Thursday, August 27, 2015

August 29-30, 2015 - Travers Day

Let's Go To The Races - August 29-30, 2015
This is a non-commercial blog

Time Ordered Races - printable file


Steve Haskin puts perspective on the Travers: "Loss can't derail Pharoah Phenomenon"

Joe Drape: New York Times


Some thoughts: No one connected with this horse should waste one moment second-guessing themselves. And Pharoah himself owes us nothing.
Keen Ice was lucky on Saturday, he caught a tired horse that, as we have seen, on any other day he couldn't get close to AP. Even a tired American Pharoah almost pulled this off.
Time enough to regroup and prepare him for a last hurrah in the Breeders Cup. In the meantime, the American Pharoah celebration can continue, we can watch him train, watch him meet and greet, we can revel in living to see something really special and the sport, at least for a short period, be in the spotlight for something positive.

As Dottie used to say about Zenyatta, "Every time she crossed the finish line, she took all that was good about the sport with her." The same can be said of American Pharoah: His campaign this year has been one long "happy dance" for the fans. No worries, Pharoah. You lost not one ounce of respect. You are and always will be a "winner", no matter what you do from here on out.

American Pharoah himself may not have been aware the effects of travel and competition were bound to catch up with him.  The signals Pharoah sent were all positive. With the positives Pharoah put out, Baffert would have been pilloried had he decided not to run him. He would have been asked, and rightfully so, "based on what?" As it was, the tired horse almost pulled it off. He was never farther back than second.  He is still the champ! They beat a tired horse yesterday, but not by much...he was never farther back than second. Even after the race, he is still the class of the field...he lost nothing in defeat.  by Deltalady

Travers Equibase Chart - click here

Race Replay with slow-motion, different angles, head on


Hard to believe, but it's true: 4 have tried,
with only Whirlaway succeeding. More below on this story!
Read about the amazing career of Whirlaway, known by his fans as 'Mr. Longtail'!
American Pharoah, by virtue of his skimpy tail has been nicknamed
by some as 'Mr. Short Tail!" Will he succeed? Today is the day we will find out!



Travers Day coverage on NBC begins at 4:00 EDT, Saturday 
UPI's Robert Kieckhefer gives a great overview for this weekend's racing, focusing, of course
on the big doings at Saratoga - click here


August 28 Gallop - Helmet Cam

Will the Pharoah Phenomenon Continue?
American Pharoah a 1-5 favorite in 10-horse field for Travers
American Pharoah arrives at Saratoga for Travers Stakes
American Pharoah draws post 2 for Travers
Baffert hopes American Pharoah meets Beholder in breeding shed
Steve Haskin issues his "advisory":  Travers Stakes: High Anxiety
American Pharoah news montage - TwinSpires
American Pharoah photo montage

National Racing Report 8-24-15 from Saratoga, published August 26). Maggie Wolfendale and Jason Blewitt recap the week's Stakes action and look ahead to this Saturday's Travers Stakes.

‘Maria’ Charges Into Personal Ensign | TDN [Thoroughbred Daily News]
Tepin seeks rebound in Ballston Spa
Haskin: Deep in the Heart of 'Texas'
Flintshire holds class edge in Sword Dancer
Private Zone looms large in Forego; Holy Boss tops King's Bishop
Smart Transition fires bullet for Travers
Dame Dorothy, La Verdad headline Ballerina at Saratoga
Video - Dan Illman DRF Live - They break for the races and return for comments

Video - Mike Smith on the El Cajon for Saturday at Del Mar
     Mike also talks about what it's like to run against American Pharoah

Stopchargingmaria, Untapable meet again; Two by A.P. Indy, America & Got Lucky also here

AND LOOK WHO'S IN THE SWORD DANCER! Some overseas talent coming, no doubt lured by the $1 Million purse: FLINTSHIRE (GB). Germany, France and Brazil are also represented. And my favorite,. TWILIGHT ECLIPSE! Lest we forget, March 23, 2013: Set new world record of 2:22.63 for 12f on turf in winning the Pan American S. at Gulfstream Park. Also, Twilight Eclipse was purchase at a livestock sale for $1,000 before winning his first two races. Looks like RED RIFLE will likely be the favorite, since he has beaten a couple of his rivals in this race recently. Sword Dancer with an international cast   Video - TVG International Cast in for the Sword Dancer


WHIRLAWAY - the only Triple Crown winner that has won the Travers, sometimes called the "fourth leg of the Triple Crown." Two nice articles about Mr. Longtail, the quirky horse that won the Triple Crown in 1941, and at the same time launched the dynasty of Calumet Farm. Below that are a short video of Whirly's TC run, and then ESPN full documentary on the career of this remarkable horse.

