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2022 Travers Stakes Undercard Results

Gufo heads to the winner's circle after the Resorts World Casino Sword Dancer Stakes (G1)

Travers Stakes Results

Date: 08/27/2022

The 49,672 fans who crammed into historic Saratoga Race Course for the 153rd Travers Stakes were also treated to 5 additional graded stakes on the undercard. Conditions were excellent with sunny skies and temperatures in the mid 70's, the main track rated fast but rain on Friday downgraded both turf courses to "good". The 13-race card generated a new Travers Day record handle of $55,559,315, eclipsing the previous record of $52,129,346 set in 2019.

Gufo wins the Sword Dancer

Immediately before the Travers, a field of 10 older horses contested the $750,000 Resorts World Casino Sword Dancer Stakes (G1) over 1 1/2 miles on the inner turf course, looking for automatic entry into the Breeders' Cup Turf at Keeneland in November. Hardwicke Stakes (G2) winner Broome was sent off as the 3-2 favorite off his distant 4th place finish in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (G1) both at Ascot. In to challenge him included 4-1 second choice Adhamo, winner of the United Nations Stakes (G1) fter finishing second in the Manhattan (G1), and 9-2 third choice Gufo, last year's winner but 5th in the United Nations last out.

Jockey Manny Franco sent 11-1 Tribhuban to the lead around all 3 turns through fractions of 24.39, 48.98, 1:13.99, 1:38.86, and 2:03.88 while pressed by 15-1 Channel Maker and stalked by 30-1 Cold Hard Cash. Entering the lane 18-1 Mira Mission, fourth early, came out 3 wide to gain a 3 length lead midstretch. However, Gufo, seventh early under Joel Rosario, moved 6 wide into the lane and rallied to win by 1/2 a length over Mira Mission in 2:28.92. It was another 1/2 length back to late-running 13-1 Soldier Rising third, and 1/2 a length more to favorite Broome fourth.

Previous winners of the Sword Dancer
Full results chart

Left: Gufo in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Christophe Clement said, He's been a very good horse these past three years. Unfortunately, in his last race, sometimes he has a tendency to drop too far out of it. I took the blinkers off because he trained so forwardly earlier on in the year. As the year went on, he became lazier and lazier. Today, he had a great trip. He was never that far back and he was travelling well. When Joel asked him, he exploded in the stretch. I'm delighted. I thought the horse deserved the win and I'm happy for Joel with the long day. This is a fun race. I won it when I was younger with Honor Glide and Winchester. I'm very happy."

Right: Gufo heads back to the barn. Winning jockey Joel Rosario said, "It was a good trip. He really came with run when asked and we're lucky to get it today. He really responded well but you never know if the horse in front will keep going, but he responded to everything I asked him to do. He looked like he likes it here, he won it last year and did it again this year."

The $600,000 Personal Ensign Stakes (G1) featured a short field of just 5 older fillies and mares going 1 1/8 miles. Clairiere was sent off as the 7-4 favorite off her wins in the Ogden Phipps (G1) and Shuvee Stakes (G2). In to challenge her included 2-1 second choice Letruska, fifth in the Ogden Phipps after winning the Apple Blossom Handicap (G1), and 3-1 third choice Malathaat, second behind Clariere in the Ogden Phipps and Shuvee.

Jockey Jose Ortiz sent Letruska to the lead first time by through fractions of 23.99, 48.21, and 1:11.74 while pressed by Search Results and stalked by 13-4 fourh choice Malathaat. Turning for home Letruska tired allowing Search Results to inherit the lead through 1 mile in 1:35.82 but Malathaat, 4 wide into the lane under John Velazquez, rallied to win by 1/2 a length in 1:48.30. It was another 2 lengths back to Letruska third, 6 more to 15-1 longest shot Crazy Beautiful fourth, while favorite Clariere was very fractious in the gate hitting the stall door twice, trailed throughout and never rallied finishing last beaten 9 1/2 lengths.

Previous winners of the Personal Ensign
Full results chart

Left: Malathaat in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Todd Pletcher said, "It's all about seeing her perform to her capabilities and with all due respect to the rest of the field, we always feel like when she shows up and runs her A-race, that she's the top 4-year-old filly in the country and I think she showed that today. I think this was her best race this year. Her comeback [in the Doubledogdare] she was a little rusty and she waited when she made the lead. Lost a tough one in the Phipps, I thought that was a good run and the last one wasn't her, so I'd have to say this was her best race this year and it's a good sign. [It] gets us back to Keeneland now where she's 2-for-2."

Right: Malathaat gets hosed off after the race. Winning jockey John Velazquez said, "It was very, very nice to see her come back to prove how good a horse she really is. We know she's a good horse. It's hard to tell why she was so dull last time. But today, I just made sure that she was in the game and she showed it. When I pulled her out at the 3/16 pole and asked her, she was in the game. Riding good horses is what keeps you coming back. I'm blessed to have this opportunity and to still be doing this."

Left: Last place finisher and beaten favorite Clairiere. Jockey Joel Rosario said, "She broke well and then they were kind of getting away from me. She took a long time today to find her stride. She was still coming in the end. She was acting with a little energy [in the gate] and sometimes those things happen. She jumped up a couple times but she was OK. It was not her day, I guess."

