NEW YORK — Colonial Affair took the lead in the early stretch and won the Jockey Club Gold Cup by two lengths over favored Devil His Due on Breeders' Cup Preview Day at Belmont Park on Saturday.
Southland-based Tabasco Cat, the Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner, finished fourth behind Flag Down. Go For Gin, the Kentucky Derby winner, vied for the early lead but finished last for his fifth consecutive loss. He and Tabasco Cat were the only 3-year-olds in the nine-horse field.
Colonial Affair, who won the Belmont Stakes last year, had finished third, 6 1/2 lengths behind Holy Bull, in the 1 1/8-mile Woodward at Belmont on Sept. 17.
"Holy Bull is the best horse I've seen this year in the States," said Jose Santos, Colonial Affair's jockey.
Colonial Affair's victory in the 1 1/4-mile Gold Cup was the second stakes victory of the day for Santos.
Pat Day, Tabasco Cat's rider, won three stakes, including the stakes for 2-year-old males and juvenile fillies, on Wayne Lukas-trained horses. The filly Flanders scored a 21-length victory over three rivals in the 1 1/16-mile Frizette and Timber Country won the 1 1/16-mile Moet Champagne for juvenile males by a half-length over Sierra Diablo.
Trainer Shug McGaughey, who won five of six stakes on Breeders' Cup Preview Day last year, won the 1 1/8-mile Beldame for fillies and mares with the 3-year-old Heavenly Prize, ridden by Day. But Lure was nipped at the wire by Nijinsky's Gold in the one-mile Kelso Handicap on the grass. Nijinsky's Gold was Santos' other winner.
In the 1 1/2-mile Turf Classic, France-based Tikkanen, ridden by Cash Asmussen, overtook Vaudeville and won his U.S. debut by a neck.
Colonial Affair covered 1 1/4 miles in 2:02 in winning the $750,000 Gold Cup and paid $12.80, $5.60 and $3.60. Devil His Due returned $2.80 and $2.20 and Flag Down paid $4.60.
Flanders, who paid $2.60, won in 1:43 4/5, a fifth of second faster than Timber Country ($9.40) ran the 1 1/16 miles of the Champagne.
Heavenly Prize remained a major contender for 3-year-old honors by winning the Beldame. Because there would have been only three betting interests, the race was a betless exhibition, the first in New York thoroughbred racing since 1988.