BY BROCK SHERIDAN
Clapton will make his first start for Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi’s RRR Racing on a big stage Saturday as the Florida-bred colt is among eight 3-year-olds and older entered for the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Saratoga Race Course. To be run at a mile-and-a-quarter, the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup is a “Win And You’re In” qualifier, offering an automatic entry into the Grade 1 Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic to be run Nov. 4 at Santa Anita.
Now trained by Chad Summers, Clapton will be making his first start in a Grade 1
since finishing tenth in the Curlin Florida Derby won by Forte at Gulfstream Park on April 2.
Clapton is no stranger to top company at 10 furlongs, however, as he exits a second-place finish to Charge It in the Grade 2 Suburban at Belmont Park on July 8.
He won the Grade 3 Ghostzapper at a mile-and-a-sixteenth at Gulfstream Park by a half-length before finishing third in the Grade 3 Pimlico Special won by Jockey Club Gold Cup rival Rattle N Roll at a mile-and-three-sixteenth at Pimlico Race Course on May 19.
Bred in Florida by Arindel, who campaigned the son of Arindel stallion Brethren through the Suburban, Clapton has won five with four seconds and six thirds in 22 starts. The son of the Afleet Alex mare Alexandra Rylee has career earnings of $522,890.
Irad Oritz Jr. will ride Clapton from post five.
Goldolphin LLC’s Proxy travels to Saratoga for the Jockey Club Gold Cup to make his sixth start at as many tracks in his last six races.
The Michael Stidham trainee looks for his second straight stakes victory in the Gold Cup after winning the Grade 3 Monmouth Cup by two-and-a-half lengths at Monmouth Park going nine furlongs on July 22.
He also won the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap by a head in April and the Grade 1 Clark by three-quarters of a length at Churchill Downs in November, both at nine furlongs. With five starts this year, Proxy was also fifth in the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Invitational won by Art Collector at Gulfstream Park in January, second to Stilleto Boy in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap in March and eighth in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster won by West Will Power at Ellis Park on July 1.
Proxy – Ryan Denver EquiPhoto
Proxy is by Tapit out of Panty Raid, by Include and has won six with six seconds and two thirds in 18 career starts and is the richest among the Gold Cup field with earnings of $2,024,970.
Joel Rosario has the mount on Proxy and they have drawn the inside post one.
Rattle N Roll ranks second among the Gold Cup entrants with earnings of $1,697,741 for owners Lucky Seven Stables.
A winner of the Grade 3 Blame going a mile-and-an-eighth at Churchill on June 3, Rattle N Roll makes his first start since finishing second in the Stephen Foster.
His victory in the Blame culminated a three-race win streak that started with a length-and-a-quarter score in the Grade 3 Ben Ali at Keeneland on April 22 and continued in the Pimlico Special.
Rattle N Roll is by Connect out of Jazz Tune, by Johannesburg and has won eight of 19 career starts with two seconds and two thirds.
Trainer Kenneth McPeek has given the riding assignment on Rattle N Roll to Brian Hernandez Jr., who has ridden the 4-year-old colt in 16 of his lifetime starts including the last two.
Rattle N Roll will break from post four.
Completing the field for the Jockey Club Gold Cup are Unbridled Bomber with jockey Dylan Davis, Warrior Johny and rider Junior Alvarado, Tyson will have Manny Franco up, Luis Contreras will be aboard Duke of Love and Bright Future has Javier Castellano named to ride.