There will be a major prep for the Breeders' Cup Classic on Saturday at Belmont Park. The Grade 1 $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup takes place on what is promising to be a wet day in the New York area. I would expect the track to be off a bit, but hopefully it won't be too bad to affect the remainder of the races that are scheduled to take place on the turf. Here is the analysis:
#1 Flat Out- I think this one might be the one to beat in this field, but I am not really a fan of his 7-5 pricetag, especially coming off back-to-back runner-up finishes. Granted, two Horse Of The Year candidates beat him, but 7-5 is tough to accept.
#1a Birdrun- Has yet to run with his entrymate in any of his recent starts. He did convincingly win the 1 1/2 mile Grade 2 Brooklyn on June 10, defeating Drosselmeyer along the way, who will also be a part of this field.
#2 Ice Box- Is it just me or was his last good race the 2010 Kentucky Derby? He is 0 for 6 in the subsequent starts and has only hit the board in one of that sextet. Corey Nakatani will be aboard.
#3 Rodman- He could go to the front or he could sit off of the pace. There is no consistency in his running style. He returns from a layoff here after getting drilled in the Whitney at Saratoga on August 6.
#4 Stay Thirsty- The current favorite for top three-year-old honors is looking to springboard into the Breeders' Cup Classic with a win here. He dominated his two races at Saratoga, the Jim Dandy and the Travers. Curiously, he is 0 for 2 at Belmont with two seconds.
#5 Drosselmeyer- Goes turf-to-dirt after a dismal showing in the Sword Dancer on August 13. The former Belmont winner has the best wet Tomlinson number in the field. I think he might be worth a serious look at odds of 6-1 in here.
#6 A.U. Miner- Calvin Borel guided this one to a win in the Greenwood Cup at Park last time out July 16. Might have won the Breeders' Cup Marathon last fall had he not been badly hampered on the final turn. Don't think much of his chances in here.
TOP FOUR SELECTIONS- 1-5-4-3
Remember, They Are Off accepts no responsibility for any wagers placed in conjunction with these selections. They are merely suggestions. Tune in again next week for more from They Are Off.