The Belmont Gold Cup achieved Grade II status a couple of years back, and this race is highly unusual when it comes American-style racing. There are not many 2-mile races, and Thoroughbreds rarely try these on anything but oval-shaped figures. The European strategy is important in contests like these. Go slow early, saving enough juice for the end … that is the way!
Coming into this G2 it looks like Joseph O’Brien’s entry will garner a fair amount of attention. Baron Samedi #8 has won, count ‘em, 6 in-a-row. Most of those were near O’Brien's base in Ireland, but the connections did travel to Longchamp in France for a nice G2 win in the Prix du Conseil de Paris. My major concern is can John Velazquez settle this one down, and get him across the wire in time. It is more than possible, especially given his experience. If O’Brien trusts him, then possibly bettors should.
Looking at the rest of the field there are several others that look pretty inviting. Take the Mike Maker trio of Tide of the Sea #2, Conviction Trade #4, and Ajourneytofreedom #9, if you want runners who are trained by an expert tactician, then here is your guy. Out of the 3, we could say that #2 is well-heeled and guided by Flavien Prat. Although the Elkhorn (G2) was a miss for this 5-yr-old out of English Channel, he has the ability to bounce back. Taking the “blinks” off is a sign of confidence and respect for ability. As for the other 2, who ran against one another in the Connally Turf Cup (G3), I would tend to back the #9 because he didn’t roll too badly in the recent Louisville (G3) at Churchill. That was against Arklow, and nobody was going to beat him. Maker gets Prat, Ortiz, and Rosario on his horses … wow!
As for one other, I like the Brad Cox entry named Kinenos #7 who gets local rider Jose Lezcano aboard. Out of the rascally Empire Maker, I am not sure how the colt will run stepping up into this company, but still, this is Cox. In a prep back in late April over the turf course, the 4-yr-old was rolling late, just edging Microsecond (what a name!). Rising up, this could be the perfect chance to earn a big score. No risk, no return … remember, this Cox-ite will be double-digits for sure. I like the action.
Time to dispel this glaucoma-clouded scene, and find a vision of a wager …