2022 Jockey Club Gold Cup Cheat Sheet: Get to Know the Horses

2022 Jockey Club Gold Cup Cheat Sheet: Get to Know the Horses

The road to the 2022 Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic makes one final stop at Saratoga Race Course Saturday, Sept. 3, as some of the best male dirt horses in training will square off in the $1.25 million Jockey Club Gold Cup.

The Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup, held at 1 ¼ miles, is a “Win and You’re In” Challenge Series qualifier for the $6 million Longines Classic Nov. 5 at Keeneland. The race winner will receive an expenses-paid berth to the Classic, which year in, year out, is the most important race in determining Eclipse Award honors for champion older dirt male and often Horse of the Year as well.

The Jockey Club Gold Cup, to be held for the 104th time in 2022, is one of the sport’s most prestigious races. It moved from its traditional home of Belmont Park to Saratoga for the first time last year, and thus became a two-turn, 1 ¼-mile race instead of 1 ½ turns in its former configuration at Belmont.

The Jockey Club Gold Cup has been won by a roll call of legends, including Man o’ War, Gallant Fox, Twenty Grand, War Admiral, Whirlaway, Citation, Hill Prince, Nashua (twice), Sword Dancer, Kelso (five times), Buckpasser, Damascus, Arts and Letters, Shuvee (twice), Forego, Exceller, Affirmed, John Henry, Slew o’ Gold (twice), Easy Goer, Cigar, Skip Away (twice), Mineshaft, Funny Cide, and Curlin (twice).

This year’s renewal drew a competitive field of horses aiming to secure a valuable win that will help them prepare for an opportunity to knock divisional leaders Flightline and Life Is Good off of their perch in the Longines Classic two months later. The Jockey Club Gold Cup will be televised nationally on NBC as part of the network’s Road to the Breeders’ Cup Series presented by America’s Best Racing.

Saratoga summer is coming to an end. But not before the famous Jockey Club Gold Cup kicks off this weekend. And with a $200 sign up bonus from NYRA Bets, the official betting partner of Saratoga Racetrack, you couldn’t be better prepared. Available in 31 states nationwide, NYRA Bets offers best-in-class HD live video and replays, online contests, exclusive player promotions, and expert picks and analysis. With an easy to use, free to download app, betting horse racing online with a $200 sign up bonus has never been easier. Download the NYRA Bets app today to get started.

Read on for information about the Jockey Club Gold Cup contenders, and check back after the race is drawn on Aug. 30 for a revised Cheat Sheet with contenders listed in post-position order and with morning-line odds added.

Americanrevolution

Jockey: Luis Saez

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Owners: China Horse Club and WinStar Farm

Career record: 9 starts – 5 wins – 1 second – 1 third

Career earnings: $1,090,310

Earnings per start: $121,146

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 120

Pedigree: Constitution – Polly Freeze, by Super Saver

Age: 4

Color: Chestnut

Running style: Press the pace/stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Despite earning more than a million dollars through nine starts, this colt has flown under the radar somewhat, possibly due being away from racing for the first half of 2022. Last year, he dominated three stakes restricted to New York-breds and broke through in a big way against Grade 1 competition on Dec. 4 with a rallying half-length win in the Cigar Mile Handicap Presented by NYRA Bets. Americanrevolution did not make his first start as a 4-year-old until June 4, when he tired late to finish fourth in the 1 1/8-mile Blame Stakes at Churchill Downs won by Dynamic One. However, he rebounded nicely in his second race off the layoff, finishing second to Olympiad in the Stephen Foster Stakes July 2 at the same track and distance. Trainer Todd Pletcher scratched Americanrevolution from the Whitney Stakes and instead pointed him to Saturday’s race which is an eighth of a mile longer, and he shapes up as a viable win candidate based on his Foster effort and his success on this track (a five-length romp in the 1 1/8-mile Albany Stakes last summer). Pletcher won the Jockey Club Gold Cup two years ago with Happy Saver; that horse finished second last year.

