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Sep 02, 2005

AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD

By: JOE GIRARDI


As they wrap up the Saratoga meeting and head to the Fall meeting at Belmont with

the Breeders’ Cup as the Climax on October 29th we will take a look at the result

 of the Travers Stakes, run at Saratoga on August 27th.

With four Graded stakes races on the Travers card we will take a look at all of

them as they will have an impact on the Breeders’ Cup. In the Grade II Fourstardave

 Handicap on the turf the winner was the favorite, LEROIDESANIMAUX, a

Bobby Frankel trainee who was coming off six straight wins but had not been seen

 since March 5th. After clearing off to the lead through fractions of 23:1, 47:1,

 1:10:3, 1:33:4 he finished up in 1:39:4, a course record time. His jockey

John Velazquez had dropped the reins into the stretch but recovered in time to

score by more than a length over second choice SILVER TREE. Frankel said the

main objective is the Breeders’ Cup Mile and he will be a force to reckon with if he

 makes it there.

In the next race, the Grade I Hopeful Stakes for two year olds, to be run at

seven furlongs. The odds-on choice in this race was HENNY HUGHES, who was

 3 for 3 and had done so in impressive fashion. HE was rumored to be purchased

 by Darley Stud for more than $4 million after his second start. However, this

was his first time at seven furlongs and was facing another undefeated colt in

FIRST SAMURAI. After breaking in third early, HENNY HUGHES tracked

the pace of TOO MUCH BLING and FIRST SAMURAI through fractions of

22:1, 44:4, 1:09:1 before coming home in a final time of 1:23:1.

 HENNY HUGHES found the water a little too deep this time and was all out

to finish a distant second to FIRST SAMURAI , who is now 3 for 3 after that

 race and looks like one of the top two year olds in the country. Being by

GIANT’S CAUSEWAY he can only get better as the distances get longer.

In the next race the Grade I King’s Bishop Stakes for three year olds going seven

 furlongs we saw the heaviest favorite of the day in the undefeated LOST IN THE FOG.

 He didn’t disappoint scoring by almost five lengths in a solid time of 1:22:2. That

 win ran his record to 9 for 9 and has him on track for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

 His connections have said that 75-25 they will run in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. If

he does run in that Sprint with his 9 for 9 record he is sure to take a lot of money.

 He has had some problems with his hoof, although minor problems, he has been

 traveling a lot this year and the fact that he will race with horses that can stay with

 him early will make him very vulnerable. However, with that being said if he does

 win that race he will have to be looked at as a Horse of the Year contender as

well as top three year old.

In the big race the Travers Stakes, the slight favorite was the Haskell winner

ROMAN RULER from the Bob Baffert barn. The close second choice was

BELLAMY ROAD, who hadn’t run since the Kentucky Derby and was coming off

 an injury. The third choice in the race was FLOWER ALLEY, an easy winner of

 the Jim Dandy Stakes and ninth place finisher in the Kentucky Derby. When

 the gate opened BELLAMY ROAD was quickly clear to the lead with

FLOWER ALLEY tracking that one closely and ROMAN RULER a few lengths behind

 those two. As they headed down the backstretch jockey Javier Castellano on

BELLAMY ROAD tried to slow it down but John Velazquez, FLOWER ALLEY’S

jockey wouldn’t have it and put pressure on BELLAMY ROAD, basically winning

 the race right there. As they headed into the stretch, FLOWER ALLEY got the better

 of BELLAMY ROAD and drew away for a two and a half length win. BELLAMY ROAD

 was clearly second best and should be given extra credit for that race with all the

 factors working against him heading into the race. ROMAN RULER showed that

 maybe he is still a few steps behind the top three year olds and checked in a well

 beaten third. These two may meet again before the Breeders Cup and are two

three year olds that will have to be reckoned with come October 29th.



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