NEW YORK -- Flying Continental, owned by Washington Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke, charged into the lead 50 yards from the wire yesterday and won the Jockey Club Gold Cup.
The 4-year-old colt, racing in the East for the first time, took the lead from De Roche and beat him by a neck after 1 1/4 miles at Belmont Park in 2 minutes, 3/5 seconds.
The victory snapped the eight-race winning streak of Izvestia, the winner of Canada's Triple Crown.
In two stakes for 2-year-olds, Meadow Star remained unbeaten in five races with a 14-length victory in the $285,00 Frizette for fillies, and Fly So Free scored an upset in the $636,000 Champagne for colts. In that race, favored Deposit Ticket finished last in a 13-horse field.
Flying Continental, ridden by Corey Black, was sixth after three-quarters of a mile and fourth after a mile.
The winner then charged down the middle of the stretch to blow by Izvestia, then nail De Roche inside the sixteenth pole for his third victory in six starts this year in a race that served as a prep for the $3 million Breeders' Cup Classic, Oct. 27 at Belmont.
Izvestia, ridden by Craig Perret, took the lead before the half-mile pole, then gave it up to De Roche, ridden by Angel Cordero Jr., at the quarter pole.
Flying Continental, who carried 126 pounds, returned $12.20, $6 and $3.60 in earning $503,100 from a purse of $838,500. The win pushed his earnings for 1990 past $1 million.
De Roche returned $8.20 and $3. Izvestia paid $2.40.
Lay Down, Thirty Six Red and Steinlen, making only his second start on the dirt in 44 races, completed the order of finish.
Izvestia and Thirty Six Red each carried 121 pounds as 3-year-olds. The others carried 126.
"He was tremendous," Flying Continental's trainer, Jay Robbins, said. "He [Black] did the right thing taking back out of the gate.
"He didn't want to be used early. I didn't think he'd be dropping out that much at the start."
It was a tremendous performance by Flying Continental, but the star of the day was Meadow Star, who led by a half-length with a half-mile to go in the 1-mile Frizette, by a length with a quarter-mile left and by six lengths at the eighth pole. She finished in a stakes-equaling record of 1:35 2/5.