September 27, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) Tonalist won the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup on Saturday at Belmont Park.

It was a triumphant return for the 3-year-old to his favorite track. He is 3 for 3 at Belmont, including the victory in the Belmont Stakes that denied California Chrome the Triple Crown.

The Gold Cup was a Breeders' Cup ''Win and You're In'' stakes, guaranteeing Tonalist a berth in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic on Nov. 1 at Santa Anita.

Tonalist, the 3-1 favorite, beat Zivo by 1 3/4 lengths with Long River third.

Moreno finished fourth but was disqualified and placed last for abruptly veering into the path of Wicked Strong on the final turn.

Wicked Strong stumbled, unseating Rajiv Maragh who was taken to a local hospital for X-rays of his right arm.

Wicked Strong ran on riderless, avoiding contact with other horses and was eventually caught by an outrider.

Tonalist, winless in two races at Saratoga since his Belmont Stakes victory, raced well off the pace in the 1 1/4-mile Gold Cup. At the urging of Joel Rosario, Tonalist picked up the tempo with a strong inside move around the last turn.

Rosario briefly considered moving between rivals in the lane but wisely opted for the safer path by angling off the fence. Once free, Tonalist surged to the front for his fourth victory in eight starts.

''He's a one-paced horse and when he gets going, he goes forever,'' Rosario said.

The victory was worth $600,000 for owner Robert S. Evans. Tonalist, trained by Christophe Clement, ranks as one of the favorites for the Breeders' Cup Classic. Removing the blinkers, which restrict a horse's field of vision, might have been the key to the Gold Cup victory.

''Tonalist doesn't need the blinkers,'' Clement said. ''I should have realized before that he was more mature.''

Tonalist paid $8.10, $4.30 and $3.40. Zivo returned $5.10 and $3.80, and Long River, a 52-1 outsider, paid $17.40 to win. The time was 2:02.12 on the fast track.

Zivo ran well enough to have trainer Chad Brown also thinking about the Breeders' Cup.

''I'd love to take him to the Classic,'' Brown said. ''I think he fits. I feel we have one of the better older handicap horses.''

In the other Breeders' Cup ''Win and You're In'' stakes at Belmont, Stephanie's Kitten picked the right time to get her first victory of the season in the $600,000 Flower Bowl for fillies and mares on the turf, and earn a spot in the $2 million Filly & Mares Turf.

The 6-5 favorite, Stephanie's Kitten beat Abaco by 1 1/4 lengths. John Velazquez rode for trainer Chad Brown as she covered the 1 1/4 miles in 2:01.15, paying $4.40 to win.

Main Sequence extended his winning streak in the U.S. to three in the $600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic. Main Sequence edged Twilight Eclipse by a neck and survived a claim of foul alleging interference right before the finish lodged by Jose Lezcano aboard the runner-up. Maragh rode the winner for trainer Graham Motion.

Main Sequence had already earned a berth in the Breeders' Cup Turf with his victory in the United Nations Stakes at Monmouth Park.

Main Sequence paid $5.90 to win as he ran the 1 1/2 miles in 2:26.32.

Private Zone is heading back to the Breeders' Cup Sprint after a repeat victory in the $400,000 Vosburgh. He ran 10th in the BC Sprint last year after contesting the early pace.

Regular rider Martin Pedroza was aboard for new trainer Alfredo Velazquez as Private Zone edged Dads Caps by a neck in 1:08.95 for the six furlongs. He paid $13.80 to win.

Trainer Rudy Rodriguez won the two earlier stakes.

Vyjack pulled a 9-1 upset in the $400,000 Kelso Handicap, beating River Rocks by one length. Irad Ortiz, Jr. was aboard as the 4-year-old gelding got his sixth victory in 14 starts, paying $21.20 to win. The time was 1:34.05 for the mile.

Rodriguez struck again as Belle Gallantey was the front-running winner of the $400,000 Beldame for fillies and mares. Jose Ortiz was the rider as the 5-year-old won for the fifth time in seven races this year. She beat Stopchargingmaria by 8 1/4 lengths, paying $11.40 to win. The time was 1:47.55 for the 1 1/8 miles.

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