But there will be no shortage of recognizable names and stakes winners when six horses go to the post in this Saturday’s 140th running of the Travers. Some notes from this morning’s draw:
Mssrs. Zito, Asmussen, Mott, and Pletcher did not attend; Asmussen assistant Scott Blasi spoke on behalf of the barn, but no one commented on the entry and post positions of Our Edge, Hold Me Back, and Quality Road respectively.
Of Mine That Bird’s absence, NYRA communications director Dan Silver said, “Mine That Bird’s owners want to show extra caution” following the gelding’s throat surgery earlier this month; Silver also observed that over the last few months, trainer Chip Woolley has become “one of the top ambassadors” of horse racing.
Tim Ice, trainer of Belmont winner Summer Bird, noted that his horse “likes his sleep,” often taking a nap after his morning workout (and wouldn’t we all like to do that?). When asked about running in the Travers, Ice said, “Saratoga is what racing is all about.”
Blasi noted that Kensei got off to a late start this year, missing the Triple Crown trail, but that he’s developed with each race. “The races have gotten longer and he’s gotten faster,” Blasi said.
Kiaran McLaughlin, trainer of Charitable Man, observed that his colt didn’t like the mile and a half distance of the Belmont as much as he’d hoped. “Luckily, we won’t have to run that distance again,” he said. He indicated that he thought that there would be plenty of pace in the race, and that he was inclined to leave initial racing strategy to jockey Ramon Dominguez. “I’m not going to tell him anything,” he said. “He wins three races every day.”
Trainer Ian Wilkes said of Warrior’s Reward, “He’s a slow-maturing horse.” He remarked that the colt lacks a “killer instinct,” and that he wants to run with the horses alongside him. “[Jockey] Calvin [Borel] knows him real well.”
Brian will be along on Friday with his preview of the $1 million, all-stakes Pick 4 on Travers Day, and I’ll post some historical information about the race in the next day or two.