- Tom Albertrani says that he prefers 'freshness' to 'tested' for Bernardini going into the Classic, and he may (or may not) get his wish with Saturday's four horse field, the smallest for the Jockey Club Gold Cup since Waquoit beat three horses in 1988. No Invasor, but Wanderin Boy plays the role of 'Invasor Light.' Zito's horse has a similar style to the missing Uruguayan star, but his figs have been on a steady downturn since he romped over the Keeneland track during the spring, and his ability to go beyond nine furlongs is in question. While he adds an element of speed, it would be shocking if he turned out to be anything but a target for Bernardini here.
The wild card, of course, is Dylan Thomas. I was told that NYRA is trying to market the race as the equine equivalent of the Ryder Cup. But does anyone even know (or care) what the Ryder Cup is? Man, are they grasping for straws, or what? In fact, there are five Grade 1's on the card, and I can tell you that virtually nobody in this city, which has both of its baseball teams in the playoffs (and the Yanks in action at 4 PM, possibly facing elimination), could possibly care less. Add in the expected blustery day, with temps expected to barely break the 60 degree mark, and it will seem like it's been months since Saratoga.
Coolmore's Michael Tabor told the Independent's Chris McGrath of Dylan Thomas' prospects for the Gold Cup:
"As with George Washington at Goodwood, Saturday will not be this horse's Derby. Obviously you hope to win, but the main thing is you're training an athlete and the priority is to have him cherry-ripe on the big day."Albertrani expressed some dismay at drawing the rail, telling the Form:
Tabor revealed that the door is open for Dylan Thomas to return to familiar ground in the Breeders' Cup Turf should he fail to convince on Saturday. That race had been on the agenda for Hurricane Run, but he is now likely to run in the Emirates Champion Stakes at Newmarket. "For Dylan Thomas, this is a test to see whether he acts on dirt," Tabor said. "We haven't had the best experiences with Danehills [offspring] on that surface, but if he can do himself justice he'd go on to the Classic."
"I was hoping to be on the outside of Wanderin Boy. This way he could jump out and do what he wanted to do. He looks like he's a front-runner, anyway. If Bernardini breaks sharp, I wouldn't want him to be chasing after [Wanderin Boy] or be head and head."But the trainer also told Gary West of the Star Telegram: "He's giving us every indication that he's at the same level he was going into the Travers," and if that's the case, then Wanderin Boy is nothing but a middling test at best, and if he turns out to be more than that, well...
Dylan Thomas' trainer Aiden O'Brien told the Louisville Courier-Journal that the colt has great tactical speed. On the turf, anyway.
"Sometimes when we go to the dirt we lose too much ground at the start....They have to make too much of an effort to get into a challenging position, and when they get into it they have to use their reserves."- The Vosburgh comes up short too, with just five entrants. Henny Hughes looks to really be up against it against Silver Train. The latter will be on his beloved home field, and looks as imposing as the