09/28/2011 4:22PM

Belmont: Cape Blanco seeks third U.S. Grade 1 win in Joe Hirsch


Cape Blanco arrived in New York early Wednesday morning and was expected to be in quarantine until Thursday morning at Aqueduct before shipping over to Belmont, where he will be heavily favored to win the $500,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational on Saturday at  Belmont Park.

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Cape Blanco has already proven himself at Belmont having won the Man o’ War in July before winning the Arlington Million in Chicago in August. He has also proven himself at the Joe Hirsch distance of 1 1/2 miles by taking the Irish Derby as a 3-year-old in June 2010.

Cape Blanco will break from the rail under Jamie Spencer, who has been aboard for his last five races.

Cape Blanco will take on defending Joe Hirsch winner Winchester, who is coming off a victory in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga, and Mission Approved, the upset winner of the Manhattan Handicap here on Belmont Stakes Day. Mission Approved, seventh in the Arlington Million, will get a rider switch from Jose Espinoza to Rajiv Maragh.

Others entered in the Turf Classic are United Nations winner Teaks North, Bowling Green winner Grassy, and Dean’s Kitten, who finished third in the Arlington Million.