Lemon Drop Kid was exercised in a two-minute clip over the Belmont Park main track Friday and Hall of Fame trainer Scotty Schulhofer declared the colt fit and ready for Saturday's $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I). "He's fit and we still have the Breeders' Cup we're pointing for," Schulhofer told The Blood-Horse's Steve Haskin on why he elected not to blow the colt out three furlongs on the day before the race as he has done in the past.
Lemon Drop Kid, who drew post position four and was installed as the 4-5 favorite, will renew his rivalry with Behrens in the Gold Cup. Behrens has finished behind Lemon Drop Kid in four of the five races in which the two have met and in each of the last four meetings dating back to last year's Breeders Cup Classic (gr. I). Their first race together came in last year's renewal of the Jockey Cup Gold Cup, in which Behrens finished second and Lemon Drop Kid fifth.
Behrens has just one win on the season leading many to conclude that the 6-year-old son of Pleasant Colony has lost a step, but trainer H. James Bond disagrees. "I still think I have one of the top older horses in the country," Bond said. "I still believe in him, even if some people have written him off. He doesn't show me what everyone else is seeing, and believe me, he still wouldn't be in training if I didn't think he could do it."
Vision and Verse wheels back from an eighth-place finish as the favorite in Saturday night's Meadowlands Cup Handicap (gr. II). The Bill Mott-trained son of Storm Cat will be reunited with jockey Heberto Castillo Jr., who rode Vision and Verse to a second-place finish in Lemon Drop Kid's Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
The field for the 1 1/4-mile Jockey Club Gold Cup will consist of:
1--Albert the Great, Jorge Chavez, 8-1
2--Agol Lack, Chris McCarron, 20-1
3--Vision and Verse, Heberto Castillo Jr., 20-1
4--Lemon Drop Kid, Edgar Prado, 4-5
5--Behrens, Jerry Bailey, 2-1
6--Gander, John Velazquez, 15-1
7--Skimming, Kent Desormeaux, 6-1All horses to carry 126 pounds except for Albert the Great, who will carry 122 pounds.