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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