Bet Americanrevolution in the Jockey Club Gold Cup

Brooklyn Strong

Jockey: TBA

Trainer: Victor Barboza Jr.

Owner: Mark Schwartz

Career record: 12 starts – 3 wins – 0 seconds – 4 thirds

Career earnings: $266,080

Earnings per start: $22,173

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 104

Pedigree: Wicked Strong – Riviera Chic, by Medaglia d’Oro

Age: 4

Color: Bay

Running style: Closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: After a slam-bang start to his career when he won three out of four races including the Grade 2 Remsen Stakes in fall 2020, this gelding endured a rough 3-year-old season where he was soundly defeated in four stakes starts, and only recently has he started to recover some of his early form – emphasis on some. Brooklyn Strong was one of the early fan favorites on the 2021 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve with a fun backstory involving owner Mark Schwartz, an Empire State native who bought him for $5,000, but he finished 15th in the Derby and was no threat in his next three starts either leading up to June of this year. Resurfacing at Gulfstream Park, he ran third in a 1 1/16-mile claiming race, defeating two horses, and since then has returned to New York and finished third in two consecutive stakes races restricted to fellow state-breds. On the positive side, he did earn a career-best 104 Equibase Speed Figure in his most recent start when third to Bankit and Sea Foam in the Evan Shipman Handicap going a mile at Saratoga on Aug. 12. However, he was 3 ½ lengths behind that dueling pair and faces a significantly tougher task in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. You can’t win ’em if you aren’t in ’em, but Brooklyn Strong appears to be overmatched against this Grade 1 group.

Bet Brooklyn Strong in the Jockey Club Gold Cup

Chess Chief

Jockey: Reylu Gutierrez

Trainer: Dallas Stewart

Owner: Estate of James Coleman Jr.

Career record: 34 starts – 5 wins – 4 seconds – 5 thirds

Career earnings: $894,369

Earnings per start: $26,305

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 108

Pedigree: Into Mischief – Un Blessed, by Mineshaft

Age: 6

Color: Bay

Running style: Closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This Virginia-bred gelding is listed as a possible starter by the NYRA press office as of Aug. 28. If he does run in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, he’ll be a longshot and worthy of consideration as a superfecta filler at best. He’s raced four times this year and has been defeated by a total of 54 ¼ lengths, with his best finish coming in his most recent race on Aug. 4 against four opponents. In the 1 1/8-mile Alydar Stakes at Saratoga, Chess Chief grinded through the stretch to outfinish Mystic Night by a nose for the show spot well behind winner Art Collector and runner-up Masqueparade. Art Collector won the lucrative Charles Town Classic Stakes Aug. 26 in his subsequent start, and that gives an indication of the type of company Chess Chief has been keeping. He’s been knocking heads with some of the best older horses in training for two years going, with limited success. In fact, all five of his wins have come at Fair Grounds, most recently last December in a listed stakes. Chess Chief’s race in the Alydar was good enough for his connections to give him another shot in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, a race he finished fifth in a year ago. Repeating that against an arguably tougher field on Saturday would be quite an achievement.

Bet Chess Chief in the Jockey Club Gold Cup

Dynamic One

Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Owners: Repole Stable, Phipps Stable, and St. Elias Stable

