The 2014 Jockey Club Gold Cup is a Handicappers Nightmare
The 2014 Jockey Club Gold Cup is a Handicappers Nightmare: The Jockey Club Gold Cup is one of the premier races of the summer, leading into the Breeders’ Cup Classic for the winner. Using the JCGC as a prep is usually a good idea for the three-year-olds, because it gives them experience against older horses, before being through to the Championship race.
This year’s edition of the Gold Cup, which is run on Saturday, September 27, is one of the strongest, classiest fields the Jockey Club Gold Cup has seen in a long time. V.E. Day, this year’s Travers winner (watch replay), is the least experienced in the entire field, but he is one of the more accomplished in the field. There is some early speed in this race, which good for the late runners, such as V.E. Day, Stephanoatsee, and Last Gunfighter. Looking at the JCGC, the race looks to be a very good betting race. The race has the speedballs Moreno, coming in on a G1 win at Saratoga, and the foreign invaded, Big Cazanova, who is making his American stakes debut. The race is full of stalkers or pace pressers. Those who will likely be behind Moreno and Big Cazanova will be Wicked Strong, Tonalist, Speak Logistics, and Prayer for Relief, Long River, and Micromanage. All of these horses will likely be able to get the first jumps as the speed starts to dwindle, which is likely will. Wicked Strong and Tonalist will likely be leading the stalkers through the race. The late runners will be making their move headed into the stretch. The late runners V.E. Day, Last Gunfighter, Zivo, and Stephanoatsee will need a bit hotter pace to run at, but they are likely to get it.
The race, as stated before, is likely to be a very good betting race. With the speed duel that is looming, the late runners will likely have the best chance to take the 2014 Jockey Club Gold Cup.
Wicked Strong is making his final 2014 start here. Will he have enough left in the tank for this final performance? He has been working very well for Jimmy Jerkens at Belmont, and seems to handle the track fine. His new running style, stamina, and grit really should help him here, as he is likely to be the first to pick up the speed duel pieces, and the target will be on his back headed for the wire!
Tonalist (see video below) has been a disappointment since the 1st place finish in the Belmont. He does have the home court advantage here though! Belmont is obviously his favorite track, having won the Peter Pan and Belmont over it, which are his only graded stakes wins. He is likely to stick with Wicked Strong through most of the race. He loves the track and is proven he can run longer than 10F. Look out.
V.E. Day (see training video below) is unbeaten on the dirt. He made his graded stakes debut in the G1 Travers Stakes at Saratoga, and he remained unbeaten. He muzzled out his stable mate, Wicked Strong, for the win. Jimmy Jerken was dancing after the 1-2 finish. He is hoping for another celebration here. V.E. Day is also working like a monster over the Belmont dirt, signaling that he is ready to go.
Micromanage is the marathoner of the group. He is likely best going 12F on the dirt, but this is another reason why he may be in here. With the speed duel looming, and his ability to stalk a good pace, he has proven that he is a warrior, and winning is something he does know how to do. He is working nicely for this race at Belmont, but on the inner turf course. Trainer Todd Pletcher must know what he is doing, as he is the leading trainer.
Zivo ran the race of his life in his last victory in the G1 Suburban. He beat Moreno in that race, but hasn’t been his best since. He has only lost one race in 2014, which came in the grade one Woodward. The 10F should suit the late runner, and with the speed in this race, he will have something to run at.
Counting out other contenders Prayer for Relief, Long River, Last Gunfighter, Speak Logistics, and Stephanoatsee would be a mistake. Prayer for Relief is the veteran of the group, and likely going to be able to find his way into the super or tri. He knows how to race, and he is working like monster at Belmont. Stephanoatsee has the pedigree to get 10F, but has not shown his talent yet. He has only hit the board three times in the last 2 seasons. His last win came in 2012. Last Gunfighter is another old-timer who knows how to run, although, he has not hit the board in his last three starts. He is training well at Belmont though. Long River has prepped at Saratoga with some okay works. Speak Logistics is coming out of the claiming ranks to run here, and is working decently at Belmont.
Moreno and Big Cazanova will likely toil, as this is not a speedway, and speed will likely not hold like they would need it to, to go wire to wire in this classic event.
Counting any horse out of this race would be a mistake, and that is the reason this race may be the best betting race we see this year, except, maybe, the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Will it be a three-year-old to beat the older boys, or will a veteran show the youngsters how it is done?
The Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont, Saturday September 27, 2014 5:50PM
Micromanage 20-1 (Seaz/Pletcher)
Last Gunfighter 20-1 (Bravo/Brown)
Wicked Strong 3-1 (Maragh/Jerkens)
Zivo 6-1 (Lezcano/Brown)
Prayer for Relief 15-1 (J. Velazquez/Romans)
Long River 30-1 (C. Velazquez/McLaughlin)
Speak Logistics 50-1 (Lopez/Contessa)
Tonalist 4-1 (Rosario/Clement)
Stephanoatsee 20-1 (J. Ortiz/Zito)
V.E. Day 5-1 (J. Castellano/Jerkens)
Moreno 7-2 (J. Alvarado/Guillot)
Big Cazanova 20-1 (I. Ortiz/Miller)
V.E. Day Breezes at Belmont Park September 22, 2014:
Tonalist Breezes at Belmont Park September 22, 2014: