Happy Saver can topple Tacitus in Jockey Club Gold Cup

The Grade I, $250,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup, the annual centerpiece of Belmont’s fall meet, is set for Saturday. A field of five will go the classic 1 1/4-mile distance on the main oval in this one. Topping the entries are undefeated three-year-old HAPPY SAVER and four-year-old TACITUS, a winner of nearly $3 million. Post time for the prestigious Jockey Club Gold Cup, Race 9 of 11 on the day, is 4:48 p.m. ET.

#1 HAPPY SAVER (2-1) has never tasted defeat in three career starts for Todd Pletcher. He was last seen dominating his foes in the $100,000 Federico Tesio Stakes at Laurel Park. HAPPY SAVER stamped himself as a promising late-bloomer with a runaway maiden score over this course on Belmont Stakes day. Being by Super Saver out of a Distorted Humor mare, HAPPY SAVER should enjoy the 1 1/4-mile distance. Irad Ortiz Jr. will get a leg-up in this spot, looking for his second career Jockey Club Gold Cup score.

#4 TACITUS (EVEN, morning-line favorite) had made a habit of collecting minor awards since his 2019 Wood Memorial score (seven straight losses) before his runaway victory in the Grade II Suburban over this course. He followed that up with a no-excuses loss to Global Campaign in the Grade I Woodward at Saratoga. TACITUS has the experience edge, but HAPPY SAVER’s trajectory makes him the better bet in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. Jose Ortiz has the call once more.

#2 PRIORITIZE (4-1) moves up in the event of a scratch. He was last seen running into the trifecta in the Woodward. He’s probably not classy enough to beat these but is the best of the rest. PRIORITIZE will be ridden by Luis Saez.

The play: $16 win 1, $4 trifecta 1/4/2 ($20)

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