Horse Racing Betting Report - 2016 Jockey Club Gold Cup

Horse racing

Friday, October 7, 2016 10:31 PM GMT

A big day of major graded horse racing at Belmont Park this Saturday is highlighted by the running of this year’s $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup for three-year-olds and up as part of a “Win and You’re In” automatic qualifier for this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita Park on Nov. 5.

The early field for Saturday’s Jockey Club Gold Cup continues to take shape with nine solid contenders listed as probable. Eight of the entries are currently rated by Horse Racing Nation and the top six have been ranked so it should be a great race featuring a very deep list of contenders competing for a spot in next month’s Classic. The following are my top three horse picks to wheel together in a trifecta play.

 

2016 Jockey Club Gold Cup

The Jockey Club Gold Cup is a Grade 1 stakes race for three-year-old thoroughbreds and up with a total price purse of $1 million. It will be contested on the dirt track at Belmont over a distance of 1 ¼ miles.

 

Famed trainer Kiaran McLaughlin is expected to have two entries in Saturday’s race and one of them happens to be my top choice to win. Mubtaahij is a four-year-old Irish-bred colt that has enjoyed a solid racing career over the past three years. He recently finished second to Shaman Ghost in the Grade 1 Woodward Stakes at Saratoga on Sept. 3 over a distance of 1 1/8 miles. His betting odds to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic next month are +4000 at BetVictor.

This was his third straight finish in the money this season including a runner-up finish to California Chrome in this past March’s Grade 1 Dubai World Cup at a mile and a quarter. Mubtaahij is currently ranked No. 33 by HRN with an 8.36 rating.

 

My second choice for Saturday’s Gold Cup is trainer Bob Baffert’s Hoppertunity. This five-year-old Kentucky-bred colt is coming off a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar on Aug. 20 against a very strong field that included California Chrome, Beholder, and Dortmund in the first three spots. He also finished fourth in the Grade 1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita in late June over a distance of 1 ¼ miles.

After winning the Grade 2 San Antonio Handicap at Santa Anita at 1 1/8 miles, he went on to place third in the Dubai World Cup as part of a very challenging 2016 racing campaign. His HRN rank now stands at 55 with an 8.04 rating.

 

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The highest ranked horse in this field is expected to be Effinex at No. 27 with an HRN rating of 8.45. Trained by James Jenkins, this five-year-old New York-bred horse could have a home track advantage after winning the Grade 2 Suburban Handicap at Belmont on July 9 at a distance of 1 ¼ miles.

His biggest win this season came in a first-place finish at Oaklawn Park in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap on April 16 at 1 1/8 miles and in his most recent race he fell to fourth in the Grade 1 Whitney Handicap at Saratoga against a much stronger field at that same distance.  

 

A few of the other top contenders listed as probable for this year’s Jockey Club Gold Cup include Samraat, Comfort, and War Story. The horse I would keep an eye on as the one most likely to make a run at my top three this Saturday would be trainer Todd Pletcher’s Comfort after the four-year-old colt bested the field in the non-graded Seattle Slew Stakes at Belmont on Sept. 10.

 

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