Saturday is $ 1 million Jockey Club Derby Invitational is the third race in the Turf Trinity series to be run over the summer on the NYRA tracks. The first two legs were won by European runners; The Bolshoi Ballet took the Belmont Derby (G1) for Aidan O’Brien and the State of Rest was the winner of the Saratoga Derby (G1) for Joseph O’Brien.
The Jockey Club Derby at Belmont Park is for 3-year-olds only and runs 1 1/2 miles on the Widener (outer) grass field. This year, the race gives a wind-and-you-in-place in the $ 4 million Breeders’ Cup Turf in Del Mar on November 6th.
Here is a full-field analysis for the Jockey Club Derby, which was rated as race 10 out of 11, with odds provided by Horse Race Nation staff.
1. Tango Tango Tango (15-1 – Tourist – Jack Sisterson / Flavien Prat -5: 1-2-1- $ 134,491) This Kentucky-bred man woke up when he was switched to grass by coach Jack Sisterson. He was a good buy of Calumet Farm for $ 35,000 as an annual. He was second as a virgin in his first attempt at the grass at Ellis Park and then came back to win the American derby at Arlington Park as a virgin. In Bruce D. (G1) last month, he had the lead at the stretch call with a header and finished second after drifting in the stretch and being bumped. He ran with Lasix in all five starts but will not be able to do so at Belmont and will have to stretch out to the 1 1/2-mile distance. Use below.
2. Send (DK) (3-1 – Dubawi (IRE) – Charlie Appleby / Jamie Spencer -10: 4-1-2- $ 280,580) Yibir became a Group 2 winner in his most recent start in York while running the 12-foot distance to the Jockey Club Derby. Owned and bred by Godolphin Stable and trained by Charlie Appleby, he took control of the race a long way from goal. Yibir also won a Group 3 at Newmarket in July in a similar fashion. European horses won the first two legs of NYRA’s Turf Triple, and it makes him beat the horse. Top choice.
3. Tokyo gold (FR) (5-1 – Kendargent (FR) – Satoshi Kobayashi / John Velazquez -8: 3-2-1- $ 603,472) Tokyo Gold was taken at the back of the field in the Belmont Derby and then rallied to finish in second place at odds 16-1 just a neck in front of the show horse. He came to Belmont Park after a victory in the Derby Italiano (G2) in Italy after driving in France the rest of his starts. Win candidate.
4. Soldier rises (DK) (5-1 – Frankel (GB) – Christophe Clemente / Irad Ortiz Jr. -5: 2-3-0- $ 239,070) Soldier Rising began his career in France, where he was deployed at Longchamps. After this race, he was sent to the United States to Christophe Clement and gathered from 10th to finish in second place in the Saratoga Derby (G1). We know that this son of Frankel can compete at this distance. He has been training steadily since his last start with his most recent work at Belmont. In five career starts, he finished no worse than second place. Win candidate.
5. Step dancing (15-1 – War dancers – Barclay Tag / Dylan Davis -7: 3-1-2- $ 219,800) This New York racer won a state-bred effort in Saratoga that walked a flat mile on the grass by a neck after a strong race. Last year as a 2-year-old he had success against open company in stakes races at Belmont, while he was third in pilgrimage (G2) and then won Awad. Like others in this field, Step Dancer will have to run this long distance for the first time. Use in exotics.
6. Experienced (12-1 – Temple City – Jonathan Thomas / Jose ortiz -3: 1-1-0- $ 50,300) This easy-going home breed was a debut winner on the grass in Delaware Park and then finished second in the Bald Eagle Derby at Pimlico in July. The most recent start of the experience was in the Virginia Derby (G3), where he ran fifth as the favorite after making the ground. The son of Temple City was the favorite in all his starts, as coach Jonathan Thomas’ runners often attract a lot of action at the betting windows. Throw away.
7. Slicked back (6-1 – Quality road – Brad Cox / Luis Saez -4: 2-1-0- $ 90,850) Slicked Back ran well in both of his grass runs. He won an indemnity at the Indiana Grand for coach Brad Cox and then sent to the Colonial Downs to finish in the spot position in the Virginia Derby (G3). In Virginia, Slicked Back had to find a path through the traffic at the top of the stretch and could then collect when he was free on the outside at odds of 12-1. Live long shots.
8. Bolshoi ballet (IRE) (2-1 – Galileo (IRE) – Aidan O’Brien / Ryan Moore -8: 4-0-1- $ 703,454) The Bolshoi Ballet is the only horse in the field to run in the first two legs of Turf Trinity. In the Belmont Derby on a grass field that was marked good, he took control of the race with a long walk to go after a late race and was a convincing winner as the favorite with equal money. A month later on solid grass at Saratoga, he pushed the pace and weakened the stretch. It will be interesting to see if Ryan Moore makes a final run or stays close to the pace. No doubt the Bolshoi Ballet will be the favorite as they try to win another million dollar purse. Win candidate.
Summary: The Europeans have dominated Turf Trinity and won the first two legs this year and the first Jockey Club Derby last year. It gets Yibir, Bolshoi Ballet and Tokyo Gold to team up with Soldier Rising, who made his U.S. debut for Christophe Clement in the Saratoga Derby.
Among the American runners, Tango Tango Tango had a remarkable second in Bruce D. at Arlington Park and Slicked Back overcame traffic problems in the Virginia Derby and also came in second. These two may be worth spending down in the trifecta with better odds, though it is possible that the euro will sweep the top three spots.