Code of Honor leads intriguing cast in Jockey Club Gold Cup

The prestigious Grade I, $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup will be renewed this Saturday at Belmont Park. A compact but quality field of five will assemble for this 1 1/4-mile test that carries an automatic bid to the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 2. Post time for the Jockey Club Gold Cup, Race 10 on an 11-race program, is 5:49 p.m. ET.

#2 CODE OF HONOR (8-5, morning-line favorite) has won his last two starts against stakes foes by open lengths. He was last seen drawing away to an impressive score in the Grade I Travers going 1 1/4-miles at Saratoga. Prior to that he dusted the Dwyer Stakes field at Belmont in early July. CODE OF HONOR will be ridden once again by John Velazquez, who recently tied Jerry Bailey’s all-time record of 660 graded stakes wins. The late-blooming son of Noble Mission should prove to be the best horse in the field.

#1 TACITUS (5-2) was keyed up early with blinkers added in the Travers last time out, but he managed to hold off all but the aforementioned CODE OF HONOR. That effort marked the third straight time that he finished second in a graded stakes – an alarming pattern. However, being up front shouldn’t harm the chances of TACITUS, who keeps the shades on, in a short field. PRESERVATIONIST appears to be his only true pace foe. Jose Ortiz maintains the assignment.

#4 PRESERVATIONIST (9-5) received a perfect stalking trip when he won the Woodward Stakes at Saratoga on closing weekend. Aside from his flop in the Whitney, the son of Arch is undefeated in five starts since Feb. 2. PRESERVATIONIST won the Suburban Stakes over this course back in July and keeps Junior Alvarado aboard.

The play: $5 exacta 2/1,4 ($10)

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