Mineshaft among top runners in Saturday's Gold Cup.

Mineshaft among top runners in Saturday's Gold Cup.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Mineshaft Breezes Toward Jockey Club Gold Cup

Mineshaft, impressive winner of the Woodward Stakes (gr. I) in his last start, breezed five furlongs in 1:01 2/5 Monday morning in preparation for Saturday's Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) at Belmont Park.

"He's doing great," trainer Neil Howard said. "He's ready."

Howard, who has trained grade 1 winners such as 1990 Preakness (gr. I) winner Summer Squall, Runup the Colors, Secret Status and Tomisue's Delight, says Mineshaft is in a league of his own.

"I would never say anything to slight Summer Squall, but Mineshaft is a special horse," he said.

Two horses considered possible starters in the Gold Cup – Saarland and Dynever – will not run. Saarland breezed a half Monday morning in :50 2/5 for trainer Shug McGaughey, who is considering the Meadowlands Cup (gr. III) on Oct. 3. "We need to get a win with him," McGaughey said. "It's a tough field."

Christophe Clement, trainer of Dynever, also feels the Gold Cup will too tough a race. "It's not a big field, but it's a good group of horses," he said.

The field for the Gold likely will include Mineshaft, Moon Ballad, Empire Maker, and possibly Evening Attire and Puzzlement.