Updated on 09/15/2011 1:11PM

Aptitude gets the Gold

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Dennis Clark
Aptitude stamps himself a Classic contender with an emphatic 10-length score in Saturday's Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Bobby Frankel will now have company aboard Aptitude's bandwagon.

Aptitude became a major player for the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic on Saturday afternoon by rolling to an emphatic 10-length victory in the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup before 13,653 at Belmont Park.

Generous Rosi, the pacesetter, held second, three-quarters of a length ahead of 80-1 shot Country Be Gold. It was nine lengths back to Albert the Great, the 6-5 favorite who tired badly after chasing Generous Rosi around the turn.

Scorpion, A P Valentine, and Sumitas completed the order of finish.

By guiding Aptitude to victory, jockey Jerry Bailey broke his own single-season record for earnings. With almost three months of racing remaining, Bailey has earned $19,850,501. In 1996, he earned $19,465,376.

The victory was the third straight for Aptitude since Frankel added blinkers to his equipment in July. He won the Hollywood Gold Cup (via disqualification) and the Saratoga Breeders' Cup Handicap. Before that, he was 2 for 14 with second-place finishes in the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes.

"Awesome,' Frankel said. "I never gave up on him and he's coming through.'

The victory capped another terrific afternoon for Frankel. He won the Grade 1 Frizette with You and finished second in the Grade 1 Beldame with Flute, who had trouble. Frankel has now won 36 stakes this year including 13 Grade 1's.

Frankel took great satisfaction in Aptitude's victory, because so many people had chastised Aptitude for constantly finishing second in big races.

"I don't get mad. It motivates me to show you what I got,' he said.

Aptitude settled into fifth position in the Gold Cup while Generous Rosi, under Jorge Chavez, set a torrid pace of 23.28 seconds, 46.41, and 1:10.50 while being chased by Sumitas, Scorpion and Albert the Great. Bailey had Aptitude off of Albert the Great's flank and followed him into contention around the turn.

Leaving the three-eighths pole, Aptitude blew past Albert the Great and from there it was just a matter of how much he would win by. Aptitude covered the 1 1/4 miles in 2:01.49 over a fast track and returned $4.80 as the second choice.

"I just went along for the ride,' Bailey said. "He has really changed from earlier in the year; he's more aggressive. I think Bobby did a good thing putting the blinkers on.'

Aptitude now figures to be one of the top four choices in the Breeders' Cup Classic, along with Galileo, Fantastic Light, and Tiznow.

"The only concern I have is that he ran too fast,' Frankel said. "Sometimes you don't want them to run too, too good before a big race. Hopefully, he can come back and run close to that.'

Aptitude will look to join Cigar (1995) and Skip Away (1997) as Gold Cup winners to have gone on and won the Breeders' Cup Classic.