Updated on 09/26/2011 1:31PM

Tizway to miss Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont, will target BC Classic


ELMONT, N.Y. – Though Tizway will miss next Saturday’s $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park, trainer James Bond still plans to point the Horse of the Year contender to the Breeders’ Cup Classic at 1 1/4 miles on Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs.

Bond said the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile – for which Tizway has already earned an automatic berth by virtue of his Metropolitan Handicap victory in May – is not a race he is considering.

“To win the Mile would be a great feat, but if he wins the Classic he gets the whole ball of wax,’’ Bond said. “My feeling is we want the Classic. He proved in the Met Mile he’s a miler. He needs to prove to everybody that he’s a mile-and-a-quarter horse.’’

A victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, coupled with earlier wins in the Met Mile and Whitney, would virtually assure Tizway of Horse of the Year honors. Though Tizway has never won at 1 1/4 miles – he was third to Summer Bird in the 2009 Jockey Club Gold Cup – Bond has never doubted the colt’s ability to get the distance.

The chore is made more difficult by having to run 1 1/4 miles off a three-month layoff. Bond confirmed on Friday that Tizway would miss the Jockey Club after developing a fever that forced him to miss a scheduled Friday workout. In fact, Tizway did not train at all on Friday. The temperature and the fact that wet weather was expected in Saratoga over the weekend prompted Bond to pull the plug on the Gold Cup.

In 2006, Invasor won the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill off the same three-month layoff. Like Tizway, Invasor was forced to miss the Gold Cup due to a temperature.

Tizway has run well off lengthy layoffs in his career. In 2009, he won a first-level allowance race off a 10-month layoff. Last year, he won a third-level allowance race and the Grade 2 Kelso off four-month layoffs. Those races were at a mile or shorter.

“I believe I can have him ready to go a mile and a quarter,’’ Bond said. “If not, it’s my fault.’’

With Tizway out, Stay Thirsty becomes the most likely favorite for the Gold Cup. His competition is expected to include Suburban winner Flat Out, Greenwood Cup winner A. U. Miner, 2010 Belmont Stakes winner Drosselmeyer, and possibly 2010 Florida Derby winner Ice Box.

Birdrun, who would be coupled with Flat Out because both are owned by Preston Stables, is possible to run.