Flat Out made his first win of the year a big one, edging Stay Thirsty in the final strides to take the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup on Saturday at Belmont Park in New York.
Flat Out won the Gold Cup last year, but was 0 for 6 until overtaking Stay Thirsty two jumps from the finish to give trainer Bill Mott his second Grade 1 victory on a day that featured six graded stakes races. The winning horses in the six stakes races earned automatic berths in the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita on Nov. 2-3.
Earlier, Mott’s 4-5 favorite Royal Delta beat rival It’s Tricky by 9½ lengths in the $400,000 Beldame Invitational.
In other stakes races at Belmont, The Lumber Guy won the $400,000 Vosburgh by 1¼ lengths over Caixa Eletronica; Nahrain won the $600,000 Flower Bowl by a half-length over Zagora; Point of Entry scored a 1¾-length win over Treasure Beach in the $600,000 Joe Hirsch; and Jersey Town was an upset winner in the $400,000 Kelso Handicap.
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Game On Dude returned to the winner’s circle under new jockey Rafael Bejarano, taking the Awesome Again Stakes by 3¼ lengths at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif.
Game On Dude earned an automatic berth in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, a race he finished second in last year at Churchill Downs.
The victory capped a stellar day for Bob Baffert and Bejarano, who teamed to win three of the five Grade 1 stakes worth $250,000 each, with Breeders’ Cup berths awarded to all the winners. Bejarano won the $70,000-added Unzip Me Stakes in the finale.
In the other stakes, Executiveprivilege improved to 5-0 with a 6¼-length victory in the Chandelier Stakes for 2-year-old fillies; Power Broker won for the first time in four starts, surging through the stretch under Bejarano to capture the FrontRunner Stakes for 2-year-olds by 6½ lengths; Love and Pride won the Zenyatta Stakes by 3¼ lengths for trainer Todd Pletcher, who shipped the filly in from New York to get familiar with Santa Anita before the Breeders’ Cup; Marketing Mix, a 4-year-old filly, and Garrett Gomez won the Rodeo Drive Stakes by 2¼ lengths on the turf for trainer Tom Proctor.