Gygistar the winner of the King's Bishop Stakes with John Velazquez up.
Travers Weekend Stakes
Personal Ensign Handicap
The upper class of three-year-olds were represented in two races on the afternoon. The distance horses went to the Travers, but potential sprint champions plied their trade in the Grade 1 King's Bishop Stakes, a seven furlong event over the main track. Despite the sloppy conditions only one horse scratched, so a field of nine faced the starter looking for the winner's share of the $200,000 purse. Mark Hennig trainee Gygistar was sent off as the big 1.45-1 favorite.
When the gate opened 14-1 shot Boston Common went for the early lead, setting a brisk early pace of 22.26 and 44.91 with 12-1 shot Day Trader giving chase to his outside. Gygistar stalked these two, out in the three path. At the top of the stretch, jockey John Velazquez asked the favorite and he easily passed the two longshots, drawing off easily to a three length win over Boston Common in a time of 1:22.85. 10-1 shot Thunder Days, outrun early, put in a mild rally through traffic to beat Day Trader for third, 12 lengths behind the winner.
Purse: $200,000 Distance: 7 furlongs
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 9 Gygistar Velazquez 4.90 3.60 3.00 5 Boston Common Chavez 9.60 5.90 7 Thunder Days Guidry 5.30
Gygistar in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Mark Hennig said: "That was great. Johnny (Velazquez) did a super job. The race didn't really unfold the way I thought it would. I thought there would be more horses up close early and he would be farther back. I was pleased to see where he was, because I was confident he was handling the mud at that point. He's versatile, and he could lay off the pace, which is something that, a lot of times, you need to be able to do." Hennig is now pointing the colt towards the Breeders' Cup Sprint, possibly using the Jerome at Belmont as his final prep.
Gygistar in the paddock prior to the race. Jockey John Velazquez said, "It was pretty easy. He liked the track and I had him in hand. He was just playing around. Take a look at his ears. We really had a nice trip sitting off those two horses. When I called on him, he really responded." It was his fourth win on the card.
Second place finisher Boston Common heading out to the post parade. His trainer Michael Pino said: "I was real impressed with my horse. We got the worst of it going quick early, going 7/8. He showed a lot of guts putting the speed away and he had a good horse (Gygistar) lying behind him. We were basically second best because we got the worst of it."
Third place finisher Thunder Days in the post parade. His trainer Ron Werner said: "He ran well. It's just too short for him. I'm trying to go to the Super Derby with him, and this was a good step. He needs two turns. This was a tough bunch."
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