There isn’t much to say when it comes to the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Stakes this year. The field boasts just four competitors so far, and the headliner is none other than Flintshire who is widely regarded as the best turf runner in North America these days. The import from Great Britain has been simply outstanding since migrating to this side of the pond.
In 2015, Flintshire had gone just 1-5-1 over six races and was consistently a bridesmaid and never a bride. Since moving to the United States, and syncing up with Chad Brown and jockey Javier Castellano, he has been a revlation. In fact, his debut victory was at Belmont Park in the Manhattan Handicap. The six-year old would go on to win the Bowling Green and the Sword Dancer, the latter of which offered him a free ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Longines Turf.
Ironically the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic offers the same reward as part of the challenge series prep race circuit, so Flintshire is taking away that opportunity from his rivals just by being in the race. Money Multiplier and Twilight Escape finished behind Flintshire at the Sword Dancer respectively and it would take a miracle for either of them to produce an upset here. Todd Pletcher’s Ectot is the fourth entrant in this race and is unproven as they come.
Flintshire has competed at the Breeders’ Cup Longines Turf before, placing second in 2014. Now that he’s matured and grown, there’s no doubt that he’ll be in the mix again as long as everything goes well in this weekend’s tune-up.
Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Stakes – Saturday, October 1st at Belmont Park (3:26 EST)
1 1/2 Mile Turf — 3+ Year Olds — $500,000
|1||Ectot (GB)||Jose L. Ortiz||126||Todd A. Pletcher||–|
|2||Twilight Eclipse (KY)||Joel Rosario||126||Thomas Albertrani||–|
|3||Money Multiplier (KY)||John R. Velazquez||126||Chad C. Brown||–|
|4||Flintshire (GB)||Javier Castellano||126||Chad C. Brown||–|