Jockey Club Gold Cup

On to Breeders' Cup for Max Player

George Hall and Sport BLX Thoroughbreds' Max Player (Honor Code) will train up to the Nov. 6 GI Breeders' Cup Classic at Del Mar following his win in Saturday's GI Jockey Club Gold Cup, trainer Steve Asmussen confirmed Sunday. "Max Player is better than he's ever been and physically he's developed into this," Asmussen said. "There's more of him. He's a horse that's continued to grow, fill out and mature. There's a lot more of Max Player as a 4-year-old than there was as a 3-year-old. He's bigger and stronger....

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Max Player Powers Clear in Jockey Club Gold Cup

George Hall and SportBLX's Max Player (Honor Code) proved his bounce-back GII Suburban S. score in July was no fluke as he again showed more speed and pulled away to an emphatic victory in the repositioned GI Jockey Club Gold Cup at Saratoga. A fringe player on last year's Triple Crown trail, the Steve Asmussen trainee has stamped himself as a legitimate GI Breeders' Cup Classic threat in two strong efforts at 10 furlongs, and earned an automatic berth into the year-end championship event Saturday as part of the "Win...

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Forza Di Oro Gets Acid Test in Jockey Club Gold Cup

Don Alberto Stable's Forza Di Oro (Speightstown) has shown considerable talent in six starts dating back to his debut in September of 2019, and he'll finally get his chance at the highest level as a likely favorite in Saturday's 10-furlong GI Jockey Club Gold Cup, being run at Saratoga for the first time in the race's storied history. Running a huge race after a disastrous start to be second at 31-1 in his unveiling, the homebred graduated next out, but took a major step backward when finishing eighth, beaten 24...

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Talented Forza Di Oro Eyeing Jockey Club Gold Cup

Forza Di Oro (Speightstown), a stylish optional claiming winner for Hall of Famer Bill Mott in his seasonal debut at Saratoga July 21 (video), could target the newly positioned GI Jockey Club Gold Cup over closing weekend at the Spa Sept. 4. The lightly raced 4-year-old, a disappointing eighth in the GII Remsen S. in his juvenile finale, has been perfect in three starts since. The Don Alberto homebred was two-for-two in an abbreviated 2020 campaign, capped by a win with a career-high 101 Beyer Speed Figure in the GIII...

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May 28 Insights: Happy Saver Returns at Belmont

Sponsored by Alex Nichols Agency 3rd-BEL, $96K, Alw/Opt. Clm, 4yo/up, 1m, 2:02 p.m. ET Wertheimer and Frere's undefeated Grade I winner HAPPY SAVER (Super Saver) is slated to make his first start since October in this one-mile allowance/optional claiming affair early on Friday's card at Belmont. Debuting last June with a powerful 5 1/2-length score going seven local furlongs that earned 'TDN Rising Star' honors. Repeating with a four-length success when stretched out to two turns at Saratoga, the homebred passed his first stakes test in annexing the Federico Tesio...

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The Week in Review: Charlatan Ran a Huge Race in Saudi Arabia

He did not win Saturday over in Saudi Arabia, but Charlatan (Speightstown) proved that he is undoubtedly the best dirt horse in America. That's how well he ran in his one-length defeat to Mishriff (Ire) (Make Believe {GB}) in the $20-million race. It was by no means a surprise that Charlatan and Knicks Go (Paynter) got caught up in a speed duel. Both are talented horses with abundant early speed and jockeys Joel Rosario (Knicks Go) and Mike Smith (Charlatan) rode aggressively, perhaps because neither rider wanted to see their...

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Jockey Club Gold Cup and Flower Bowl Added to Saratoga's 2021 Stakes Schedule

The New York Racing Association unveiled the stakes schedule for the Saratoga meet, which will feature 76 stakes worth $21.5 million in total purses, including the GI Jockey Club Gold Cup and GI Flower Bowl S., both of which were previously run at Belmont. Both races will be run Sept. 4 and, to accommodate this change, the GI Woodward S. and GIII Fasig-Tipton Waya S. will be moved to the Belmont fall meet. The Jockey Club Gold Cup will be worth a $1 million for the first time since 2016,...

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Discreet Lover Retired to Stand Stud in Indiana

Discreet Lover (Repent--Discreet Chat, by Discreet Cat), upset winner of the 2018 GI Jockey Club Gold Cup S. at Belmont Park and earner of nearly $1.5 million, has been retired from racing to stand at Kerry and Leigh Ann Hopper's R Star Stallions in Anderson, Indiana. The 8-year-old will stand for a fee of $2,000, with special considerations for approved mares. Discreet Lover, campaigned by owner Trin-Brook Stables, Inc. and trainer Uriah St. Lewis, is out of an unraced half-sister to millionaire and Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint winner Desert Code...

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Happy Ending to a Good Week's Work

You have to shake out a lot of grit from the riverbed before you glimpse that glint of gold. John Ropes started panning just about 40 years ago. He had a girl working for him at the time whose father, Andy Smithers, trained in Canada. When Ropes told her that he'd decided to buy a racehorse, she tried to save him. "No," she implored. "I'm telling you, don't do it." Ropes was adamant. He had always loved horses. His parents took him racing as a kid in Miami and, though...

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The Week in Review: HBPA Says 'Ramrodded' Integrity Act Could Get Challenged As 'Unconstitutional'

If the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) gets passed by the United States Senate and then signed into federal law, the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (NHBPA) could launch a legal challenge against it based on the alleged unconstitutionality of the independently overseen anti-doping, drug testing, and racetrack safety standard programs that the new federal law would create. Leroy Gessmann, who serves as both the NHBPA president and as Arizona HBPA's executive director, told commissioners at the Oct. 8 Arizona Racing Commission (AZRC) meeting that "this thing is...

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Happy Saver Stays Perfect in Jockey Club Gold Cup

Lightly raced 'TDN Rising Star' Happy Saver (Super Saver) squeezed inside of favorite Tacitus (Tapit) and out-finished fellow sophomore 'Rising Star' Mystic Guide (Ghostzapper) to stay perfect in Saturday's GI Jockey Club Gold Cup, a "Win and You're In" qualifier for the GI Breeders' Cup Classic. The Wertheimer homebred broke his maiden by an auspicious 5 1/2 lengths going seven furlongs on the GI Belmont S. undercard here in June, and saw out nine panels when taking a Saratoga allowance July 26. He again displayed his appreciation for a route...

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Talented Sophomores Take on Their Elders in Jockey Club

A pair of 'TDN Rising Star' sophomores take on their elders in a five-horse renewal of the GI Jockey Club Gold Cup S. Saturday at Belmont, which is a "Win and You're In" event for the GI Breeders' Cup Classic. Leading the sophomore duo is unbeaten Happy Saver (Super Saver). A dominant debut winner going seven panels at Belmont June 20, the Todd Pletcher pupil dominated a nine-furlong allowance next out at Saratoga July 26. The Wertheimer and Frere homebred made it three-for-three in Laurel's Federico Tesio S. Sept. 7....

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