How to bet the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

September 27th, 2018

Robert Bruce prevails in the Arlington Million (G1) (c) Jamie Newell/

Eight turf stayers will contest the $500,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) at Belmont Park on Saturday, with an entry in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) awaiting the winner. The “Win & You’re In” event will be held at 12 panels on the green and is a challenging handicapping puzzle. Five in the field exit the Sword Dancer (G1) at Saratoga last time.

ROBERT BRUCE (#1) (2-1)Arlington Million (G1) star gets a cozy rail post for Chad Brown. Chilean import has been defeated just once and stretches out to 1 1/2 miles for just the second time.

HI HAPPY (#2) (6-1) – Todd Pletcher trainee was best in the Man o’ War (G1) on this lawn and will hope to regain that form following a pair of unplaced efforts. Luis Saez has the assignment.

SADLER’S JOY (#3) (5-1) – Defending champ has the best turn of foot in the field for Tom Albertrani. Kitten’s Joy chestnut is better than his Sword Dancer showing when stuck behind tepid fractions most recently.

CARRICK (#4) (8-1)Secretariat (G1) upsetter is three-for-four lifetime in preparation of a debut with elders. Tom Morley trainee is a horse on the rise and has trained well in the interim. John Velazquez opting to stay in the silks is a big positive.

TEODORO (#5) (15-1) – Euro import has not faced the best overseas but will receive Lasix for the initial time. Group 3 victor has pace and can’t be overlooked in his U.S. bow.

SPRING QUALITY (#6) (4-1) – Graham Motion charge has elevated his game since moving to the turf last fall. Manhattan (G1) hero closed for third in the Sword Dancer off the shelf and looms large with improvement.

HIGHLAND SKY (#7) (12-1) – Barclay Tagg trainee is unplaced in his previous four graded outings. Sky Mesa gelding has done some of his best work at Belmont but will need marked improvement against this bunch.

CHANNEL MAKER (#8) (9-2) – Gelded son of English Channel was outrun in the Joe Hirsch a year ago. Mott pupil exits a big second in the Sword Dancer and will challenge today with a similar performance from the outer post.


The pace of the race will be dictated by the trio of Hi Happy, Spring Quality, Teodoro, with the latter showing early interest in his European endeavors. With likely moderate splits up front each runner in the cast should be in striking range in the lane.

With Spring Quality drawing outside of the aforementioned duo, I expect him to get a dream trip all the way to the winners’ circle beneath Edgar Prado.


$20 Win and Place #6 SPRING QUALITY = $40
$1 Tri Key 6 with all with all = $42