Career record: 12 starts – 4 wins – 3 seconds – 1 third

Career earnings: $699,950

Earnings per start: $58,329

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 112

Pedigree: Union Rags – Beat the Drums, Smart Strike

Age: 4

Color: Chestnut

Running style: Stalker/closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This son of Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags has quietly put together a solid 2022 résumé, pairing game back-to-back stakes wins in his two most recent starts. After finishing third, and then second in two Grade 3 stakes to start off his 4-year-old season, Dynamic One defeated a good field in the 1 1/8-mile Blame Stakes June 2 at Churchill Downs (Americanrevolution was fourth) and then outbattled First Captain to win the Grade 2, 1 ¼-mile Suburban Stakes by a nose at Belmont Park on July 9, with Untreated third. He’s been training steadily at Saratoga since then and could be sitting on a career-best race at a track where he won the 1 1/8-mile Curlin Stakes by 1 ¾ lengths last summer. Dynamic One has a pedigree well-suited for 1 ¼ miles to compliment his Suburban win at that distance: in addition to Union Rags’ success, his second dam (maternal grandmother) is a four-time Grade 1 winner and champion Storm Flag Flying, and his third dam (maternal great-grandmother) is four-time Grade 1 winner My Flag.  If Dynamic One can bump up his current form a notch he stands a chance at the upset Saturday evening. Todd Pletcher’s lone Jockey Club Gold Cup win came two years ago with Happy Saver, who also finished second in last year’s renewal. Irad Ortiz Jr. was aboard Happy Saver in 2020 and also piloted Diversify to victory in 2017.

Bet Dynamic One in the Jockey Club Gold Cup

First Captain

Jockey: Jose Ortiz

Trainer: Shug McGaughey

Owners: West Point Thoroughbreds, Siena Farm, Bobby Flay, and Woodford Racing

Career record: 8 starts – 5 wins – 1 second – 1 third

Career earnings: $550,100

Earnings per start: $68,763

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 112

Pedigree: Curlin – America, by A.P. Indy

Age: 4

Color: Chestnut

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This royally-bred colt has been highly regarded from the beginning of his career a year and a half ago and has that “untapped potential” vibe that so often is attached to horses trained by the ever-patient Shug McGaughey. He won his first three starts as a 3-year-old in 2021, capped by a 1 ¾-length score in the one-mile Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park. He subsequently struggled when stretched out to two turns in the 1 1/8-mile Curlin Stakes at Saratoga and finished third, 8 ¾ lengths behind Dynamic One. That was First Captain’s final start of 2021, and he’s returned to maintain solid form through four starts this year with only one letdown, a last-of-seven finish in the seven-furlong Carter Handicap in April. He rebounded from that race to post a rallying head win in the 1 3/16-mile Pimlico Special Stakes on May 20 and, perhaps even more encouragingly, stretched out to a mile and a quarter and just missed winning the Grade 2 Suburban Stakes, losing by a nose to Dynamic One. These last two efforts indicate that First Captain has matured into a true two-turn racehorse, which makes him a threat to at least hit the board in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. It’s generally unwise to discount a McGaughey-trained runner in a historic race, and First Captain has been training lights out at the Spa over the past two months. Plus, he’s a son of two-time Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Curlin and out of a mare who won two stakes races at 1 1/16 miles and is from the family of blue hen mare Better Than Honour, the dam of Belmont Stakes winners Rags to Riches and Jazil. Hall of Famer McGaughey has four wins in the Jockey Club Gold Cup: Code of Honor via disqualification in 2019; Miner’s Mark in 1993; the great Easy Goer in 1989; and Vanlandingham in 1985.

