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Check out our predictions and odds for the 2023 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Saratoga!
RATTLE N ROLL
B J Hernandez Jr
I Ortiz Jr
DUKE OF LOVE
Odds provided by author Brian Zipse.
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Proxy and Rattle N Roll, two of the top older males in the nation, top a field of eight set for Saturday’s Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Saratoga.
Proxy could be the choice over his rival in the 10-furlong prep for the Breeders’ Cup Classic on the strength of a front-running score in the Grade 3 Monmouth Cup in his last start.
The 5-year-old son of Tapit just missed earning his second career Grade 1 victory earlier this season in the 10-furlong Santa Anita Handicap and seems well suited for the distance.
Rattle N Roll is his chief rival in Saturday’s $1 million affair. A 4-year-old son of Connect, he has been on quite a roll this year
Also a Grade 1 winner, the Kenny McPeek trainee narrowly missed out on a fourth straight graded stakes winner last out when a rallying second in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster at Ellis Park.
Of the rest, Tyson might pose the biggest threat to the two favorites. One of two in the race for trainer Josie Carroll, the son of Tapit has won four of five career starts.
In his latest effort, he romped home in the Grade 2 Seagram Cup at Woodbine. The Jockey Club Gold Cup will be his first try on a conventional dirt surface.
He has not always turned in his best, but when he does, this son of Tapit has proven to be a very good horse. In his last six races, he earned his first Grade 1 win, just missed in another, and added two other graded stakes victories.
Trained by Michael Stidham, he comes into this off a nice win at Monmouth Park, where he showed the new dimension of early speed. That could come in handy here, as he has drawn the rail in a race without much speed.
At his best, he is probably the one to beat, but his dull performances in the Pegasus World Cup and Stephen Foster are concerning. Still, he has to be considered a major threat.
This 4-year-old son of Connect has always been a nice horse but has really taken things to a higher level in his last four starts. He won three graded stakes races at three different tracks before running possibly his best race yet to just miss in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster at Ellis Park.
He has no early speed to speak of for trainer Kenny McPeek but seems to come running regardless of the early fractions set down in front of him. Given some time off his last race, he should be ready to roll on Saturday.
Given his consistency, I have no qualms in calling the seven-time stakes winner the horse to beat in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. It’s just a matter of whether he can pass them all down the Saratoga lane.
This one will be making his first start for new connections on Saturday. He will need to improve to win this Grade 1 test for trainer Chad Summers, but he certainly has been on the improve this year.
An experienced son of Brethren, he won the Grade 3 Ghostzapper three starts back and then finished in the money in a pair of graded stakes in his last two. Granted, he never worried Rattle N Roll or Charge It in those races, but he did continue to show that he belongs in graded stakes.
This will be the toughest test yet for him, but he is not out of it. If he moves forward for the new barn, he is a threat.
A Grade 1 race at Saratoga is a tricky place to make your dirt debut, but trainer Josie Carroll has found success in shipping into the Spa before and this lightly raced gray looks like a talented runner.
His only loss in a five-race career wasn’t bad and came in a race where he still lacked experience. Since then, the son of Tapit has decisively won a pair of stakes races at Woodbine. Bred to like the dirt, he should also have no trouble with the 10 furlongs of the Jockey Club Gold Cup.
He also has good tactical speed in a race without any true speed. I believe he has the talent to make some real noise here. He is the top pick to pull off the upset on Saturday.
This chestnut son of Curlin has looked good while winning three of his six lifetime starts. On the other hand, he has burned a lot of money while disappointing in the three which he did not win.
Once again, he gave his connections hope with a nice victory against allowance company in his last start, but now he will take on good-stakes horses. The good news is that it did come over the Saratoga track.
His only previous stakes try was a bust, but maybe he is finally figuring it out for trainer Todd Pletcher. I cannot dismiss him, considering his recent win, but I don’t have enough trust to pick him here.
The second of two for trainer Josie Carroll, this son of Cupid has only run twice on dirt and won stakes races in both attempts.
The stakes will be much higher on Saturday, but he has earned a shot. The second of those dirt wins came last out at Mountaineer Park where he gamely won a Grade 3 event going 8 1/2-furlongs.
His stablemate is clearly better on all-weather surfaces, but given his dirt experience, this 4-year-old two-time stakes winner should be considered.
In his only previous start at Saratoga, this Cairo Prince gelding romped home by 8 1/2 lengths in a Saratoga allowance race last summer.
This will obviously be a much tougher test, but it’s good to see that type of positive experience over the track. Saturday will be his graded stakes debut, and it’s a difficult spot, but he has shown enough potential to believe that he is in with a chance.
He’ll need his best race yet, but he could improve third race off the layoff for trainer Phil Bauer. He will likely be close to the early pace and is a longshot to consider here.
A well-beaten third behind Charge It and Clapton last time in the Suburban, this 4-year-old son of Upstart has never been able to get it done against stakes company.
On occasion, he looked good in romping over allowance company, but those wins came at Aqueduct and against lesser competition. He also has finished out of the money in all three previous starts at Saratoga.
I guess the fourth and third-place finishes in the last two graded stakes have given his connections hope to try this, but he wasn’t really close in either. I find him hard to recommend.
Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.
Email: [email protected]
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