Brisnet - Kellie Reilly - Whirlaway cameo                      
Whirly may have driven his famous trainer to the edge of insanity, causing Plain Ben to declare him to be the "Dumbest horse I've ever trained," but Jones also knew that Whirlaway was the fastest horse he had yet trained, and continued to spend hours with the colt in an attempt to cure him of his bad habits and fears. Only Plain Ben's love for Whirlaway and his confidence in the horse's talent kept his patience intact.  From Brisnet's Kellie Reillyc- Read more

Unofficial Thoroughbred Hall of Fame - Spiletta
Whirlaway had the genetic deck stacked against him when he drew his temperament card, as both his sire and his dam had reputations for being excitable....    Hence Whirlaway inherited plenty of raw ability with a complimentary set of psychoses to match, and this heady cocktail was served up early in his two-year-old season.

The elder Jones was said to refer to Whirlaway as "The Half Wit" due to his lack of ability to run in a straight line. He had the habit of bearing out, and when he was in the lead he liked to slow down and zig-zag across the track, apparently bored.

Whirlaway with Ben JonesThe chestnut colt with the flying tail began his racing career on June 3, 1940 with a narrow victory in Chicago under Jack Richard. He was far superior to the rest of the field, as evidenced by the fact that he covered virtually every inch of the track, with special attention given the outside rail, while the rest of the youngsters ran a straight line.

Since Whirlaway was both the most promising and the most difficult horse in the Calumet lineup in 1940, Ben and Jimmy Jones decided that the fairest way to split the workload was for one of them to concentrate on Whirlaway while the other trained the rest of the barn. Ben Jones became Whirlaway's dedicated tutor.

Frightened by many things in his environment, he was difficult to saddle, prone to rear and jump, was known to miss the break, and had a penchant for going extremely wide in his races. So intractable a pupil was he that Jones called him the "dumbest horse I ever trained."  From UTHOF - Read more

  Short video about Whirlaway's Triple Crown run

ESPN Video: Whirlaway documentary - 46 minutes


A Closer Look At The Travers at Saratoga Race Course: America's Oldest Stakes Race for Thoroughbreds (from the Saratoga web site and Wikipedia)

First held in 1864, the Travers was not run in 1896, 1898, 1899, 1900, 1911, and 1912, thus the numbering of the races does not match up with the year of inception.

When the Saratoga Racing Association named the Travers Stakes for William R. Travers (one of the founders of America's oldest race course), they sought only to honor a man who'd made his mark on the sport of horse racing. Mr. Travers' horse, Kentucky, won that first in 1864.

Almost immediately, the Travers became a prestigious event, as word spread that the race was designed for only extraordinary three-year-old horses. The race has been run at four different distances during the course of its history to-date:
  • 1¾ miles (2.81 km): 1864 to 1889
  • 1½ miles (2.41 km): 1890 to 1892
  • 1¼ miles (2.01 km): 1893 to 1894, 1897
  • 1? miles (1.81 km): 1895, 1901 to 1903
  • 1¼ miles (2.01 km): 1904 to present
The present distance of 1 ¼ mile is a perfect distance for contemporary three-year-olds. The race is open to colts and geldings, carrying 126 lb (57.2 kg) and fillies, carrying 121 lbs. (54.9 kg).

The Travers creates memories every year, for thousands of people. Too many wonderful experiences to recount here, but some of those memories that have been shared by large numbers of race fans:
  • In 1941, Whirlaway became the only horse ever to win the superfecta: he'd won the Triple Crown, then went on to take the Travers, as well
  • In 1962, Jaipur won by a nose-bob in track record time over Ridan, who was considered to be more talented. The long battle (the entire 1 ¼ mile) saw the two horses duke it out the entire distance of the race.
  • In 1982, Runaway Groom (Champion Canadian three-year-old), who was trained by John DiMario, arrived at the Saratoga backstretch after a very long and exhausting season. He'd competed in the Canadian Triple Crown: he won the Prince of Wales Stakes, the Breeders' Stakes, and finished second in the Queen's Plate. Runaway Groom's Travers victory made him the only horse in racing history to beat the winners of that year's American Triple Crown in the same race. (Kentucky Derby winner Gato Del Sol; Preakness Stakes winner Aloma's Ruler and Belmont Stakes winner, Conquistador Cielo.)
Point Given, a gorgeous, big, 17hh monster, won the Travers on August 25, 2001. That day, Point Given drew a record Travers Stakes Day crowd, 60,486 fans. The race brought in a total betting handle of $34,529,273. This was also a Saratoga record to that date.  Read more at source

 For the past five decades the canoe floating in the infield pond at Saratoga is painted with the winner’s colors. In 2012, a dead heat resulted in the colors of Alpha and Golden Ticket being represented, with a second canoe added for the historic milestone.


