09/19/2010 11:21AM

Blame sharp in Gold Cup work

Audrey C. Crosby
Blame runs next in the Oct. 2 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park.

Blame, the leading contender for the Oct. 2 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park, worked six furlongs Sunday morning over the Polytrack surface at Keeneland, going in 1:12 under Casey Chavez.

Going shortly before 8 a.m. over the Lexington, Ky., track that has seen minimal activity in recent days, Blame worked from the five-furlong pole to an eighth-mile past the wire, then proceeded to gallop out seven furlongs in 1:25.70, according to trainer Al Stall Jr.

Stall watched the work with Dell Hancock of Claiborne Farm, which co-bred and co-owns the 4-year-old colt with Adele Dilschneider.

“We’re all very happy,” said Stall. “I liked the way he worked, the way he finished up, the way he galloped out. Sometimes you really have to hammer on horses when they’re coming up to big races like this, but not him. He’s taking it all so well.”

Stall said Blame will “blow out” a half-mile next Sunday at Keeneland before departing for New York by plane on the following Thursday, Sept. 30. The Grade 1, $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup will serve as the colt’s final race before the Nov. 6 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs.

Blame has ascended to the top of the North American handicap division by winning all three of his starts this year, and last five overall, with his last two races being the Grade 1 Stephen Foster in June and the Grade 1 Whitney on Aug. 7 at Saratoga. The 4-year-old Arch colt has earned more than $1.5 million from his 11 career starts.

Garrett Gomez, who has ridden Blame in all three 2010 victories, has the mount back for the 1 1/4-mile Jockey Club Gold Cup, which also is expected to get Rail Trip, Afleet Express, and a handful of others.