The Travers Looks to Launch a BC Contender

The Travers – Grade I
SAR   Race #12   1 1/4m   Dirt   Graded Stake
Purse $1,250.000  For Three Year Olds.

With no Pretty Ferro and indistinguishable in the field this has become the race that will decide the other three year old that will be a Classic contender. There is an interesting mix of TC also rans and new kids on the block so we may see a new star or maybe an old one that is looking to build an Autumn campaign. Here’s how they line up.

1  Zombie City    Pan Farms    Gallardo A A

When this gelding took the Jerome and the Risen Star he was firmly installed as the early KYD favourite and though defeated in the LA Derby  there were plenty that still liked his chances for the big race in May. That race is history now but his third place behind the great Pretty Ferro on a rain soaked track was very good and he had plenty of todays runners behind him that day. He missed the Preakness but came back for the BEL and was very strongly fancied to run big again but a fast pace saw his stamina give out and he was a very disappointing twelfth in the end. We last saw this exciting horse in July when he took the grade two Dandy with ease and i see nothing in his form or works that would suggest that early season campaign is taking its toll. With the ace draw, his regular rider and just about his best trip i expect to see this one have one more crack at Pretty Ferro in The Classic.

2  Dream Controlled   Mb Stables    Talamo J

Talking about great TC campaigns this gelding defeated both Indistinguishable and Pretty Ferro when he won the BEL with a game and powerful display of stamina. He had previously been seventh in the KYD but a wide draw and the speed push saw him make the running that day and we all know just how impossible it is to do that at HRP and still win. He was a little disappointing last time out when fourth in The Dandy behind Zombie City but i really think this is the type of horse who excels at the marathon trips and though this still may be a little short i expect him to run better today. That combination of champion trainer and Talamo who rode him to victory in the BEL will be tough to beat.

3  Splash Mountain    John Henry    Albarado R J

This is another who had a successful TC after missing out on the KYD when a very close third in the AR Derby saw him not gain the entry points. His effort came in the BEL where he started from gate 12 and was spat out front by the wide gate speed push. For most that would have been the end of the race but this son of Ned Isakoff stuck on so gamely that he even looked like he would hold on at one point. In the end he was third beaten only a half length in what was without a doubt a career best performance. He again got the wrong end of the draw in the Haskell last time out and on this occasion his new owner decided to try taking him back which he succeeded in doing. Taken far too far back he made ground but was a well beaten ninth in the end. I like this horse a lot and i can see him causing a shock from this his best draw for some time.

4  Centerpiece    Mb Stables    Velazquez J R

Here we are again the fourth runner and the fourth horse who had a great TC campaign. Drawn wide in the KYD he was taken back and flew home to be second in a great performance. He was again given a horrible draw in the Preakness but ran much closer to the less ridiculous pace and ended up fourth in a another good effort. He again tried stalking when taking on the Queens Plate in June and rather like the Preakness he was a little one paced at the end finishing fifth and just behind the money getters. That tactic was used again in the Haskell last time out and the result was the same although this time he ended up seventh. This is probably the first time this year he has been given a fair chance by the draw Gods and though a glance at his form suggests he is slipping i reckon we may see the old Centrepeice from this ideal alley.

5  The Spaniard    Big Jd Racing    McCarthy T

We saw last week how a horse can come from nowhere to grade one winner and BC prospect and the story is similar for this one. Claimed for ten bucks when sprinting on the turf in April he then won a couple of overnight races when switched to dirt routing and then, last time out, ran the race of his life to be beaten less than a length in the Haskell. Trying to lead that day he was very game and had some of the more fancied rivals behind him. If lightning can strike twice then here we have a horse that has come from claimers when most of this field were looking forward to a run in the Derby to having a realistic chance in a huge race heading towards the BC.

6  Rumble                  D J C Racing Stables   Ortiz I Jr

Didn’t make the Derby field despite a fast finishing fourth in the LA Derby he took advantage of that by taking the Peter Pan instead and then headed towards the BEL. A tricky draw saw him get stuck in a ruck and he really made no sort of show in that race but proved that wasnt the real him with an impressive win in the IND Derby last time out. He wouldn’t be many people’s top pick but he is just the sort who could take advantage if a couple of the others get poor runs. I know the trainer likes his entries and this could turn out to be the best of them making him one that could spice up the exotic bets.

7  Handsome    D J C Racing Stables   Pennington F

When this one added the SUN Derby to the Battaglia Memorial he became a real chance for the TC but two poor efforts in the KYD and the BEL were pretty disappointing. He ran second in the Dwyer last time so wouldnt be without a chance but i do think he has a few lengths to find with the best of these. Pennington is a plus though.

8  Performance Artist   Serenity Stables    Ortiz J L

After running second in both the Fountain Of Youth and the FL Derby he ran in all three TC races never beaten more than five lengths but failing to make the boards in any of them. To be fair every run had merit and a decent break since the BEL will have sharpened him up but its tough to see how he can turn around that form. Having said that his recent works suggest there has been some improvement so he is not out of this intriguing race.

9  Believe In Opus    Mo Mentum Farm   DeCarlo C P

Here is one of those late three year olds that can be such a good bet at this time of year. He took his maiden in January and after a couple of good efforts got back to winning ways in the Pegasus Stakes before a huge win in the MTH Cup taking down the older horses from a difficult draw. He gets a wide alley again today but this is a stronger field than the one at MTH so he may struggle to continue his winning streak.
10  Ride Or Die    Delta Farms    Colon L H

A shock winner of the Wood Memorial he got into the KYD as a late entry but a terrible draw saw him with no chance and he ran like many thought he would finishing seventeenth. It was easy to write his Wood win off as a flash in the pan after his Derby run but he proved the doubters wrong in the Preakness running a great race to be third from a much kinder draw. He ran well in the Haskell last time to be fifth from a tough draw again but sadly he once again gets dealt a bad hand today and it would take more than a bit of luck for him to get into it. The ability is there if he can overcome gate ten.

11  Sacred Sacrifice    Fractious    Alvarado J

This gelding has run some real solid races but gets zero help from the draw gods today, and it has to be said he would be a shock winner.


Wow, what a race. There really is nothing between half the field in this race but as we saw last week this is the time of year when the results can get even weirder than usual so its hard to write anything off. I think i like Zombie City for this but i dont say that with a ton of confidence.

Categories: Grade I, Races, STAKES ARTICLES

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