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2011 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic and Flower Bowl Invitational

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Cape Blanco wins the 2011 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational
Cape Blanco wins the 2011 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational

Cape Blanco wins the 2011 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational over Dean's Kitten at Belmont Park

© Cindy Pierson Dulay
October 1, 2011

There are two stakes races on Gold Cup day contested over the turf. Overnight rains rendered the course yielding with slow times the order of the day. The $500,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational (G1), at 1 1/2 miles on the Widener course, is the major local prep for the Breeders' Cup Turf. Man o'War (G1) and Arlington Million (G1) winner Cape Blanco was the 3-5 choice in the field of 9, over 2-1 second choice Winchester, winner of the Sword Dancer Invitational (G1) at Saratoga last out, and 8-1 third choice Grassy, off his win in the Bowling Green Handicap (G2) at Belmont.

Mission Approved went to the lead first time past the stands and he set slow fractions of 25.52, 52.42, 1:19.37, and 1:44.92 over the yielding going, while being pressed by Cape Blanco just to his outside. On the far turn, Mission Approved tired allowing Cape Blanco to inherit the lead at the top of the lane through 1 1/4 miles in 2:09.80. Dean's Kitten, who stalked the pacesetters in third the whole way, closed on the outside the length of the stretch but Cape Blanco held him off by a nose at the line, completing the trip in 2:36.61. It was a long 8 3/4 lengths back to Grassy third.

Results chart

Also on the card were the Jockey Club Gold Cup and the Kelso Handicap, the Beldame Stakes, and the Vosburgh Stakes.

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