- Interest in the Travers has been revived with the entry of Bellamy Road, and NYRA’s Bill Nader is expecting 50,000 or more to show up on Saturday. "I think there are a lot of people who will come out and see this horse run," said jockey Javier Castellano, who will ride Bellamy Road. "He is a big, black beautiful horse." [Albany Times-Union]
Paul Moran of Newsday provides his take on the Bellamy Road team’s decision to opt for the Travers.
To beat Lost in the Fog, something no horse has done, it is necessary to be somewhere in the same vicinity at the furlong pole of a 7-furlong race. Lost in the Fog, who is 8-for-8, has run twice at the distance. On the day Bellamy Road won the Wood at Aqueduct, Lost in the Fog hit the furlong pole there in 1:08.80 in the Bay Shore. He won the Riva Ridge on Belmont Stakes day after 6 furlongs in 1:08.60. Bellamy Road is a fast, free-running horse with immense potential, but asking him to run fast enough to defeat probably the best sprinter in the nation, while coming off an injury and a layoff, would be reckless. The Travers is the softer spot.- Reverberate is 8-1 in the morning line, and jockey Jose Santos says that the colt has developed since his second in the Jim Dandy. "His neck is getting bigger and he is getting more muscular. Can we win? Well, you never know. I've seen a lot of surprises before. We're going into this thinking we can win." [Albany Times Union]
If he was a magnificent physical specimen in May, Bellamy Road is only more so in August, and he has trained purposefully here. "He's an amazing horse," Zito said. "He's developed; he's gotten taller and longer. Hopefully, if he can duplicate his Wood Memorial, you'll see what kind of horse he is."
If Bellamy Road is the horse he appeared to be in May, it will be evident Saturday. This is not the bizarre, 20-horse stampede he encountered in Louisville. He is clearly the speed of a seven-horse field and in position to control the pace, as he did in the Wood.
- Henny Hughes will be the focus of the Hopeful, but another 2 yo with a buzz at Saratoga is First Samurai. He was bet off the board in his dominant entry-level allowance win here earlier in the meet, and is the likely second choice in the Hopeful.
The massive, well-chiseled First Samurai is a favorite with Saratoga's breakfast crowds. Fans snap photos as he stands near the finish line before embarking on his training -- so composed that on his first day training at Saratoga, breakfast commentator Mary Ryan informed her audience that the colt surely was an older horse. [Louisville Courier-Journal]Owner Lansdon Robbins spoke about the son of Giant’s Causeway’s two wins: "The first time he ran, he had a horse right next to him and he was toying with him.....Pat Day was riding him that day and he didn't even ask him. He did the same thing in his race here and he had a lung infection, too." [Bloodhorse] Emphasis added by me. I guess it wasn't an Afleet Alex type of lung infection, just a regular old Saratoga one.
- Nobody will ever accuse Billy Turner of rushing a 2 year old to the races. After weeks of anticipation, it looks less and less likely that our Highland Cat will be running up here at Saratoga. The only remaining possibility is a race written for next Friday, Sept 2, but the feeling is we'll be waiting for Belmont. It wasn't a wasted trip for the colt though; he's progressed well in his workouts, and he was able to catch the Grand Funk Railroad / Edgar Winter gig down in Albany last week.