Purses of $1,000,000 and up generally get the attention of a ton of owners and trainers, but in the case of the Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes this Saturday, only six have decided to try their hand at the mile and a quarter run at Belmont Park, knowing that the Breeders' Cup is right around the corner.
1: Wicked Strong 6/1
2: Coach Inge 5/1
3: Constitution 3/1
4: Effinex 6/1
5: Looks to Spare 30/1
6: Tonalist 6/5
An interesting field for sure, one which is made more notable by the fact that there isn't an odds-on favorite amongst the six. That's a surprise for a race of this caliber in a field of this side, though clearly, Tonalist still has a shot of going off as an odds on favorite when this field goes to post on Saturday.
Looks to Spare is the only horse in this group which is not four years old, and he's also the only one who is greater than 6 to 1. That 30 to 1 price is definitely indicative of a colt who has an owner that hopes to finish in the money to steal a big prize against a short field.
FAVORITE TO FOLLOW
It's all about Tonalist on Saturday at the Gold Cup. Johnny Velazquez has ridden this colt incredibly well over the course of the last few months, though the fact of the matter is that he hasn't won a race in his last three. Beyer Speed Ratings are generally a great indication of what we can expect out of a colt though, and it's tough to argue with a horse which has posted 108, 110, 105, 106, 105 and 105 over the course of the last calendar year.
Tonalist though, has had his flaws. He's been beaten by both Effinex and Wicked Strong in his career, both of which are in this field, and the fact that he hasn't been on the track in two months has to be concerning as well.
UNDERDOG TO WATCH
Effinex seems to really love this track for some reason. He hasn't raced all that well at the other New York tracks, but his best career run came here at Belmont Park when he bested both Tonalist and Coach Inge at the Suburban Handicap in July. For his career, Effinex has two wins and two shows in seven tries, and he has earned over half of his career earnings in those races.
Effinex has the best all-time dirt speed of any horse in this field at a 110 Beyer from that run at the Suburban, and that can't be forgotten when handicapping this race.
ANALYSIS AND PREDICTION
The start of this race is going to be relatively easy to forecast, knowing that there are three big starters and three horses who love to run from off the pace. Constitution is probably going to lead them all into the backstretch, but there's where things could get interesting.
We definitely could see this playing out with Constitution, an underrated horse for sure, going wire-to-wire. Wicked Strong will have his say in the final furlong, as will Tonalist. The layoff is all that is keeping us off of the favorite in this one, and we think that the last laugh will be had by Effinex, who will storm to a close-run victory with a late move.
Play Effinex to win the Jockey Gold Cup Stakes
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