A known fan favorite will serve as the star when the 2017 Jockey Club Gold Cup hits the track this weekend at Belmont Park. Keen Ice has had an up-and-down 2017 after running strong in 2016. The now five-year-old ran 4th in the Pegasus, 7th in the Dubai World Cup, 1st in the Suburban and runner-up to Gun Runner in the Whitney. He’ll try to punch his ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Classic, a race he finished third in last season.
The 9/5 favorite gets the outside post in a field of seven and he’ll have plenty of competition.
Pavel poses the biggest threat according to the oddsmakers. As 5/2 in the 2017 Jockey Club Gold Cup, Pavel is a hard charging three-year-old who came 4th in a competitive Jim Dandy but came through in the Smarty Jones. The son of Creative Cause is one of the big stars in the O’Neill-Reddam stable and that combination in itself speaks volumes about how qualified this horse can be.
The winner of the 2017 Jim Dandy, Good Samaritan, enters as an 8/1 outside shot and can probably be safely ignored given that he also placed 5th in the Travers Stakes. A more likely outside play is Rally Cry at 6/1. The four-year-old colt scored in the Alydar and finished a respectable second to Gun Runner in the Woodward Stakes.
Diversify is a highly regarded four-year-old gelding sired by Bellamy Road who recently won both the Saginaw and the Evan Shipman. At 4-2-0 in six competitive starts over the last two years, Diversify is not to be ignored as a 7/2 third-choice in the 2017 Jockey Club Gold Cup. At the very least, any exotics should be padded by the Richard Viollette Jr. trainee.
Destin may seem tempting at 12/1, but the record-setting Tampa Bay Derby winner has never really lived up to his potential. He placed 2nd in the Belmont Stakes, 3rd in the Jim Dandy and 7th in the Travers. He’s rebounded with a win in a recent allowance as he’s recovered from minor injuries but remains a massive question mark. A standalone win bet is as good you’ll get here, but don’t lean too heavily.
Highland Sky rounds out the 2017 Jockey Club Gold Cup with 20/1 odds as the longshot.
Unless you have big hopes for some underachieving horses in this race, Keen Ice and Diversify should set up nicely for a battle down the homestretch.
Belmont Park will also host the 2017 Champagne Stakes, which features an enormous filed of twelve horses with a wide open field led by Good Magic at 7/2 and Hazit at 4/1. The winner of the Champagne gets through to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
2017 Jockey Club Gold Cup – Saturday, October 7th at Belmont Park
1 1/4 Miles – 3+ Year Olds – $750,000
|1||Diversify (NY)||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||126||Richard A. Violette, Jr.||7/2|
|2||Highland Sky (KY)||Rajiv Maragh||126||Barclay Tagg||20/1|
|3||Good Samaritan (KY)||Joel Rosario||122||William I. Mott||8/1|
|4||Pavel (KY)||Mario Gutierrez||122||Doug F. O’Neill||5/2|
|5||Rally Cry (KY)||John R. Velazquez||126||Todd A. Pletcher||6/1|
|6||Destin (KY)||Luis Saez||126||Todd A. Pletcher||12/1|
|7||Keen Ice (KY)||Jose L. Ortiz||126||Todd A. Pletcher||9/5|
2017 Champagne Stakes – Saturday, October 7th at Belmont Park
1 Mile – 3 Year Olds – $500,000
|1||Kowboy Karma (KY)||Alex Cintron||122||J. Larry Jones||12/1|
|2||Blame It On Honey (KY)||Kendrick Carmouche||122||Anthony Farrior||50/1|
|3||Stronger (KY)||Manuel Franco||122||Eric J. Guillot||15/1|
|4||Enticed (KY)||Junior Alvarado||122||Kiaran P. McLaughlin||10/1|
|5||Master Manipulator (KY)||Angel S. Arroyo||122||Eric J. Guillot||20/1|
|6||Good Magic (KY)||Jose L. Ortiz||122||Chad C. Brown||7/2|
|7||Bahamian (MD)||Mario Gutierrez||122||Simon Callaghan||5/1|
|8||Aveenu Malcainu (NY)||Luis Saez||122||Jeremiah C. Englehart||6/1|
|9||Honorable Treasure (KY)||Dylan Davis||122||Kenneth G. McPeek||6/1|
|10||Full of Run (KY)||Nik Juarez||122||Jason Servis||15/1|
|11||Hazit (KY)||John R. Velazquez||122||Todd A. Pletcher||4/1|
|12||Firenze Fire (FL)||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||122||Jason Servis||10/1|