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Sep 03, 2010

Afleet Express holds off Fly Down to win Travers


Saratoga Springs, NY (Sports Network) - Afleet Express, ridden by Javier Castellano, edged a late running Fly Down to capture Saturday's $1 million Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course. The time for the 1 1/4-miles was 2:03.28 on a fast track.

The Travers, also known as the Mid-Summer Derby, had a field of 11 evenly matched three-year-olds for the 1 1/4-miles. Haskell runner-up Trappe Shot went off as the 7-2 favorite and Jim Dandy winner A Little Warm was second at 9-2.

Setting the pace was Jim Dandy runner-up Miner's Reserve followed by First Dude, A Little Warm and Trappe Shot. Entering the far turn Miner's Reserve and jockey David Cohen continued on the lead with First Dude, second in the Preakness, still pressing the pace.

Around the final turn Afleet Express assumed the lead along the rail as Belmont Stakes runner-up Fly Down and rider Jose Lezcano rallied on the outside.

Afleet Express took the lead coming out of the turn and into the stretch. Fly Down came charging down the middle of the track and drew even with the leader with a furlong to run.

The two battled down the stretch right to the wire. The two colts hit the wire together in what appeared to be a dead-heat. Afleet Express, one of three Afleet Alex sons in the Travers, nosed out Fly Down with a bob of the head.

First Dude finished third with Afleet Again fourth. Completing the order finish was A Little Warm, Friend Or Foe, Miner's Reserve, Ice Box, Trappe Shot, Super Saver and Admiral Alex. Afleet Again and Admiral Alex were also sired by 2005 champion three-year-old colt Afleet Alex.

Afleet Express returned $16.00, $7.80 and $4.90. Fly Down paid $6.90 and $5.20, and First Dude paid $4.60 to show.

Trained by Jimmy Jerkens, Afleet Express is owned by Gainesway Stable and Martin Cherry. The colt earned $600,000 with the win to bring his career earnings to $835,140.

"There are people who go and run in the Derby just to run in the Derby," Jerkens said this week, "even though they know they're going to get beat 100 lengths. I don't see what you get out of that. To be in here in a race that has gotten as prestigious as this has and to have a horse with a good chance is pretty exciting."

In his seven-race career, Afleet Express has won four times with a second and a third. He was third in Saratoga's Jim Dandy Stakes and won the Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park in June. Castellano has been aboard Afleet Express the last four races.

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