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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Travers Showdown a Two-Horse Race

Post positions will be drawn on Wednesday morning for the.....

I see it as a two horse race, as you may have noticed.  Though I suppose I could have made that point in a more mature manner.  I'm already on record as saying that Orb will not win another race this year, and I'm sticking with that, hyperbaric chambers and spa treatments notwithstanding. The Derby champ worked a half in 47.66 seconds on Monday.  Gary West, writing for, noted:
 Beneath her [exercise rider Jennifer Patterson], the horse glided over the surface, contracting and then springing and reaching forward with each stride so that for an instant he would seem parallel to the earth, contoured like an horizon, and all the while, for the entire half-mile and beyond, he pointed his ears skyward, alert to the morning's birdsong or maybe to the cameras' shutters.
 Oh, jeez, for heaven's sake.
 He's back, alert and focused, his bright eyes shiny as marbles.
Yeah, I don't really go for that kind of literary flourish when it comes to workout reports, but I'll presume that the horse worked well.  That's fine; still, my gut tells me the horse won't bounce back from his Triple Crown journey even with his marble eyes, and won't win another race until/if he races at four.  But even if I'm wrong and he runs quite well on Saturday, doesn't mean he's gonna come close to beating Palace Malice, who my gut tells me is ready to move further forward and ultimately be a strong contender on Breeders Cup Saturday.
 “He seems to be thriving,” Pletcher said. “The more he does the better he gets.”  [DRF]
 Here's hoping he's not the favorite.  I'd like to see the odds on who will be.

 - In the 10th on Wednesday, Cielo Soleggiato (6-1) has a good name, goes second off a 149-day layoff, and stretches out to nine furlongs on the inner turf for trainer Dominic Schettino.  This barn has not been tearing it up at the meet (25-3-4-2), but did have a winner on Monday, and earns a perfect 100 TimeformUS trainer rating in the Second Since Layoff category.  (We define a layoff for these purposes as a minimum of 90 days.)

He had the rail at seven furlongs in his last, his turf debut, couldn't keep up with the speedy Gentle Jim, and faded to 6th.  Still, he finished less than five lengths behind the winner, Orino, who went on to be first under the wire in a state-bred stakes only to be questionably dq'd.  Stretching out here and breaking from a more strategic post, Pace Projector has him with a clear lead, and Cielo Soleggiato has a lot of turf-distance influence in his pedigree that suggests he can take them all the way around.  He's by Sky Mesa, out of a Dixie Union mare who's a half-sister to Moments of Magic, who won the mile and a half Dowager Stakes at Keeneland in 1999.  His second dam is a half to Fortnightly, who won the mile and a quarter Secretariat and was second in the 11 furlong Manhattan, and Ten Below, who won the mile and a half Lawrence Realization at Belmont in 1982 (as reported then by Steven Crist of the NY Times).  He also attracts the services of jockey Joel Rosario (second in the jockey standings, five behind Castellano), who doesn't often ride for this trainer.  Best of luck and have a great day.


Anonymous said...

"He's back, alert and focused, his bright eyes shiny as marbles."

This is what many say about you when you're back blogging after a vacation.

I could see Orb winning if they mix it up a bit.


Figless said...

I was a true believer in ORB and respect Shug mightily but beating a quality field going 10f off a layoff would be a hall of fame accomplishment.

Highly skeptical, but then again Shug IS in the HOF and the horse is undefeated at the distance.

Interesting race from sporting perspective but rare case of me having absolutely no opinion on a winner, suspect it may be a bomb.

Figless said...

The G1's have been unusually chalky this year, could the Travers be the race after which the media gets to use the "Graveyard of Champions" headline they have been sitting on?

Anonymous said...

Verrazano isn't winning. Even with the regency advantage at 10 furlongs at the Spa whether he finishes in front of Orb is an even money proposition. Where he won't finish is in front of more than one of the top three from The Jim Dandy.

ljk said...

A brilliant workout a few days ahead of a 10f race where there looks to be a legitimate pace scenario. Worked in the Derby and could work in the Travers. Discard Orb at your own risk.

I'll be using 5 horses

Alan Mann said...

ljk - Orb had a brilliant work before the Preakness too, the one that Shug was all ga-ga over. So I'm not impressed. :-)

However, if he's really 4-1 as his morning line indicates (about which I have serious doubts...a Derby winner, on Travers day?), I will have to use him in some fashion.

ballyfager said...

IMO the only issue is whether Verrazano can get the distance. If he can, the rest are running for seond money.

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