After a race has concluded, return here and click on the CARD for a race replay from BloodHorse. About a 20-minute time delay.

Everyone's sweetheart

Time Ordered Races - printable file
Race Index
Free Past Performances for Saturday's races

Friday is 'state bred' day at Saratoga
1:00 ET  Funny Cide S Sar $200,000 2yo 6.5f    R1    CARD
2:06 ET  Fleet Indian S Sar $200,000 3yo f 9f    R3    CARD
3:13 ET  Seeking the Ante S Sar $200,000 2yo f 6.5f    R5    CARD
4:21 ET  West Point S Sar $150,000 3&up 8.5f Turf   R7  CARD
5:29 ET  Yaddo S Sar $150,000 3&up f/m 8.5f Turf   R9    CARD
6:03 ET  Albany S Sar $250,000 3yo 9f  R10    CARD
9:30 ET  Generous Portion S Dmr $150,000 2yo f 6f R6 CARD

2:35 ET  PERSONAL ENSIGN G1 BC SAR $750,000 3+ F/M 9F   R6  CARD Replay
3:10 ET  BALLERINA S G1 BC SAR $500,000 3+ F/M 7F    R7    CARD Replay
3:47 ET  KING'S BISHOP S G1 SAR $500,000 3YO 7F   R8    CARD
4:25 ET  FOREGO G1 BC SAR $700,000 3+  7F    R9    CARD
4:58 ET  Smarty Jones S G3 PRX $300,000 3yo 8.32f    R10    CARD
5:05 ET  SWORD DANCER G1 BC SAR $1,000,000 3+  12F T R10  CARD
5:39 ET  Violet S G3 Mth $100,000 3&up f/m 9f T   R11  CARD
5:46 ET  TRAVERS S G1 SAR $1,600,000 3YO 10F    R11    CARD
6:09 ET  El Cajon S (L) Dmr $100,000 3yo 8f    R3    CARD
6:20 ET  Ballston Spa G2 Sar $400,000 3+ f/m 8.5f T   R12   CARD
BC = Breeders Cup Challenge races

Personal Ensign: Sheer Drama guts out victory
Runhappy wires field in King's Bishop and set a new record
Post race interview Travers winner jockey, Javier Castellano
Keen Ice's owner, Jerry Crawford on the Travers
Flintshire crushes them in the Sword Dancer 
Private Zone runs away from Forego rivals
Will Runhappy's Rags To Riches story continue to Breeders Cup?
Unbridled Forever prevails in Ballerina

Profiles of each of the Travers Stakes contenders - NYRA

Saturday, Saratoga, post time: 5:46 p.m. EDT  R11
TRAVERS S.-GI, $1,600,000, 3yo, 1 1/4m                      NBC coverage begins at 4 EDT
1 Upstart Flatter Ortiz Jr. Violette Jr. 15-1
2 American Pharoah Pioneerof the Nile Espinoza Baffert 1-5
3 Mid Ocean Mineshaft Franco Weaver 50-1
4 Texas Red  Afleet Alex Desormeaux Desormeaux 8-1
5 Frammento  Midshipman Ortiz Zito 30-1
6 Frosted Tapit Rosario McLaughlin 6-1
7 Keen Ice  Curlin Castellano Romans 12-1
8 Tale of Verve  Tale of Ekati Stevens Stewart 30-1
9 King of New York  Street Boss Leparoux McPeek 50-1
10 Smart Transition Smart Strike Velazquez Shirreffs 20-1

3:13 ET  Smart N Fancy S Sar $100,000 3+ f/m 5.5f T  R5    CARD
5:13 ET  Vice Regent S WO $125,000 3yo 8f Turf   R9    CARD
5:14 ET  Philip H. Iselin S G3 Mth $150,000 3+  9f    R10    CARD
6:09 ET  Torrey Pines S G3 Dmr $100,000 3yo f 8f  R3 CARD

Lady Shipman sets record in Smart N Fancy

A list of all the Breeders Cup Challenge races
Randy's Rankings - Breeders Cup


DRF American Pharoah site - Videos, Races, and more 

 American Pharoah workout 8-23-15

Interview with Zayat on decision to go to Saratoga

RACHEL'S KIDS MAKE THE GRADE ON THE TRACK AT SARATOGA! Curlin's boy and Bernardini's daughter winners on debuts!



Palace Malice retired from racing
Steve Haskin: The Legacy of John Nerud
Steve Haskin: Nerud, The Fox, and The Rivalry
A racing giant passes away - Jon White on John Nerud
Beholder belongs in Classic
‘Plenty Of Options’ For Golden Horn | TDN [Thoroughbred Daily News]


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