"You can't dance all the dances," McPeek said. "If I raced him in April, May, June, July and August, how much could I expect to have left? Now, I've got a nice, fresh horse who is doing good.""The weather might force me to run him here or fall back on the Meadowlands Cup (Oct. 4th)," Pletcher said of Harlan's Holiday, who previously was trained by McPeek. "As 3-year-olds mature, you'd like to see them get bigger and stronger and he's done all that. I think the Pennsylvania Derby will move him forward."
Nothing Flat and Puzzlement, two other 3-year-olds in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, have flashed signs of ability, but will need to make big jumps forward to get the winner's share. Both their trainers have tasted Jockey Club Gold Cup glory recently: Nick Zito, trainer of Nothing Flat, won the race in 2000 with Albert the Great. Puzzlement will run with blinkers on for his trainer, Hall of Famer H. Allen Jerkens, a three-time Gold Cup winning trainer who scored a big upset in 1998 as Wagon Limit conquered on a sloppy track at 34-1.There cannot be a $1 million race without at least one horse from the barn of Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel. Back-to-back Woodward winner Lido Palace will join Milwaukee Brew in the starting gate. Lido Palace breezed three furlongs on Belmont's fast main track Thursday morning in :37 3/5; Medaglia d'Oro, incidentally, stayed sharp with a six- furlong bullet of 1:13 3/5, handily, before the rain hit.
After winning the Woodward last year, Lido Palace did not run in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. His effort in this year's race will determine his status for the Breeders' Cup Classic. Bred in Chile, Lido Palace can only make the Classic if his owner, Amerman Racing Stables, puts up an $800,000 supplemental fee, $300,000 more than the 5-year-old has earned this year.
"We have to see how he runs in the Jockey Club Gold Cup before we decide about the Breeders' Cup," Frankel said. "He'd probably have to win the Jockey Club Gold Cup to get into the Breeders' Cup."
Milwaukee Brew will make his first New York start since April 2001 when he was third in the Westchester Handicap. This year has been altogether different for Milwaukee Brew, most notably his switch to Frankel's barn.
Winner of the Santa Anita Handicap and Californian earlier in the year, Milwaukee Brew was third in his last two starts, the Hollywood Gold Cup and Pacific Classic. The son of Wild Again had fast paces to run at in California, but may not get the same scenario in the Jockey Club Gold Cup."He can lay close to a slow pace," Frankel said. "In the Californian, he was up close and won. Circumstances got him beat in the Pacific Classic. It's such a small track. I think he'll like the big turns here."
The field, in post order: Harlan's Holiday, 122, John Velazquez
Puzzlement, 122, Jean-Luc Samyn
Abreeze, 126 , Richard Migliore
Milwaukee Brew, 126, Kent Desormeaux
Evening Attire, 126, Shaun Bridgmohan
Repent, 122, Edgar Prado
Nothing Flat, 122, Jose Santos
Lido Palace, 126, Jorge Chavez