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Morning at Saratoga

2021 Travers Workouts

Date: 08/26/2021

The $1.25 million Runhappy Travers Stakes (G1), the "midsummer Derby" at Saratoga featuring some of the country's best 3-year-olds, celebrates its 152nd renewal on Saturday. A field of only 7 made final entry for this 1 1/4 mile main track classic headed by 4-5 favorite Essential Quality in post 2, winner of the Belmont and Jim Dandy Stakes. In addition, there are five other stakes on the card: The Forego, the Ballerina, the H. Allen Jerkens Memorial, the Personal Ensign, and the Sword Dancer.

Check out photos from Wednesday and Thursday morning works and afternoon schooling below. Click on the small photo to see a larger version.

horse racinghorse racing Essential Quality galloped both days. Trainer Brad Cox said, "I feel like he's as good as he's ever been. If we run our race, we'll be tough. There's six other good colts in there and we still have to play our game. If we do, I think we'll be a big factor. He's sharp, mentally. He's sharper this race than going into the Jim Dandy. My plan all along was to have him peak in this spot. Our goal since the Kentucky Derby was to have him at his best Travers Day and from a mental and physical standpoint, I feel he's right where we want him. I think he's a classic-distance horse. He's proven that already. I like the post. Hopefully, with a good trip, we'll get the job done on Saturday." Regular rider Luis Saez will be in the irons again.
horse racinghorse racingDynamic One, runner-up in the Wood Memorial, drew post 4 for trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. Pletcher said, "He obviously didn't fire in the Kentucky Derby, but his maiden races were pretty fast. He showed he belonged in the Wood. We were happy with the way he was training going into the Curlin, that appears to be his most professional race so far so hopefully he's going into his best."
horse racinghorse racingMasqueparade drew post 6. Trainer Al Stall Jr. said, "Being on the outside, we can chase some speed. If there's no speed, we can lay very close. He can be more comfortable. In the Jim Dandy, he was trapped inside between speed horses, so we couldn't get anything done because they were shuffling us back and we were last on the backside. Now he can float away from there and see how things go. He's got good natural speed, so I really like where we are. I think he deserves a chance." Miguel Mena will be in the irons aboard the 8-1 shot.
horse racinghorse racingMidnight Bourbon drew the rail for trainer Steve Asmussen at odds of 9-2. David Fiske, bloodstock advisor to owner Winchell Thoroughbreds said, "He's a big horse and time should benefit him a bunch as he gets bigger and stronger and more mature. He'll have to break well but I should expect to see him on or near the lead." New jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. picks up the mount.
horse racinghorse racingMiles D is a 12-1 outsider for trainer Chad Brown who is still winless in the Travers. Brown said, "He's obviously a bit of a longshot in the race, so he's going to have to step up. I'm thankful to have a horse in the race and hopefully he runs the race of his life and will be right there." New rider Flavien Prat picks up the mount.
horse racingAs Time Goes By won the Santa Margarita (G2) and Santa Maria (G2) before finishing 4th in the Clement L. Hirsch (G1). Trainer Bob Baffert said, "I think the mile and an eighth is going to help her. She got away bad the other day. I really thought she was going to run well." Regular rider Mike Smith breaks from post 2 aboard the 6-1 shot.
horse racingBonny South drew post 3 for the Personal Ensign for trainer Brad Cox. She finished 5th in the Delaware Handicap (G2) after finishing 2nd in the Ogden Phipps (G1). New jockey Manny Franco will ride the 10-1 shot.
horse racingCe Ce drew the outermost post 7 for the Ballerina (G1) on Travers day and will have regular rider Victor Espinoza. Trainer Mike McCarthy said, "She came out of her race in Florida in good order and has trained forwardly. This is a race we've had on her calendar for a while. She's always been good. She's caught a couple of racetracks that weren't to her liking, but she's been very good this year. She's wonderful. She is just a treat to train. She enjoys her job and is very classy around the barn. We're very lucky to have one like her. It's a big thrill."
horse racinghorse racingGamine is the heavy favorite for the Ballerina. Trainer Bob Baffert said, "She's just a brilliant filly. It's fun watching her run. The owner loves watching her run. We're looking forward to it, but you still need to break well and you still need racing luck. Everything's got to go right. She's filled out and she looks good and she's been working well, so we wouldn't send her unless we thought she was doing really well. We're excited about it. She always runs well when she goes back East. She likes the Eastern tracks." Regular rider John Velazquez breaks from the rail.
horse racingLetruska drew post 6 as the 6-5 morning line favorite in the Personal Ensign Stakes (G1). She comes in off a 3 race win streak including the Apple Blossom (G1), Ogden Phipps (G1), and Fleur de Lis (G2). Regular rider Irad Ortiz Jr. rides for trainer Fausto Gutierrez.
horse racingSconsin drew post 5 in the Ballerina for trainer Greg Foley. She finished second in the Derby City Distaff (G1), then won the Winning Colors (G3) before finishing a close second in the Roxelana, all at Churchill Downs. Irad Ortiz Jr. gets the call aboard the 9-2 shot on Saturday.

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