Belmont’s arrival means Cup looms

It took some time for me to collect my thoughts after the recently concluded Saratoga meet.  It was another special 40 days at America’s grandest racetrack and my own visit reminded me why it is the single place that any racing fan must go in their lifetime.  From the intoxicating Adirondack air to the majestic old grandstand to the Hattie’s chicken sandwiches, oh I could go on and on.

With racing shifting to Belmont we still have plenty of terrific racing to look forward to as the first of nine Grade I races will be run on Saturday.  The Garden City will be headlined by Check the Label, the Sands Point and Virginia Oaks winner who was scratched out of the Lake Placid upstate when it was transferred to the main track.  The major Breeders’ Cup preps kick in on September 25 with the Gallant Bloom and continues on October 2 with “Super  Saturday” featuring the Jockey Club Gold Cup, Beldame, Flower Bowl, Vosburgh, and Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational.  The following Saturday there are three more Grade Is including the Jamaica, Frizette, and Champagne.

Speaking of the Breeders’ Cup, the post times for Friday and Saturday, November 5th and 6th have been released.  These will be the post times on Friday the 5th for the Breeders’ Cup races, with the order still to be determined (all times EDT):

5th Race 4:10 PM
6th Race 4:50 PM
7th Race 5:30 PM
8th Race 6:10 PM
9th Race 6:50 PM
BC Ladies’ Classic 7:30 PM

This is what the line-up will look like on Saturday:

4th Race 1:50 PM
5th Race 2:30 PM
6th Race 3:15 PM
7th Race 3:55 PM
8th Race 4:40 PM
9th Race 5:20 PM
BC Turf S. 6:00 PM
BC Classic S. 6:45 PM

We are destined to see a handful of races under the newly installed lights at Churchill Downs and that is certain to add to the excitement of the proceedings.  In an effort to get prepared for the Breeders’ Cup I’ll have some handicapping thoughts up for the following races over the next five weeks:

Sept 18-19: Garden City (Bel), Woodbine Mile (WO)

Sept 25: Gallant Bloom (Bel), Super Derby (LaD), Pennsylvania Derby (Parx)

Oct 2: Cotillion (Parx), Full card Belmont, Hawthorne Gold Cup (Haw), Indiana Derby (Hoo), Norfolk (OHO), Goodwood (OHO), Lady’s Secret (OHO), Yellow Ribbon (OHO)

Oct 3: Kelso (Bel), Oak Leaf (OHO), Clement Hirsch (OHO)

Oct 8: Alcibiades (Kee), Phoenix (Kee)

Oct 9: Jamaica, Frizette, Champagne (Bel), First Lady, Shadwell Mile, TCA, Breeders’ Futurity, Woodford (Kee), Ancient Title & Oak Tree Mile (OHO)

Oct 16: Queen Elizabeth (Kee)

In the meantime, I’ll be back each Tuesday to update my Top 5 for each Breeders’ Cup division beginning this week.  These divisions will obviously be in flux throughout the next 6 weeks, so be sure to stop back each week to see any changes.  In the spirit of the Breeders’ Cup, I’ll leave you with a replay of the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic.  See you Tuesday!

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