Summer Bird schools in advance of Jockey Club
Although Quality Road is based at Belmont Park, the Jockey Club Gold Cup will be his first race over the oval.
"He's run well everywhere he's raced -- Aqueduct, Gulfstream Park, and Saratoga -- so I don't think it's going to make a difference one way or another," Pletcher said. "We're hoping for fast conditions, and we're ready to go."
Pletcher added that both CAPTAIN'S LOVER (SAf) (Captain Al) and UNBRIDLED BELLE (Broken Vow) will be in the $600,000 Beldame S. (G1).
"We like the way (Captain's Lover) breezed on dirt and like the way she came out of it," he said. "The options were to keep her here or ship to Keeneland and run on a synthetic surface, so we figured we'd take what's in front of us."
Pletcher will also be saddling Michael Tabor's MUNNINGS (Speightstown) on Saturday in the $400,000 Vosburgh S. (G1). The three-year-old has been no worse than third in five starts this year, most recently finishing third as the favorite in the King's Bishop S. (G1).
"He's been very consistent all year," Pletcher said. "He ran hard in the King's Bishop and Haskell (Invitational [G1]) on a surface he really didn't care for. We're hoping for him that it doesn't rain."
Following a victory this year in the Stephen Foster H. (G1) at Churchill Downs and an epic confrontation with Rachel Alexandra (Medaglia d'Oro) in the Woodward at Saratoga, Macho Again has proven to be one of the top handicap runners in the country.
"He's a top horse, championship caliber," trainer Dallas Stewart said. "We plan to ship in tomorrow (Thursday). We're looking forward to running."
After a head loss to Rachel Alexandra in a thrilling Woodward, Stewart knows how his four-year-old stacks up against the cream of the three-year-old division, but he did not want to make any predictions about facing Quality Road and Summer Bird.
"We'll just see," said Stewart, who has worked Macho Again just once since the Woodward. "You're talking about the Belmont and Travers winner."
ASIATIC BOY (Arg) (Not for Sale) will be making his fourth American start in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, having finished second in the Stephen Foster and the Suburban H. (G2) and fourth to Rachel Alexandra in the Woodward in his most recent start.
"He's a neat horse, a nice horse," trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said of the six-year-old. "The weights have not been in his favor the last couple of races, and he's been a notch below those who have been beating him. But he's deserving of a chance."
McLaughlin had considered entering Grade 3 winner ETCHED (Forestry) in the race as well but elected to send him to the Meadowlands Cup (G2) on October 16 instead. The trainer added that stakes victor KEEP LAUGHING (Distorted Humor), seventh in the Forego S. (G1), remained possible for the Vosburgh.
"We'll see how the entries go tomorrow," McLaughlin said.
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