Marlboro Cup Invitational Handicap

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The Marlboro Cup Invitational Handicap was a Thoroughbred horse race first run in September 1973 at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. A Grade 1 race for horses 3 years old and up, it was raced over a distance of ​1 18 miles on a dirt track.[1]

Marlboro Cup Invitational Handicap
Discontinued Grade 1 race
LocationBelmont Park
Elmont, New York, United States
Race typeThoroughbredFlat racing
Race information
Distance1 18 miles (9 furlongs)
QualificationThree-years-old & up

The race came into existence as a result of the huge popularity of Secretariat, who in 1973 became the first U.S. Triple Crown champion in twenty-five years. Such was the drawing power of Secretariat that CBS television readily agreed to broadcast the race nationally, a rare occurrence at the time for a non-Triple Crown or traditional "classic" event (such as the Travers Stakes). Originally conceived as a match race with Secretariat's stablemate and 1972 Kentucky Derby winner Riva Ridge, it was changed to an invitational race that brought together the top horses 3 years of age and older.

In the inaugural race, Secretariat set a world record time for ​1 18 miles on dirt while winning by ​3 12 lengths on a track officially rated as being only "good".[2] The race became a very important annual event and 1978 marked the first of only two times in racing history that two American Triple Crown winners met in a single race, with Seattle Slew, the 1977 champion, defeating the 1978 champion Affirmed by three lengths. (The two met again in that year's edition of the Jockey Club Gold Cup; Seattle Slew lost by a nose to Exceller, while Affirmed finished up the track due to a slipped saddle.)[3]

For many years the Marlboro Cup was part of Belmont Park's Fall Championship meet and the track's owner, the New York Racing Association, created a Fall Championship Series consisting of the Woodward Stakes, followed by the Marlboro Cup, and then the Jockey Club Gold Cup. In 1984, Slew o' Gold became the first horse to win the Fall Series for which he received a $1,000,000 bonus.[4] CBS and later NBC continued to broadcast the Marlboro into the 1980s.

The advent of the Breeders' Cup races in 1984 marked the beginning of the end for the Marlboro Cup. In 1987, the 15th edition of the race attracted just five horses and was picked up for broadcast on cable television only.[5]


Speed record:

Most wins:

  • No horse won this race more than once.

Most wins by a jockey:

Most wins by a trainer:

Most wins by an owner:


Year Winner Age Jockey Trainer Owner
Time Win$ Gr.
1987 Java Gold 3 Pat Day MacKenzie Miller Rokeby Stables 1-1/4 m 2:01.00 $450,000 G1
1986 Turkoman 4 Gary Stevens Gary F. Jones Saron Stable 1-1/4 m 2:00.00 $300,000 G1
1985 Chief's Crown 3 Don MacBeth Roger Laurin Star Crown Stable (Estate of Carl Rosen) 1-1/4 m 2:01.20 $300,000 G1
1984 Slew o' Gold 4 Angel Cordero Jr. John O. Hertler Equusequity Stable (Jim & Sally Hill, Mickey & Karen Taylor) 1-1/4 m 2:02.40 $240,000 G1
1983 Highland Blade 5 Jacinto Vasquez David A. Whiteley Pen-Y-Bryn Farm 1-1/4 m 2:01.20 $240,000 G1
1982 Lemhi Gold 4 Jacinto Vasquez Laz Barrera Aaron U. Jones 1-1/4 m 2:01.00 $240,000 G1
1981 Noble Nashua 3 Ruben Hernandez Jose A. Martin Flying Zee Stable (Carl Lizza, Jr. & Herbert Hochreiter) 1-1/4 m 2:00.60 $240,000 G1
1980 Winter's Tale 4 Jeffrey Fell MacKenzie Miller Rokeby Stables 1-1/8 m 1:47.00 $180,000 G1
1979 Spectacular Bid 3 Bill Shoemaker Bud Delp Hawksworth Farm (Harry & Teresa Meyerhoff) 1-1/8 m 1:46.60 $180,000 G1
1978 Seattle Slew 4 Angel Cordero Jr. Douglas R. Peterson Karen & Mickey Taylor 1-1/8 m 1:45.80 $180,000 G1
1977 Proud Birdie 4 Jacinto Vasquez James W. Maloney Marablue Farm (A. Douglas Henderson) 1-1/4 m 2:00.80 $167,760 G1
1976 Forego 6 Bill Shoemaker Frank Y. Whiteley Jr. Lazy F Ranch 1-1/4 m 2:00.00 $170,220 G1
1975 Wajima 3 Braulio Baeza Stephen A. DiMauro East-West Stable (Zenya Yoshida, James A. Scully, Harold I. Snyder, James Welch) 1-1/4 m 2:00.00 $150,000 G1
1974 Big Spruce 5 Michael Hole Victor J. Nickerson Elmendorf Farm 1-1/8 m 1:46.60 $150,000
1973 Secretariat 3 Ron Turcotte Lucien Laurin Meadow Stable 1-1/8 m 1:45.40 $150,000

External linkEdit


  1. ^ Palm Beach Post – September 15, 1973
  2. ^ "Secretariat Wins, Setting a World Record". New York Times, page 1. 1973-09-16. Retrieved 2020-12-31. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ The Age – September 17, 1973
  4. ^ "Slew o' Gold, Like His Father, Is Horse of Year". Los Angeles Times. 1985-02-09. Retrieved 2020-01-24. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ Anchorage Daily News – September 21, 1987