tactical (Mb Stables, ridden by M Franco)- Riding a four race winning streak into this race, and hoping to remain hot here as he likely heads to the BC Classic. That streak began in an allowance, but the horse has continued to answer the challenges that the trainer has put forward for him, and that culminated at SAR with a win in the Grade 1 Woodward, a result that earned a 101 SRF. He doesn’t have to win here to remain a good choice for the BC Classic, but he will be one of our picks.

#7- Erupt (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by J Bravo)- Put forth a great effort in his last start as we won the Grade 2 Foster Handicap down at CD. As good as that win is, one has to wonder he has been for the last three months, and now will that layoff hurt him here? This is not a trainer that shies away from racing, especially at NY tracks, so I am a little curious as to why he missed the entire SAR meet.

#8- Combat Wombat (Maxmillion Farm, ridden by R Bejarano)- Ran second in the BC Classic last year, one race after finishing fourth in the 2018 JC Gold Cup. So far this season he has been very lightly raced, making just four starts, and winning one, the Grade 2 CT Classic in April. Last year, he won the Pacific Classic, and this year ran second in the Pacific Classic. Get where I’m going? The race needs to have Classic in its name. That’ll be good in about five weeks.

#9- L A Raw (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by L Contreras)- Two starts ago, he was the winner in the Suburban Handicap, beating a few that he sees here again. It was the only time in his last six starts that he ended up hitting the board, and he did not follow up the win particularly well in the Woodward, finishing eighth. This concerns me that may struggle to carry weight more then the average horse. Though we can also blame his outside post for that one. At least this post will be a little better.

#10- Beaver Wars (Team 7 Illusions, ridden by Alan Garcia)- This is a horse that one of these days is going to win a big race. He’s been close, but just can’t put it all together except for when he was finally able to break his maiden traditionally. Most recently, we saw him at the Pacific Classic, and the silly pace there figured to be something that could benefit him, and it did get him a fourth place finish. He tries again, and if nothing else, is a fun horse to watch.

#11- Centerpiece (Mb Stables, ridden by J Talamo)- Ran in this race last year, placing sixth, and then was one of the horses that went from here into the BC Classic. That did not go well either, leaving the three year old season of the Travers winner to end in disappointment. This year, and especially right now, he is on great form, and figures to atone for those two finishes. In his last four races, he has been part of the exacta each time with one win. His last start saw him place second in the Whitney. He’s earned triple digits SRF’s in four of his last five, and as I am not afraid to pick an outside post horse, I think he gets it done here.

#12- Hollywood Latte (Nakamura Stables, ridden by A Beschizza)- He became a winner of one of the TC races this season, taking the PRK. That’s an accomplishment that not many can boast, but the trainer would like to have a little more to be excited about now. Since the PRK, his best finish is eighth at the Haskell. His last start saw him flying early in the Pacific Classic (and has a familar face right next to him from that), and paid the price early. Surely, the trainer will not let that happen again.

#13- Range Of The Sun (Team 7 Illusions, ridden by Mario Gutierrez)- With so many in this field coming out of the Pacific Classic, the pace that he set in that race has come back into the discussion here. Since that point, there has been a lot of discussion about the usage of the fast instruction, and eliminating it. Therefore, I don’t expect to see that here and look forward to seeing this gelding race more normally.

#14- Twin Towers- Scratched, unfortunately. (But understood why)

#15- Magne Account (RNP Stables, ridden by K Carmouche)- Drawing in from the also eligibles, this gelding will be looking for his third straight victory. Those two wins came in convincing fashion as well, taking the $100.000 Birdstone at SAR by five lengths, then the inaugural $300.000 Grand Prix American JC at BEL by four lengths. Each were at twelve furlongs. He’s tried graded company before, but never on the main track, so he has certainly earned this chance. Unfortunately, he has to start out in centerfield with this post.

Prediction: 11-3-6-10

— NS

Categories: Grade I, STAKES ARTICLES

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