Bright Future Repels Proxy in Jockey Club Gold Cup Thriller, Earns Breeders’ Cup Classic Berth

Bright Future delivered a career-defining performance Saturday at Saratoga when grabbing the lead into the stretch, then digging in to barely hold off hard-charging Proxy and win the $1-million Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) in a thriller.

After tracking pacesetter Warrior Johny from second early, the Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable colorbearer landed the first stakes victory of his career by a nose under Javier Castellano and entered off an allowance victory July 21 at the Spa.

Bright Future, a 4-year-old son of Curlin, returned $9.50 to win after covering 1¼ miles in 2:03 flat.

Proxy held on for second and Tyson was third.

The Jockey Club Gold Cup is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win And You’re In” qualifier, and Proxy gained automatic entry into the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) on November 4 at Santa Anita.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Bright Future has a 4-0-0 record from seven career starts.

Bright Future was bred in Kentucky by Clearsky Farms. Produced by the Bellamy Road mare Sophia’s Song, his breeder sold him for $250,000 at the 2020 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

Jockey Club Gold Cup Quotes

Todd Pletcher, winning trainer of Bright Future (No. 8, $9.50): “He’s a horse that we’ve always thought a lot of. I’ve got to give the Violas and the Repoles [owners] a lot of credit because we’ve had to kind of tap on the brakes a few times along the way and they gave him time to develop. We probably got a little ambitious when we tried the Brooklyn, maybe didn’t have quite the foundation to be ready to go a mile and a half at that stage. We regrouped with the allowance race here and I thought it was a powerful performance, so from that time on we’ve been pointing for this and the horse has trained exceptionally well. Coming into it, we were optimistic he was ready to make a move forward.

“It wasn’t real clear how much speed there was on paper. So, we wanted to get into the race and get into a good position, get in a good rhythm which he was able to do.

“Javier [Castellano] has had a phenomenal year. He’s making all the right decisions and it is great to see him back in top form after taking some time off for an injury. He’s riding as good as ever.

“It was a good spot to try a Grade 1 and he delivered a big performance. In order to go to the next one, he’s going to need to make another move forward. It appears to be pretty wide open, the older horse division. I guess we will learn a little more in California tomorrow or Monday. We’ll see.”

On a potential next start in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic on November 4 at Santa Anita Park: “I would think so. I doubt we’d do anything in between.”

Mike Repole, winning co-owner of Bright Future (No. 8): “Just a really nice effort. A horse we had high hopes for last year. He’s a Curlin. He was winning at a mile, so we decided to try him in the Brooklyn and we looked at each other and said, ‘What were we doing?’ Something happened that day but there’s nothing wrong. He didn’t work well, but he got the two starts here and he backed up his last win very impressively.

“He’s a Curlin. I had a horse by Curlin named Vino Rosso that couldn’t put it together at three, but now [Bright Future] has put it together at four. I named the horse Bright Future for a reason. I knew he was going to be a later 3-year-old, 4-year-old horse and so far his name is fitting right now.”

Javier Castellano, winning jockey aboard Bright Future (No. 8): “I really like the way he did it and the way he finished. I had a lot of confidence after the way I rode the horse last time. He gave me the impression he was going to step up the ladder a little bit, the level. I had a lot of confidence because this is a good horse and I thought he can do it. I’m very happy that everything went through. I had a beautiful trip and a good post today. It worked out great.

“I felt great because we went pretty quick [early] and had to hustle a little bit to put him in a good spot because we were way, way outside. I took forward position and I could use my spot to get in the clear. I think that’s why I used my horse a little bit but we backed it up a little bit just to give a little break. I think it was the key to win the race.”

On winning another Grade 1 this year: “Thank God. I’ve been blessed, very lucky and very fortunate to ride the best horses, especially with Todd Pletcher, one of the best trainers in the country. He gave me the opportunity to ride this horse and that’s the key. Keep positive and working hard, and see everything come around.”

Joel Rosario, jockey of runner-up Proxy (No. 1): “He ran a big race. It was a very good performance for him. I don’t think it was really quick [pace], but it seemed like it was OK for me there. He was more in the race like he did last time and when he’s like that, he runs better. I was happy where he was.

“I thought for a second we got it done.”

Manny Franco, jockey of third-place Tyson (No. 6): “He ran a good race. The first two finishers are very good horses and it was the first time on the dirt for my horse. I was pleased with the way he run.”

Winning margin: nose

Final time (1 1/4 miles): 2:03

Fractions: 22.25, 48.86, 1:14.10, 1:38.59

Full order of finish: 8-1-6-5-7-4-3-2

The post Bright Future Repels Proxy in Jockey Club Gold Cup Thriller, Earns Breeders’ Cup Classic Berth appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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