Eight top older horses will try their hand in the Grade I, $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup this Saturday at Belmont Park. The 1 1/4-mile classic goes as the 10th of 11 races on a program stacked with stakes. Post time for the Gold Cup is estimated for 5:50 p.m. EST. As always, be sure to take part in FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!
#8 THUNDER SNOW (6-1) was an emphatic winner of the Dubai World Cup back in March. After that race, he hit the shelf until August. A combination of rust and a turf trip he was unaccustomed to may have contributed to his lousy finish in the prestigious Juddmonte International last time out. Saeed bin Suroor would not ship THUNDER SNOW back to the states if he wasn’t doing well. He’s gotten over the Belmont training track well enough in the mornings. If 6-1 holds, THUNDER SNOW would be a tremendous value bet in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. Christophe Soumillon sees fit to ship in and ride.
#6 DIVERSIFY (4-5, morning-line favorite) has bounced back from his awful Charles Town Classic effort with three straight wins, including the Suburban and Whitney. He skipped the Woodward in favor of this spot at Belmont, where he is 8-6-2-0 all-time. DIVERSIFY is drilling exceptionally for this. He just has to deal with MENDELSSOHN early, then have enough to hold off THUNDER SNOW and possibly GRONKOWSKI late. DIVERSIFY is the one to beat, but at 4-5 or less he’s worth playing against. Irad Ortiz Jr. has the call.
#2 GRONKOWSKI (4-1) was a no-show in the Travers last time out. However, not many horses were able to make up ground at Saratoga that day. GRONKOWSKI’s Belmont Stakes effort stamps him as a logical contender returning to this course. Jose Ortiz regains the mount.
The play: $8 win 8, $2 exacta box 2/6/8 ($20)
DFJ analysis: Jose Ortiz rides in all 11 races on Saturday, and has the call on three program favorites. In total, eight of his 11 mounts are 6-1 or less on the morning-line. That includes GRONKOWSKI in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. Ortiz commands a high salary but is worth it this Saturday.
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