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Aug 05, 2011

Haskell top two headed for Saratoga


Saratoga Springs, NY (Sports Network) - The $1 million Travers Stakes may well be another opportunity for the first and second horses from the Haskell to face one another. Haskell winner Coil and runner-up Shackleford are both headed to the historic upstate New York track this week.

"We're going to give him a week and see how much energy he has before making a call," Coil's trainer Bob Baffert said. "The Travers is a strong possibility if I like what I see these next couple of weeks. That distance should not be a problem for him with his new running style."

Coil, ridden by Martin Garcia, came from last in an eight-horse field to defeat 3-2 favorite Shackleford in the Monmouth Park stakes. The Travers, known as the Mid-Summer Derby, is conducted at 1 1/4-miles.

The three-year-old colt is scheduled to arrive at Saratoga on Tuesday, one day after Shackleford.

"We have two options," trainer Dale Romans said about what to do with Shackleford, "run him in the Travers or in the Woodward against older horses."

The Preakness Stakes winner had the lead at the top of the stretch on Sunday, but was caught just before the wire to lose by a neck.

"He came out (of the Haskell) real good," Romans noted. "He comes back real quick."

Also headed for the Travers is Jim Dandy Stakes winner Stay Thirsty.

"We're pleased with the way he's doing this morning and his energy level is good," said trainer Todd Pletcher on Sunday regarding Stay Thirsty. "A good recovery, so far."

The August 27 Travers comes at a perfect time to help decide the 2011 three- year-old division.

"My feeling is that if he wins the Jim Dandy, Travers, Jockey Club Gold Cup, and Breeders' Cup Classic, I think they'll make him three-year-old champion," said Pletcher with a smile. "We have one down, three to go. But obviously it was a breakthrough race yesterday (Saturday), a race we felt like was potentially there. We were just waiting to see it, and we're happy that we did."

On the Travers undercard will be the seven-furlong King's Bishop which is expected to be Uncle Mo's return to racing. Both colts are owned by Mike Repole.

"If you would have told me at the beginning of the year, 'I think Mike is going to get the three-year-old champion,' I'd think we'd be talking about Mo instead of having this conversation in August about Stay Thirsty," Repole commented. "If another owner owned him and another trainer trained him, we'd be talking about him a lot higher than we talk about him right now.

"He gets overshadowed by Mo, and so does every other three-year-old in the country. Even on Travers Day, which could be, like, what a race for Stay Thirsty, people are going to talk about Uncle Mo being in the King's Bishop."

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