09/20/2013 5:10PM

Belmont Park notes: Enhanced security measures in place for Jockey Club Gold Cup

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Tom Keyser
Easter Gift will run in either the Kelso Handicap at Belmont Park or the Awesome Again at Santa Anita.

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The New York State Gaming Commission and the New York Racing Association on Friday announced enhanced security measures for next Saturday’s $1 million Jockey Club Gold, protocols similar to what were put in place earlier this year for the Belmont Stakes and Travers Stakes.

Horses competing in the Gold Cup will be subject to early out-of-competition blood testing for banned substances and will be required to be on Belmont Park’s grounds by noon Wednesday.

In addition, horses will be subject to 24-hour monitoring at their trainers’ own barns and stalls on the grounds. The Gaming Commission also is requiring the submission of veterinary records for participating horses for three days leading up to the race, which will be published on the commission’s website starting Wednesday.

As of Friday, the field for the Jockey Club Gold Cup included Alpha, Cross Traffic, Flat Out, Orb, and Palace Malice. Of that group, only Cross Traffic and Palace Malice are at Belmont.

Alpha, the Woodward winner, was in Saratoga where on Friday he worked five furlongs in 1:02.80 over the Oklahoma training track. His trainer, Kiaran McLaughlin, was not intending to ship Alpha to Belmont by Wednesday.

“We weren’t planning on coming that early,” he said. “It does change things a little bit, but it’s not a big deal.”

Orb is at the Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland, where he was scheduled to breeze Monday. Trainer Shug McGaughey said he was planning to ship Orb to Belmont on Tuesday, regardless of whether these protocols were in place or not.

Flat Out, the defending two-time Jockey Club Gold Cup winner, is in Saratoga, where he usually trains.

Easter Gift possible for Kelso

Easter Gift, runner-up in the Alydar Stakes last out at Saratoga, worked a strong five furlongs in 1:01.27 on Friday morning over the Belmont Park main track and is a candidate for next Saturday’s Grade  2, $400,000Kelso Invitational Handicap.

Easter Gift worked in company with Saint Vigeur, and the two were inseparable through the lane, getting their final quarter in 24.18 seconds. The pair galloped out six furlongs in 1:14.29.

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Trainer Chad Brown said Easter Gift could run in either the Kelso or the Grade 1 Awesome Again at Santa Anita on the same day.

“The Awesome Again is a Grade 1, but the Kelso is more money and we don’t have to ship,” Brown said.

One factor in the decision could be that Robert LaPenta, who owns Easter Gift, will already be represented in the Kelso by Jackson Bend. Others looking at the Kelso include Brujo de Olleros, Graydar, Hymn Book, and possibly Ron the Greek.

Dream Peace retired

Dream Peace, a Group 2 winner in France who finished second or third in four Grade 1 races in North America, was injured and has been retired, Brown said.

Dream Peace, a 5-year-old daughter of Dansili, went winless in eight starts in North America, but twice finished second in the Grade 1 Diana, including a head defeat to Laughing in July at Saratoga.

Last year, after getting beat 1 1/2 lengths in the Diana, Dream Peace finished third in the Flower Bowl at Belmont and the E.P. Taylor at Woodbine.

Brown said Dream Peace would most likely return to France to be bred. She retires with a record of 4-3-8 from 19 starts and career earnings of $815,242.