Jockey Club Gold Cup Analysis (09/27/14)

The 95th Grade I $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup is run at 10 furlongs for three year olds and up. It is part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge Series (where the winning horse gets his entry into the Breeders' Cup and travel expenses paid - read more about the value of winning a Breeders' Cup Challenge Race). The race will air live on NBC Sports Network with a post time of 5:50pm EST.

There is a full-field of 12 runners in the Gold Cup, a rarity in horse racing, let alone in such a prolific Breeders' Cup prep race. There are three 3 year-olds competing in the race including the winner of the Belmont, Travers and Jim Dandy.

Due to the size of the field and range of Pace Figures between the starters, this edition of the Predicteform Race Analysis will feature just the top three competitors as seen by their Pace Figures.

Get the Pace Figures and Brisnet Past Performances for the Jockey Club Gold Cup.

#3 Wicked Strong (3-1)

Here's what we had to say prior to the Travers

"Turning to his Pace Figures, his last four final figures have been 80.3, 76.7, 76.6 and 76.8 most recently. The 80.3 which won the Wood Memorial (big Derby prep) was a huge lifetime top, so regression to 76.7 was not unexpected. What was unexpected are his last two efforts and the continuation of final figures around 77. This consistency combined with his 71 four furlong should keep him close enough to front end in this 10 furlong route. The Play: Contender – Forward progress is more expected than regression which put him as the top value at 3:1 odds or better."

He ran to our expected form in the Travers posting a 77.4/71.4, in line with his previous figures and very likely what you could expect in here. Two weeks rest after the race followed by three evenly spaced weekly works supports the notion.

They Play - Fringe Contender: Stalking style of running with consistent figures put him right in the hunt, a slight knock for losing the lead in the Travers after drawing clear.

#4 Zivo (6-1)

Here's what we had to say about Zivo prior to the Woodward.

"We were not surprised to see Zivo run well in the Suburban as he was coming into the race on a NPT (New Pace Top is the fastest 4f figure combined with a final figure that is close to a lifetime top without going over). What is interesting to note was his 78.0/59.5 (final/4f) in the Suburban. He ran a SOFT Form Cycle Pattern (when a dirt horse wins a race with final and 4f figures below its most recent effort). In this case, the pattern can be somewhat misleading as the final figures were about the same 78 and 79, while the 4f figures went from 71.7 to 59. This decrease of 12 points was attributable to the very fast 4 furlong time of 46.4 with a bunch of horses competing for the lead in a 10 furlong race. The Play: Fringe Contender – This strong closer shortens up to 9 furlongs for his first try in Grade 1 competition. He should have value if he can stay above the 5:1 mark".

Zivo not only went off at short odds (reducing his value) but regressed a couple points as well while running a 75.7/64.4. This is his second race following a SOFT Form Cycle Pattern - on both prior occasions (looking at the second race following a SOFT Pattern), there was a significant forward move of six points. Even cutting that 6 point improvement in half, we could see Zivo progress to a final figure in the high 70's.

The Play: Contender - Race shapes up with enough speed, giving him a chance to come off the pace. Stretch out to 10 furlongs can only help as well as inside post.

#8 Tonalist (4-1)

Here's what we had to say about Tonalist prior to the Travers.

"Tonalist is one of those rare horses who until his last start had a Form Cycle Pattern each race of his life. The Jim Dandy was a short field of six with really two other competitors in Wicked Strong and Kid Cruz. He raced well enough posting a 75.8/68.9, though it was regression of 1.5 points as compared to his two previous efforts. Visually speaking, he lacked that superb kick he showed previously and comes into this race off two average works with even spacing. The Play: Regressor – One of three runners who has won at the Grade I level, he will take a fair amount of action on the tote board. That being said, the most recent tail-off and lack of kick seems to indicate a runner who could be on a slight Form Cycle regression and at short odds, the value is not there."

As expected, the value wasn't there in the Travers and he did not finish in the top two. However, he did finish third while actually improving his final figure slightly and enough so with his 4f figure to generate a New Pace Top Form Cycle Pattern (New Pace Top signifies a runner who ran its fastest 4f figure while not setting a clear max final figure, a strong pattern for forward success).

The Play: Contender - his style fits this race as he can be close to the lead without needing to be on top. His last final figure in the Travers was sneaky improvement even though he could not make up lengths in the deep stretch.


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