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2021 Jockey Club Derby Invitational Stakes Quick Picks
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2021 Jockey Club Derby Invitational Stakes Quick Picks

by Laurie RossSeptember 17, 2021

Saturday, the $1 million Jockey Club Derby Invitational Stakes is the final leg of the NYRA “Turf Triple” and offers a spot in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) starting gate.

A solid field of eight 3-year-old colts and geldings will travel 1 1/2 miles over Belmont Park’s lawn. Billed as race ten, post time is 5:45 PM ET.
A quartet of foreign-bred runners looks like the strongest win candidates.

#2 Yibir (GB) (2-1)

Yibir has hit the board in seven of ten lifetime starts, and his four wins all came on either good or good-to-firm ground. The Charlie Appleby trainee most recently beat Group 2 types in the Great Voltigeur Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths. When Charlie Appleby ships to the U.S., pay attention. In the last two years, six of his shippers to the U.S. hit the board. Win contender.

#4 Soldier Rising (GB) (5-2)

Christophe Clement had Soldier Rising primed for his U.S. debut in the Saratoga Derby Invitational (G1), and the son of Frankel (GB) finished second, bested a length. The colt previously won or placed in four starts in France and has never finished off the board. Soldier Rising cuts back to 1 1/2 miles, and he has won at the distance in the past. Win contender.

#8 Bolshoi Ballet (IRE) (5-2)

Bolshoi Ballet captured the Belmont Derby (G1) in July but could muster no better than a fourth-place finish as the favorite in the Saratoga Derby. The Aidan P. O’Brien trainee was closer to the pace than usual, couldn’t sustain the pressure, and was passed by Soldier Rising. O’Brien’s charges are usually favored in the U.S. He’s a super-trainer in Europe, but his win percentage here is a paltry seven percent over the last five years, although 33 percent hit the board. Exotics.

Jockey Club Derby Invitational Stakes

#3 Tokyo Gold (FR) (8-1)

Dismissed at 16-1, Tokyo Gold was a surprise runner-up to Bolshoi Ballet in the Belmont Derby. He previously won the Italian Derby (Gr.2) by four lengths, so perhaps his U.S. performance wasn’t too much of a stretch. Veteran rider John Velazquez retains the mount, and Tokyo Gold could be a live longshot.

#1 Tango Tango Tango (12-1)

Tango Tango Tango graduated in his fourth start in the listed American Derby. He returned a month later to just miss in the one-mile Bruce D. Stakes (G1) over good turf after dueling on the lead and bumping in the stretch. The son of Tourist may find 1 1/2 miles a little too far; most stakes horses in his family haven’t won beyond 1 1/4 miles. Still, Tango Tango Tango will likely be one of the pacesetters, draws the rail, and is worth a look to hold on for the lower exotics.

Jockey Club Derby Invitational Analysis

Yibir should love the firm turf and rarely misses picking up a check. Soldier Rising is the greatest threat, and he’ll be right there if Yibir can’t get the job done. Bolshoi Ballet is a Grade 1 winner over the course and shouldn’t be dismissed. Tokyo Gold and Tango Tango Tango have longshot chances of upsetting the exotics.

  • #2 Yibir (2-1)
  • #4 Soldier Rising (5-2)
  • #8 Bolshoi Ballet (5-2)
  • #1 Tango Tango Tango (12-1)
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About The Author
Laurie Ross
Laurie is a handicapper, pedigree consultant, and published author. Her work has been featured on numerous prominent racing websites and she is a reoccurring guest on sports radio programs. She is also a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association. Her yearly publications contain tremendous insight and value for bettors and horsemen. The Freshmen Sire Guide has received accolades from leading trainers and handicappers and her Triple Crown guides are a best-selling feature.