May 18, 2024

Happy Saver, Mystic Guide face Tacitus in Jockey Club Gold Cup; Brown runners highlight Flower Bowl, Sands Point

Happy Saver wins the Tesio Stakes 2020
Happy Saver winning the Federico Tesio Stakes (Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club)

Federico Tesio S. winner Happy Saver and Jim Dandy (G2) victor Mystic Guide bypassed the Preakness (G1) in favor of Saturday’s $250,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1), and the 3-year-olds will face multiple Grade 2 scorer Tacitus in their first test against older horses.

The 1 1/4-mile Gold Cup, a “Win & You’re In” for the Nov. 7 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Keeneland, drew five runners.

Belmont Park will also feature the $250,000 Flower Bowl (G1) and $150,000 Sands Point (G2) among its five stakes offerings on Saturday’s 11-race card.

The Flower Bowl, a 1 1/4-mile inner turf test that will guarantee an expenses-paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1), is led by the Brown trio of Cambier Parc, My Sister Nat, and Nay Lady Nay.

Eight sophomore fillies are set for the Sands Point at a mile on the Widener turf, including Selflessly and Tamahere from the Brown barn.

Jockey Club Gold Cup

Tacitus, an 8 3/4-length winner of the July 4 Suburban (G2) at Belmont and second most recently as the 3-5 favorite in the Sept. 5 Woodward (G1) at Saratoga, is the likely favorite for Juddmonte Farms and Bill Mott. Five times Grade 1-placed, including a third in last year’s Gold Cup, the 4-year-old has earned more than $1.9 million from 12 career starts, and Jose Ortiz will be back up on the gray colt.

Happy Saver is unbeaten from three starts. Trained by Todd Pletcher, the Super Saver colt easily captured his first two starts this summer, taking a 7-furlong maiden at Belmont Park in mid-June and a 1 1/8-mile entry-level allowance at Saratoga five weeks later, before rallying from just off the pace to post a 1 1/2-length decision in the Sept. 7 Federico Tesio at Laurel Park. Irad Ortiz Jr. rides.

Mystic Guide has a pair of stakes attempts to his credit, finishing third in the Peter Pan (G3) before closing to win the Sept. 5 Jim Dandy going away by about a length. John Velazquez will be up on the promising son of Ghostzapper for Michael Stidham.

Woodward third-placer Prioritize and Grade 3 winner Name Changer complete the field.

Flower Bowl

Cambier Parc, who concluded last year with back-to-back wins in the Del Mar Oaks (G1) and Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1), is eligible to improve in her second start at age 4. Medaglia d’Oro filly wound up second in the Sept. 12 Canadian (G2) when returning from an 11-month layoff, and Velazquez will be back up for Brown after missing the Canadian.

Nay Lady Nay is eligible to compete for favoritism with her stablemate in the seven-horse field. An Irish-bred daughter of No Nay Never, the Grade 2 winner posted a nice win in the Matchmaker (G3) at Monmouth before romping in the Sept. 7 All Along S. at Laurel Park, and the 4-year-old has captured four of her last five outings. Irad Ortiz has the call.

My Sister Nat earned her first U.S. stakes win when taking the Waya (G3) two back, and the confirmed closer exits a runner-up in the Sept. 6 Glens Falls (G2) at Saratoga. The 5-year-old mare retains Jose Ortiz.

Glens Falls winner Civil Union, a lightly-raced 5-year-old who has won three straight for Shug McGaughey, is also entered. Joel Rosario will guide the War Front mare. Tom Albertrani will send out Beau Belle and Lovely Lucky, the respective third- and fourth-place finishers in the Glens Falls.

Sands Point

Tamahere, who earned her first stakes tally when posting a 7 1/2-length score in France on June 20, will make her U.S. debut for Brown. The French-bred daughter of Wooten Bassett adds first-time Lasix and Irad Ortiz. Selflessly seeks a second straight graded triumph after recording a 14-1 upset in the Aug. 28 Lake George (G2) at Saratoga, and the More Than Ready filly adds Jose Ortiz.

Other contenders include Lake Placid (G2) winner Speaktomeofsummer, a rallying fourth most recently after a troubled trip in the Aug. 16 Saratoga Oaks; multiple stakes vixen Miss J McKay, who exits a runner-up in the Sept. 15 Music City S. at Kentucky Downs; and last-out allowance scorer Giacosa.