Bet First Captain in the Jockey Club Gold Cup

Informative

Jockey: Dexter Haddock

Trainer: Uriah St. Lewis

Owner: Trin-Brook Stables

Career record: 35 starts – 4 wins – 3 seconds – 3 thirds

Career earnings: $527,040

Earnings per start: $15,058

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 112

Pedigree: Bodemeister – Lucky Black, by Hard Spun

Age: 5

Color: Dark bay or brown

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Co-owner and trainer Uriah St. Lewis gained national attention nearly four years ago when his 45.50-1 longshot Discreet Lover won the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park, and the Trinidad native wheels this 5-year-old campaigner back after only two weeks in an attempt to capture some of that magic again. It’s worth a try, because Informative is arguably in the best form of his active career. After losing his first two 2022 starts by a combined 31 lengths at Belmont, he shipped to Monmouth Park and ran a decent third behind Highly Motivated in the Monmouth Cup Stakes on July 23 and then posted a 1 ½-length win over that foe in the 1 1/16-mile Philip H. Iselin Stakes on Aug. 20 at odds of 14.40-1. Informative has done his best running on the Jersey Shore (also winning the Salvator Mile at Monmouth in June 2021 at 79.80-1 odds), and he’ll be making his Saratoga debut Saturday in his 36th career start. If he can replicate his effort in the Philip H. Iselin, Informative could juice up the superfecta payout, but that appears to be his ceiling. It’s hard to see him duplicating Discreet Lover’s incredible win; that horse had finished third in both the Suburban Stakes and the Whitney Stakes during summer 2018 prior to his Jockey Club Gold Cup shocker, far tougher assignments than Informative has been facing.

Bet Informative in the Jockey Club Gold Cup

Keepmeinmind

Jockey: Joel Rosario

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Owners: Cypress Creek Equine, Arnold Bennewith and Spendthrift Farm

Career record: 12 starts – 2 wins – 3 seconds – 2 thirds

Career earnings: $803,237

Earnings per start: $66,936

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 111

Pedigree: Laoban – Inclination, by Victory Gallop

Age: 4

Color: Bay

Running style: Closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: One of the most active 3-year-olds in graded stakes last year finally made his return to the track as a 4-year-old on July 22 at Saratoga for new trainer Todd Pletcher, and it was a successful comeback. Keepmeinmind started in a first-level allowance race (for horses with only one career win outside of restricted races) going 1 1/8 miles and won by an easy 2 ¾ lengths as the 4-5 favorite. After breaking his maiden in a Grade 2 stakes as a juvenile in 2020, Keepmeinmind appeared regularly in major races (including the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve, Preakness Stakes, and Runhappy Travers Stakes) through August 2021, and even though he didn’t win any of them he rounded into his best form in his final three starts of the year, coming up a half-length short of winning the Jim Dandy Stakes as he finished behind eventual champion Essential Quality. His return last month was very encouraging and, if he shows improvement in his second start off of the 11-month layoff, Keepmeinmind is a threat to hit the board Saturday. He’s a one-run closer with stamina to spare, and as such he may be hindered by what could be a modest early pace in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. Todd Pletcher won this race two years ago with Happy Saver. Joel Rosario has two Jockey Club Gold Cup wins: aboard Flat Out in 2012 and Tonalist in 2014.

Bet Keepmeinmind in the Jockey Club Gold Cup

Olympiad

Jockey: Junior Alvarado

Trainer: Bill Mott

Owners: Grandview Equine, Cheyenne Stable, and LNJ Foxwoods

Career record: 11 starts – 7 wins – 1 second – 1 third

Career earnings: $1,472,560

Earnings per start: $133,869

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 123

Pedigree: Speightstown – Tokyo Time, by Medaglia d’Oro

Age: 4

Color: Bay

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This talented and accomplished colt carries the most suspense heading into Saturday’s Jockey Club Gold Cup, returning after a very uncharacteristic dull effort in the Whitney Stakes on Aug. 6. He entered that 1 1/8-mile, Grade 1 stakes on a five-race winning streak where he had not been challenged, with his two most recent wins coming over Happy Saver in the 1 1/16-mile Alysheba Stakes Presented by Sentient Jet May 6 at Churchill Downs and over Americanrevolution in the Stephen Foster Stakes going 1 1/8 miles July 2 at Churchill as well. Sent off as the 1.85-1 second betting choice behind Life Is Good in the Whitney, Olympiad stalked the pace while racing wide through both turns but had absolutely nothing to offer at the top of the stretch. He finished fourth, 9 ¼ lengths behind Life Is Good and 7 ¼ lengths behind runner-up Happy Saver. Needless to say, he’ll need to recover the elite form he displayed prior to the Whitney to have a chance at winning his first Grade 1, and that’s certainly not an impossible task – Life Is Good is not running in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, after all. In his five-win streak, Olympiad sat within striking range of the early leader and took over at will coming into the homestretch. Look for regular rider Junior Alvarado to attempt a similar trip Saturday. Bill Mott has won three editions of the Jockey Club Gold Cup; with the legendary Cigar in 1995 and then back-to-back with Flat Out in 2012 and Ron the Greek in 2013.

