Travers Stakes preview

by TCI 8 months ago

Jon & Joel recap the Arlington Turf Festival before setting up a huge weekend of racing that is sure to have a major impact on many Breeders’ Cup divisions, including the prestigious Travers S. (G1) for 3-year-olds, as well as many other “Win And You’re In” Breeders’ Cup Challenge stakes this Friday thru Sunday. Watch it. Comment.

Discussion

  • JR

    Hey Joel,
    What do you think of Joel and his foot. If they have to put a new rider on Orb, I’m not so sure how that will work out. It took a couple of races for Gary Stevens on Oxbow to get the hang of him. Even if Joel will be allowed to ride I can’t imagine that he could possibly be 100%, pain or pain killers would affect him IMO. Can you imagine what Bob and Shrug must be thinking, there is so must on the line for these two horses.

    Kind Regards,
    JR

    • Joel Cunningham

      Hey JR! Sorry I’m a bit late with this, been traveling. I agree the loss of Rosario in this weekend’s G1s likely had some impact on Orb, Forty Tales, Judy the Beauty (obviously gate scratched), etc. The main thing about Lezcano was the inexperience factor of not knowing the horse like you said…I wasnt as worried about him physically. I’m not sure if Orb likes being down on the inside of horses when he makes his move. Some horses clearly run better with a mark on a horse from the outside. However, I am of the belief that Orb was a little short the way he went from easily collaring Moreno to then coming up flat inside the eighth pole… I had been worried about his fitness for a classic-distanced race against this level of competition without a prep coming in, and sure enough it appears he was a tad short, so I wont waver from my belief yet that Orb is still the best classic horse of this class.

  • 1JoeP

    Hi Joel – The Travers made some things clearer for the BC Classic picture. Verrazano showed what most people suspected, he can’t get 1 1/4. After 1/2 mile Johnny V. said Verrazano was just going thru the motions, never really showed a kick. I suspect he may have bounced off of his big Haskell effort. If Pletcher freshens him up before the BC he could be a major player in the Dirt Mile. WTC ran a great race from mid pack. He seems to be peaking at the right time and should be a major player in the BC Classic. Palace Malice missed the break and still rallied for 4th. Mike Smith believes that PM was much the best in this race but the bad start killed him. If they freshen him up for the classic, he should come at a good price, and if he gets a good break out of the gate, and can get that stalking position that he likes, he could be the one to beat in the BC Classic. Joel – What do you think of Capo Bastone as a solid BC Dirt Mile Contender? He ran a big race in the Kings Bishop coming off the pace. At mid stretch he blew by the leader and won going away by 2 lengths. He could be under the radar, but I believe he would have a big shot if Pletcher puts him in the Dirt Mile. Goldencents races on Sunday in the Pat Obrien, a BC Dirt Mile win and youre in race. If he impresses here, he seems to be a major playor in the Dirt Mile picture, we know he loves the SA track.

    • Joel Cunningham

      Hey Joe! Great analysis, I agree that Verrazano is simply best from 7-9 furlongs…I’ve always felt that way about him and I really see similarities to other brilliant Pletcher 3yos in recent years like Uncle Mo, Quality Road, Shanghai Bobby, etc. No question that he’s a prime BC Dirt Mile contender.

      Doesn’t surprise me that WTC won this, he clearly is in top form and likes Saratoga, which the latter statement is important imo. But the race sort of fell apart for him to win…he was completely out-moved on the turn but he’s one of those steady, long-striding grinders that just keeps powering to the wire. I’m not sure he’ll ever win many big races where there’s an explosive finish, but in races that fall apart he has shown that his grinding style can get the job done.

      You’re right, Palace Malice was taken out of his style after a poor break and it cost him… I believe he was best Saturday. Capo Bastone wasn’t surprising to me, although I was surprised at how easily he won. He seems like he’s made to be a late-runner around one turn. So I would like him more if the BC were held somewhere like Churchill or Belmont where a mile is one turn…but at Santa Anita where it’s two turns and speed is deadly, I think Capo Bastone would be up against it IMO. I would like Goldencents more because of his tactical speed over that SA track.

  • JR

    Hey Joel,
    The one time I do not include WTC in the exotics, and he wins, go figure.

    Kurt Hoover on HRTV said something that I had never thought of, WTC has had 12 races, and not once was he ever the favorite. He thinks that could be a record :)

    I too was a little surprised about Orb on the inside, Shug has always said he likes the outside, maybe he just needed this race after the 77 day lay off. Interesting that Orb will be going back to Fair Hill, since Shug has a barn there now. Who ever said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Joel, have you ever been to Fair Hill?

    Boy, that Dude what can you say, except he has a lot of heart, he made that field look bad. I was surprised Dullahan was so far out of it. Is it me or is Romans having a bad year?

    Well Joel, onward and upward to the next races. Take care my friend.
    Kind Regards,
    JR

    • Joel Cunningham

      Ha! I think Lukas’ reputation in recent years has much to do with that… WTC had some bad races and Lukas kept running showing faith by running him against top company, which we see from DWL a lot… and most of the time they are high odds because of it. Burt this time was different…much like Oxbow in the Preakness IMO… these colts can run, and while the Travers field was so tough that he would have never been the favorite coming into it, I did feel like he was a contender based on his Jim Dandy performance.

      I agree with you about Orb, I think he wants to rally out in the clear, and perhaps he didn’t want to push through that hole on the fence when he came up to Moreno so easily… But the way he went from a lot of horse to getting flat inside the 1/8th pole makes em believe he just came up tired, which makes sense considering the layoff you mention and no prep coming in. Realistically, it’s just very very hard to ask a colt to gain 100 lbs, train without his trainer at a remote track for a couple months, then expect an A+ effort against Grade 1 company at a Classic distance of 1 1/4 miles. That’s a lot to ask out of any horse.

      I have never been to Fair Hill but would love to. Considered it last year for a project we were working on but never worked it out. Hopefully some day soon…I hear it’s beautiful there.

      I agree that ‘Dude’ was incredible. But he did have things his own way through some moderate fractions for his cruising standards. I think this race was foiled from the start when Casse and his jock decided to go out into the middle of the track to discourage Blueskiesandrainbows (who was 60-1 I might add) from crossing over Delegation in what was one of the most bizarre things I’ve seen in a big race in terms of strategy. They totally over-thought the race and left the chalk all alone on the lead with a favorable trip because of it… while they worried about a huge longshot from the 13-hole. Talk about a head-scratcher. I knew the race was over on the far turn, however, to ‘Dude’s’ credit I didn’t think he would open up and finish like that on Poly… he indeed showed a dynamic closing punch that I had never previously seen out of him over the Polytrack surface. What a nice horse.


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