SARATOGA SPRINGS – After being run off his feet by Life is Good four weeks ago in the Whitney, Olympiad is back to try the Saratoga main track again in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1). The Speightstown colt won’t have to deal with Life is Good on Saturday, but he will face the challenge of running a mile and a quarter for the first time. A field of eight is entered for the 104th running of the historic race.
The Whitney defeat ended Olympiad’s four-race winning streak, all graded stakes. That’s two more graded victories than his seven opponents have totaled this year. Still, Olympiad, the 2-1 morning-line choice, will be facing three opponents with recent experience at the distance: the top three finishers – Dynamic One, First Captain and Untreated – from a blanket finish in the Suburban (G2) on June 4.
As a three-year-old, Dynamic One (7-2) had one stakes win (in the restricted Curlin) and was a close runner-up in the Wood Memorial, but he finished well up the track in the Kentucky Derby and Travers. This year he has been in the money in all four starts, culminating in a nose win over First Captain as the odds-on favorite in the Suburban.
First Captain (4-1) has also improved at four, finishing in the exacta in three of four starts. Two races back, he got up to win the Pimlico Special (G3) after a big run through the stretch. Untreated (12-1), who has yet to win a stakes, was third in both the Pimlico Special and Suburban.
Second choice on the morning line is Americanrevolution (3-1), the reigning NY-bred horse of the year. Last year the Constitution colt annihilated the field by a combined 26½ lengths in three state-bred stakes, the New York Derby, Albany Stakes and Empire Classic. Sent in against open company, Americanrevolution responded with a third in the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) and a gutty off-the-pace score in the Cigar Mile (G1). [Olympiad and Code of Honor were among the beaten horses in the Cigar.]
Americanrevolution has been out only twice in 2022, finishing fourth in the ungraded Blame Stakes and following Olympiad home as the runner-up in the Stephen Foster (G2). The Todd Pletcher trainee has been working regularly on the Saratoga main track, breezing four furlongs last Sunday in :47.85, 15th fastest of 109 workers at the distance.
Tax (10-1), Keepmeinmind (12-1) and Chess Chief (30-1) complete the Jockey Club Gold Cup field.
Flower Bowl Stakes
Working on a four-stakes winning streak, War Like Goddess was a strong contender for an Eclipse Award last year if she could also win the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf. Unfortunately, she fell less than a length short, finishing third behind Japan’s Loves Only You, who ended up being named division champion. War Like Goddess was second in the voting.
This year the five-year-old daughter of English Channel has raced only twice, winning the Bewitch Stakes (G3) and Glens Falls (G2) with ease as a prohibitive odds-on favorite. She didn’t win either race by a large margin, but then she didn’t need to as jockey Joel Rosario let her cruise in the two races’ latter stages.
Running back on the Saratoga Inner turf, where she is a perfect 3-for-3, War Like Goddess is an overwhelming 2-5 morning-line favorite in Saturday’s Flower Bowl Stakes (G2).
The next three finishers in the Glens Falls also return for the Flower Bowl. Temple City Terror (8-1) closed smartly for second in the Glens Falls, edging the German-bred Virginia Joy (7-2). Fourth-place Flanigan’s Cove is listed at 12-1 for the Flower Bowl.