The Upcoming Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational & The Goodwood Stakes. Where Being Virtual Can Be Rewarding!

09/26/2011 01:28 pm ET | Updated Nov 26, 2011

There are two more chances for everyone attending "Win and You're In" Breeders' Cup qualifying races, to have an ownership interest in a horse running in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill Downs on November 5.

It will be a "virtual ownership", but that's OK with me. As participants in the Breeders' Cup Ownership Challenge, we'll have more than a rooting interest in the Classic -- if our horse wins, we'll split a pot of $250,000.

The final east coast Ownership Challenge race is the Grade 1 $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational on October 1 at Belmont Park, NY. On the west coast, the last qualifying race is the $250,000 Grade 1 Goodwood Stakes on October 1 at Santa Anita Park, CA.

If the planets align, I will be at Belmont Park on October 1. I am looking forward to a some great racing -- in addition to the Gold Cup, which Haynesfield won in 2010 to run 11th in the 2010 Breeders' Cup Classic. There are five other graded stakes running that day that will qualify their winners for a spot in their Breeders' Cup division - the $500,000 G1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational, the $500,000 G1 Flower Bowl Invitational for fillies and mares on the turf, the $350,000 Beldame Invitational for fillies and mares, the $350,000 Vosburgh Invitational for sprinters, and the $200,000 Grade 2 Kelso.

Fourteen horses were nominated to this year's Jockey Club Gold Cup.

One, Tizway, has been scratched due to a slight fever interrupting his training schedule. By the way, Tizway already qualified for the BC Classic by winning the Whitney Handicap at Saratoga, and, when he won the Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park on Memorial Day, he qualified for the BC Dirt Mile. Tizway is the first horse in the history of the Breeders' Cup to qualify in two categories in one year. He is impressive!

Although nominated to the Gold Cup, owner Mike Repole has confirmed that his 2010 Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner & Eclipse champion Uncle Mo is targeted for the G2 Kelso Stakes at a mile on the dirt.

Nominee To Honor and Serve was also entered in last Saturday's Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Race Track, Bensalem, PA. Not only was he entered, To Honor and Serve returned to impressive form with a record setting, decisive victory in the PA Derby. Nominee and 2011 Belmont Stakes winner Ruler On Ice demonstrated his maturing as a race horse with a tactical trip to be second. Nominee Rattlesnake Bridge, who was second to Stay Thirsty in the Travers, finished third.

Any of the nine remaining nominees could win this years' Gold Cup - depending on the track, the trip and of course, good luck. To me, the appealing thing about the Ownership Challenge is that whoever wins the race is my horse. I don't have to rely on my iffy-at-best handicapping.

So at Belmont on Oct. 1, I'll fill out the card and register. Then, say Birdrun wins. He's now my virtual Classic horse along with all the other people who signed up at Belmont that day. If Birdrun goes on to win the Breeders' Cup Classic, all his virtual owners will share in the $250,000 cash prize. According to Jim Gluckson at the Breeders' Cup, 3880 racegoers signed up for the Ownership Challenge the day of the Whitney. Should Tizway win the Classic each of those people will receive $64 and change.

Finally, all you handicappers who are shaking your heads at the prospect of Birdrun winning the Gold Cup, history has shown us to never discount Birdstone's offspring in a big race. They show up. But then again, so do the Bernardini's... And the Tiznow's ...

The likely runners* in the Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational are:

Game On Dude (also nominated for the G1 Goodwood Stakes, Santa Anita)

The nominees* for the Goodwood Stakes at Santa Anita on October 1 are:

Game on Dude (Cross-nominated to the Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational)

*Data from Equibase