A busy slate of stakes contests coast-to-coast means plenty of television action for racing fans who seek couch potato status this weekend. The fifth and final "NTRA Super Saturday" program on ESPN features five grade I races Sat., Oct. 2 from 4:00-6:00 p.m. ET.
Headlining will be the $1-million Jockey Club Gold Cup, $750,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational, $750,000 Flower Bowl Invitational, and the $500,000 Vosburgh Handicap from New York's Belmont Park. In addition, Santa Anita's $500,000 Yellow Ribbon Stakes will also air. All races have implications for the Oct. 30 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships from Lone Star Park in Texas.
Possible for the Jockey Club Gold Cup are Funny Cide, 2002 Jockey Club Gold Cup victor Evening Attire, The Cliff's Edge, and Domestic Dispute. The Joe Hirsch, named for the recently retired legendary Turf writer, will feature Magistretti, Kitten's Joy, and Request for Parole.
Dimitrova, Riskaverse, and Film Maker are likely for the Flower Bowl. The Vosburgh on paper figures to be the best race of the bunch, with Pico Central, Speightstown, and Midas Eyes hooking up in the sprint.
ESPN will come back Sunday, Oct. 3, with an hour of live and taped racing from 6:00-7:00 p.m. ET. That show ill feature a pair of grade II events live from Santa Anita, the $250,000 Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup Handicap and the $200,000 Norfolk Stakes. The $100,000 Middleground Breeders' Cup Stakes frm Lon Star is also scheduled, as it taped coverage of the Prix de l'arc de Triomphe, featuring Sulamani.
Roman Ruler will seek to rebound from his first defeat for Bob Baffert in the Norfolk. A big performance will make him one of the favorites in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Island Fashion, Dream of Summer, Royally Chosen, and Elloluv figure to mix it up in the Lady's Secret.