Cape Blanco on track for Breeders’ Cup Turf

Galileo colt Cape Blanco headlined a Group 1 card in New York on Saturday with a narrow win in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (2400m) at Belmont.

Cape Blanco (4c Galileo – Laurel Delight by Presidium) kept his unbeaten record in North America alive with a head-bobbing victory over Dean’s Kitten (Kitten’s Joy).  They finished 8 lengths clear of third home Grassy (El Prado).

Cape Blanco (Ire) completed a hat-trick at Group 1 level after wins in the Man o’ War at Belmont and G1 Arlington Million in Chicago.  The Breeders’ Cup Turf will be his final target of the year at Churchill Downs in November.

“He’s a tenacious horse and tries very hard,” jockey Jamie Spencer noted.  “His heart won it in the end.  Whenever you ask him, he always finds more.

The chestnut was unbeaten as a juvenile and continued his winning streak at three in last year’s G2 Dante Stakes when he defeated eventual English Derby and Arc de Triomphe winner Workforce.

Cape Blanco was beaten in the French Derby but rebounded to win the Irish Derby and then added the Irish Champion by five lengths.

Cape Blanco is owned by Coolmore in partnership with Dubai businessman Jim Hay who bought a share in the colt earlier this year.  He was sold for 330,000 euros as a yearling at the Goffs Orby Sale and is a half-brother to G2 winner Mr O’Brien (Mukaddamah).  Their dam Laurel Delight is herself a half-sister to G2 sprint star Paris House (Petong).

In other Breeders’ Cup trial at Belmont, Stacelita (Monsun) scored a two length victory in the G1 Flower Bowl Invitational.  She was coming off a last start victory in the Beverly D. Stakes and has only been beaten once since arriving from Europe where she was a G1 winner of the 2009 French Oaks, Prix Saint-Alary and Prix Vermeille.

Giant Ryan (Freud) won the Vosburgh Stakes and is on track for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint in a return clash with Vosburgh runner-up Force Freeze.

Flat Out (Flatter) was a decisive winner of the Jockey Club Gold Cup.  He defeated 2010 Belmont Stakes winner Drosselmeyer (Distorted Humor) and last start Travers Stakes winner Stay Thirsty (Bernardini).

Havre De Grace (Saint Liam) was an 8 length winner of the G1 Beldame Stakes and is now firmly in the running for Horse of the Year honours.  Trainer Larry Jones said she would likely target the Breeders’ Cup Classic instead of the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic.

Champion colt Uncle Mo (Indian Charlie) spreadeagled older rivals in the G2 Kelso Hcp and is now nominal favourite for either the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile or Breeders’ Cup Classic.