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Sep 26, 2014

Jockey Club Gold Cup attracts field of young and old


Elmont, NY ( - A top notch field of 12, including the top two 3-year-olds from the Travers, has been entered for Saturday's $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park.

Part of the Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" program, winning the 1 1/4-mile Gold Cup guarantees a place for the winner in this November's Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita.

With the recent retirements of Palace Malice and Will Take Charge, the leading older horse in the Gold Cup is Whitney Handicap winner Moreno. Trained by Eric Guillot, the 4-year-old gelding will start from post 11 with Junior Alvarado again riding.

Owned by Southern Equine Stable, Moreno notched just his second career stakes victory in the Whitney on Aug. 2 at Saratoga and followed four weeks later with a second in the Woodward, a half-length behind Itsmyluckyday.

Moreno began this year with a third in the Charles Town Classic followed by a fourth in the Pimlico Special. At Belmont Park, he was 12th to Palace Malice in the Met Mile on June 7 and second behind Zivo in the Suburban Handicap on July 5.

"The (1 1/4-mile) Suburban was his best race, and he got beat by inches in the (2013) Travers," said Guillot. "Inner fractions make the race, and at 1 1/4 miles he's allowed to set a slower pace. In the Suburban, if you look at the configuration of the starting gate, he had to be used up to get to the lead from post 11, and they still had to come get him in the last sixteenth."

The gelding has three wins, seven seconds and three thirds in 21 lifetime starts for $1,829,940.

Travers champ V. E. Day faces older horses for the first time in the Gold Cup as will Belmont Stakes winner and Travers runner-up Tonalist.

V. E. Day, trained by Jimmy Jerkens for Magalen Bryant, will be ridden by Javier Castellano from post 10. The chestnut colt has won four straight races and his bankroll stands at $829,010.

Tonalist, owned by Robert S. Evans and trained by Christophe Clement, has drawn post 8 with Joel Rosario again in the saddle.

The colt has won three of six career starts, two at Belmont Park, for $1,202,000. Tonalist came into the Belmont Stakes off a four-length win in the Peter Pan Stakes on May 10 before his nose loss to V. E. Day in the Travers.

Here is the field for the Gold Cup in post position order: Micromanage, Luis Saez; Last Gunfighter, Joe Bravo; Wicked Strong, Rajiv Maragh; Zivo, Jose Lezcano; Prayer for Relief, John Velazquez; Long River; Cornelio Velasquez; Speak Logistics, Paco Lopez; Tonalist, Joel Rosario; Stephanoatsee, Jose Ortiz; V. E. Day, Javier Castellano; Moreno, Junior Alvarado and Big Cazanova, Irad Ortiz Jr.

Post time for the Gold Cup will be approximately 5:50 p.m. ET.

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