The sun is shining on Saratoga today, 24 hours too late to make Travers Day 2009 an unqualified success. Though Saturday brought neither the fury of the Birdstone storm nor the inexorability of 2002’s rain, the promise of day-long precipitation suppressed both handle and attendance. The weather turned out to be not quite as bad as forecast, and the backyard crowds, underneath their pop-up tents and above their beer-pong tables (just when did this become a Travers Day thing? They’re everywhere!), were undeterred, but one can’t help but wish that the sun had shone on a glorious day of racing.
Sara Louise! Making her first start since last November and only fifth lifetime, she looked like a seasoned veteran in the Victory Ride, winning by two lengths over a sloppy track. On Capitol OTB TV this morning, Godolphin’s Rick Mettee suggested that her next start might be the Grade II Gallant Bloom at Belmont on September 26th. She’d face older fillies and mares at six and a half furlongs.
Not to be outdone by her younger stablemate, Music Note returned with a splash in the Grade I Ballerina, a race that I had the good fortune to cover for the Saratogian. It felt like stealing to get her at nearly 6 – 1. Mettee mentioned the Beldame as a possible next start for her; he also suggested that training her up to one of the Breeders’ Cup races is on the table.
Between the Victory Ride and the Ballerina, Salve Germania made her presence known in the paddock, fairly galloping around the walking ring before acting up on the track and then getting up at the wire to win the Ballston Spa at 24 – 1. She’s raced in France and Germany, and her past performances combined with her name have led to her frequently being called “the German horse.” She’s in fact an Irish bred, and after making her first start in the States, she’s apparently here to stay, as Mark Singelais of the Times Union is reporting that she’s in the barn of Todd Pletcher.
Back later (which might mean tomorrow, but I hope not) with a look at the King’s Bishop and the Travers…until then, here’s your Travers winner having an afternoon snack on Friday…