The $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup is one of the most historic races in North America, and this year’s race is shaping up to be a competitive one. An international field including defending champ Diversify and European shipper Mendelssohn is expected to face off at Belmont Park with a place in the Breeders’ Cup Classic up for grabs.
Get ready for Saturday’s race with the 10 fun facts below.
1. This year is the 100th running of the race, which made its debut in 1919.
2. Seven of the last 14 editions of the race were won by a Triple Crown race winner, including Tonalist, Summer Bird, Curlin, Bernardini, and Funny Cide.
3. Just one horse was entered to face Man o’ War in the 1920 edition. Damask finished 15 lengths behind the eventual Horse of the Year.
4. Eventual Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Skip Away completed the Jockey Club Gold Cup in a record 1:58.89 in 1997.
5. Since 2007, three horses have won the race twice each: Curlin (2007, 2008), Flat Out (2011, 2012), and Tonalist (2014, 2015). Last year’s winner Diversify could join them if he wins on Saturday.
6. The race has been run at its current 1 ¼-mile distance since 1990. It was originally 1 ½ miles, was lengthened to two miles, and then returned to 1 ½ miles before being shortened to its current distance.
7. The legendary Kelso won the Jockey Club Gold Cup five straight times, from 1960 through 1964.
8. Racing fans bet a whopping $13,370,757 on Jockey Club Gold Cup day last year.
9. The 10 career races of 2018 contender Mendelssohn have come at nine different tracks in four countries: Ireland, the U.K., Dubai, and the U.S.
10. Three of the last eight Breeders’ Cup Classic winners prepped in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. Fort Larned finished third in 2012, Drosselmeyer finished second in 2011, and Blame finished second in 2010.