April 19, 2019

Lawyer Ron takes case to the Jockey Club Gold Cup

Last updated: 9/28/07 8:33 PM

Lawyer Ron will continue arguing his case for Horse of the Year honors in the Gold Cup
(Joseph DiOrio/Horsephotos.com)

Horse of the Year contender LAWYER RON (Langfuhr), a spectacular winner of
the Whitney H. (G1) and Woodward S. (G1) this summer, will pursue another major
prize when he heads to the starting gate in Sunday’s $750,000 Jockey Club Gold
Cup S. (G1) at Belmont Park. Seven runners will contest the 1 1/4-mile event,
including Preakness S. (G1) victor CURLIN (Smart Strike), who will make his
first start against older horses.

A nine-time stakes winner, Lawyer Ron will be seeking his first victory at 10
furlongs. The four-year-old colt exits an 8 1/4-length romp in the September 1
Woodward and established a new track record at Saratoga (1:46.64) when capturing
the nine-furlong Whitney by 4 3/4 lengths in late July. If Lawyer Ron records another impressive tally in the Gold Cup, he’ll stamp himself as the horse to
beat in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) on October 27.

“Anytime you have a horse set a track record at Saratoga going a mile and an
eighth, that’s pretty special stuff,” conditioner Todd Pletcher said. “To think
no horse has ever shaded 1:47 for a mile and an eighth (at Saratoga) — he’s the
only one to do it. His Whitney was a breakthrough performance, and I think he’s
taken his game to a new level. He backed up the Whitney with another good one in
the Woodward. Looking at those efforts, I think he’s established himself as the
best older horse in the country.”

Lawyer Ron is bidding to become the fourth horse ever to sweep the Whitney,
Woodward and Gold Cup in the same season. The chestnut will join the ranks of
Kelso, Slew o’ Gold and Easy Goer with the elusive trifecta.

The Gold Cup is the last leg of a $400,000 all-stakes, guaranteed Pick 4
along with the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational (G1), Beldame (G1) and Vosburgh
(G1). All four stakes are part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In”
series, meaning each race winner automatically qualifies for the respective races at
the Breeders Cup at Monmouth Park.

Curlin will attempt to make amends for a disappointing third as the 4-5
favorite in the Haskell Invitational S. (G1). Prior to that, he recorded an
excellent head victory over Street Sense (Street Cry [Ire]) in the Preakness and
finished second by a head in the Belmont S. (G1). The chestnut colt didn’t make
his career debut until February and has compiled a 4-1-2 mark from seven career
starts. Regular rider Robby Albarado will be up.

“His Haskell was disappointing,” said Steve Blasi, assistant to trainer Steve
Asmussen. “I don’t think there’s something you can really put your finger on,
but the Belmont Stakes was a tough race on him. These days he just seems a lot
sharper than he was going into the (Haskell). He’s going to need to be sharp
because Lawyer Ron’s a great horse.”

Suburban H. (G1) hero POLITICAL FORCE (Unbridled’s Song) and $2.1-million
earner SUN KING (Charismatic) are also in the line-up. Political Force recorded
a good second in the Metropolitan Mile H. (G1) prior to his Suburban score and
likes the main track at Belmont, posting a 2-3-1 mark from six attempts. The
Allen Jerkens charge has never run well at Saratoga, so the gray colt’s fifth in
the Woodward last time can be overlooked. Sun King rallied for runner-up honors
behind Lawyer Ron in the Woodward, and the Nick Zito trainee placed in the 2005
Gold Cup as a three-year-old.

Oaklawn H. (G2) runner-up BROTHER BOBBY (Out of Place) will lead the post
parade under Stewart Elliott. Next comes Sun King, Alan Garcia; Political Force,
Cornelio Velasquez; Suburban third-placer MALIBU MOONSHINE (Malibu Moon),
Channing Hill; Curlin; Lawyer Ron, John Velazquez; and multiple stakes victor
INDY WIND (A.P. Indy), Rafael Bejarano.

Each starter will carry 126 pounds except Curlin, who gets a four-pound weight
break from his elders.