Preservationist a Tall Order in the Jockey Club Gold Cup
Photo Copyright Eclipse Sportswire
By Emily Shields for TVG
The $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) at Belmont Park has produced some stellar results over the years. Curlin won it en route to a Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) victory, with other mighty names such as Skip Away and Cigar also accomplishing the double. Historically, the race has been won by all-time greats such as John Henry, Affirmed, Forego, and Damascus.
Looking to add his name to the list is Centennial Farms’ Preservationist, who is coming off a win in the Woodward (G1) at Saratoga. On that occasion he defeated defending champion Yoshida and multiple stakes winner Tom’s D’Etat. He had already won the Suburban (G2) over this very 1 ¼-mile trip here, and has won four of his last five starts. Junior Alvarado will ride the Jimmy Jerkens trainee, a six-year-old son of Arch who will be making his 11th career start.
Facing Preservationist is a top class three-year-old in Code of Honor, winner of the Travers Stakes (G1) at Saratoga. The son of Noble Mission (GB) also won the Dwyer Stakes (G3) on this track in July, and the Fountain of Youth (G2) in March. Shug McGaughey trains for W.S. Farish, and John Velazquez will be back aboard to ride.
A victory would help Code of Honor compete with Maximum Security as the nation’s top sophomore. Another three-year-old who is trying to restore his reputation is Juddmonte Farm’s Tacitus. The royally-bred son of Tapit won both the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) and the Wood Memorial (G2) this spring, but has fallen just short since then. He finished fourth - but later placed third – in the Kentucky Derby (G1), then second in the Belmont (G1), Jim Dandy (G2), and the Travers. Jose Ortiz will ride for Bill Mott. Tactius has been worse than third only once in his career.
Vino Rosso takes the blinkers off for this. The son of Curlin will try to emulate his father by winning here, and already has a grade 1 victory over the distance this year via the Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) in May. He has since started only once for trainer Todd Pletcher, in the Whitney (G1) at Saratoga where he finished third. In his lone start over the surface, Vino Rosso finished fourth in Justify’s Belmont Stakes (G1) last year.
Olympic Village rounds out the field. Bob Hess trains the three-year-old son of Congrats, who was claimed away from Michael Trombetta last out for $75,000. He has won his last three starts, but has never raced further than 1 1/16 miles and is coming off a win over seven furlongs. Javier Castellano will ride.
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