Bet Olympiad in the Jockey Club Gold Cup

Tax

Jockey: Kendrick Carmouche

Trainer: Danny Gargan

Owners: R. A. Hill Stable and Danny Gargan

Career record: 15 starts – 5 wins – 3 seconds – 1 third

Career earnings: $1,042,060

Earnings per start: $69,471

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 113

Pedigree: Arch – Toll, by Giant’s Causeway

Age: 6

Color: Dark bay or brown

Running style: Pacesetter/press the pace

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Tax returned after a layoff of more than 15 months July 9 in the 1 1/16-mile Battery Park Stakes at Delaware Park, and he validated his 1.90-1 favorite status with an impressive, two-length gate-to-wire win. After a successful 3-year-old campaign in 2019 where he won the Jim Dandy Stakes and Withers Stakes and finished second in the Wood Memorial Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets, Tax has only raced five times while dealing with several injuries. This gelding has put together a fine career since Gargan astutely claimed him out of his second start back in 2018, however, and he profiles as an intriguing longshot contender in Jockey Club Gold Cup who should not be overlooked in exotic wagers. He’s already proven an affinity for the Spa, having won the 2019 Jim Dandy by three-quarters of a length over Tacitus, and he’s been training well on this track since his Delaware Park win, posting a four-furlong drill in :48.70 Aug. 27, second-fastest of 31 training at that distance on that day. He could also be the controlling speed in Saturday’s race, and gets good pace rider Kendrick Carmouche back aboard after they teamed up in the Battery Park. Tax has not shown much in his three starts longer than 1 1/8 miles, although he did finish fourth by 2 ¾ lengths in the 2019 Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets. Look for Tax to be a pace factor at the very least, and he could secure a spot in the exacta or trifecta with a career-best effort.

Bet Tax in the Jockey Club Gold Cup

Untreated

Jockey: TBA

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Owner: Team Valor International

Career record: 9 starts – 3 wins – 1 second – 2 thirds

Career earnings: $223,600

Earnings per start: $24,844

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 111

Pedigree: Nyquist – Fully Living, by Unbridled’s Song

Age: 4

Color: Bay

Running style: Press the pace/stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Untreated does not carry the same graded stakes credentials as trainer Todd Pletcher’s other entrants in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, but he’s put together a solid 4-year-old season. This Nyquist colt won three of five starts in 2021, including his last two at Aqueduct, and then after a no-show sixth in his 2022 stakes debut at Fair Grounds he’s been knocking on the door in three consecutive stakes. He nearly won the 1 1/8-mile Excelsior Stakes April 2 at Aqueduct, yielding by a head to Forewarned at the finish. Untreated then checked in third in both the 1 3/16-mile Pimlico Special Stakes May 20, won by First Captain, and the 1 ½-mile Suburban Stakes July 9 at Belmont Park. After setting the early fractions in a five-horse field, he fought all the way through the stretch when challenged in the Suburban and was defeated by only three-quarters of a length as Dynamic One nosed out First Captain. Untreated moved out quickly to secure the lead in both the Pimlico Special and the Suburban, and he’s a good bet to do it again. However, he’s not a “rabbit,” i.e., a horse entered in a race to ensure a quick pace that will help his stablemates rally late to win. If he can maintain his current form, Untreated could juice up exotic payouts with a strong effort and some racing luck. Pletcher has three chances Saturday to pick up his second Jockey Club Gold Cup win; Happy Saver won this race in 2019.

Bet Untreated in the Jockey Club Gold Cup