The highlight of the Belmont Park Fall Championship Meeting is the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational (G1), a Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" qualifier for the Breeders' Cup Classic, contested at the Classic distance of 1 1/4 miles on the main track. A field of 8 older horses went to post on Saturday afternoon under sunny skies and temperatures in the mid 70's. Last year's winner Flat Out was sent off as the 5-2 favorite off a close second in the Woodward (G1) after winning the Suburban (G2). In to challenge him included 11-4 second choice and Belmont Stakes winner (G1) Palace Malice, fourth in the Travers (G1) last out, and 3-1 third choice Cross Traffic, winner of the Whitney Invitational Handicap (G1).
Cross Traffic stumbled badly at the start, spotting the field 13 lengths while jockey Joe Bravo sent 22-1 Alpha to the lead on the clubhouse turn. Alpha set fractions of 23.99, 47.28, and 1:10.78 while 1 1/2 lengths in front of Palace Malice and 21-1 Ron the Greek stalking him second and third. On the far turn, jockey Jose Lezcano aboard Ron the Greek came through along the rail and quickly opened up a 2 length lead at the 1/4 pole through 1 mile in 1:35.08. Kept to task the length of the stretch, Ron the Greek drew off to an impressive 6 3/4 length win over Palace Malice in 1:59.70 over the fast main track. It was another 1 3/4 length back to favorite Flat Out third.