Right: The horses break from the gate for the Personal Ensign Stakes. John Velazquez had his 1000th Saratoga victory in the 8th race on Thursday August 25 aboard Precursory. He said, "It's a special number, no matter what. The first year I won maybe three races, the second year maybe two races. I was furious, this was not a special place for me. In 1992, I was almost going back home but with the help of a new agent, it got me started again and it went on the right way with steady business." On July 27, 2013 he became the track's winningest rider, and holds the record for wins in a single card with 6 on September 9, 2001.

The $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial Stakes (G1) featured a field of 8 three-year-olds sprinting 7 furlongs on the main track. Jack Christopher was sent off as the 1-2 favorite off his third place finish in the Haskell (G1) after winning the Pat Day Mile (G2) and Woody Stephens Stakes (G1). In to challenge him included 11-2 second choice Accretive, second in the Amsterdam (G2), and 7-1 third choice Gunite, winner of the Amsterdam.

Jockey Joe Rocco Jr. sent 15-2 fourth choice Conagher to the lead out of the chute through fractions of 22.18 and 44.53 while pressed by Jack Christopher and stalked by 41-1 Runninsonofagun. Turning for home jockey Jose Ortiz sent Jack Christopher 3 wide and he took over, opening up a 2 1/2 length lead midstretch through 3/4 in 1:08.44 Gunite put in a strong rally from fourth to no avail as Jack Christopher cruised to a 1 1/4 length win in 1:21.15. It was another 2 3/4 lengths back to Runninsonofagun third.

Previous winners of the H. Allen Jerkens
Full results chart

Left: Jack Christopher in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Chad Brown said, "Exiting the Haskell, that was going to be our plan if he didn't win and cut him back to this prestigious race here. I'm just so proud of the horse. He's been a very consistent horse. He's never disappointed us in a workout or a race. Jose [Ortiz] rode another fantastic race on him. He broke sharp and used good judgment to rate him just a touch. Every pole, he was in control of the race. I'm so proud of both Jose and the horse. We really haven't [thought about next start]. We just wanted to see him get back into his winning ways and back into winning form and then take it from there."

Right: Jack Christopher heads out to the track. Winning jockey Jose Ortiz said, "I think he ran great turning back to seven [furlongs]. I think the race was better than what it looked on paper. We got some decent horses. Four weeks [rest] and he ran huge. He gave me everything he had and a very good race. Honestly, though he was a little offbeat down the backside but at the three-eighths pole he picked up little by little and I knew when I got next to the one-horse [Conagher], I knew I got him. From then on he just kept going the same pace. I knew if he didn't stop, he was going to run them off their feet because he was running the whole way. Seven is a tricky distance. I'd rather go a mile but seven-eighths is tricky. The pace is a little bit faster and you have to run the whole way there and he did." 

The $600,000 Forego Stakes (G1) featured a field of 7 older horses sprinting 7 furlongs. Jackie's Warrior was sent off as the 1-10 favorite off a 4-race win streak including the Count Fleet Sprint (G3), Churchill Downs Stakes (G1), True North (G2) and Alfred G. Vanderbilt (G1). In to challenge him included 8-1 second choice Cody's Wish, winner of the Westchester (G3) and Hanshin Stakes, and 11-1 third choice Baby Yoda, an allowance winner after finishing fourth in the True North.

Jockey Joel Rosario sent Jackie's Warrior to the front exiting the chute through fractions of 22.75 and 45.10 while pressed by 15-1 fourth choice Pipeline and stalked by Baby Yoda. Turning for home Jackie's Warrior continued to lead through 3/4 in 1:08.76 but Cody's Wish, sixth early under Junior Alvarado, came out seven wide to circle the field and rallied to win by 1 1/4 lengths over favorite Jackie's Warrior in 1:20.95, just 55/100 second off the track record. It was another 2 1/4 lengths back to Pipeline third.

Previous winners of the Forego
Full results chart

Left: Cody's Wish in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Bill Mott said, "I really thought the style of this race would suit this horse. . I thought both of ours were going to settle back. I didn't know whether we were going to be laying second, third or fourth, and actually Cody's Wish was back a little further. I thought he'd be a little more close to the pace early but as it turned out it was good that somebody entertained Jackie's Warrior a little bit. When he cut the corner at the three-eighths pole, I saw him moving. I know when he starts moving, he keeps moving. It's a very important race. It's a good race and this is a good horse. He's deserving of the win. He's trained well. If you look at his record he's won five of his last six and six of his last seven now.

Right: Cody's Wish heads back to the barn. Winning jockey Junior Alvarado said, "I thought I was going to be where I was because I knew he had the speed but it's not sprinter speed, it's more like a fast miler, so that race unfolded the way I thought it was going to be. I was confident where I was in the back, letting my horse get the rhythm and making sure he finished for me and he showed up today big time. When we turned for home and I saw Jackie's Warrior didn't take off, at that point we're taking a good shot at it, and right by the eighth pole I had a good feeling at that point. I still never underestimated Jackie's Warrior, but by the eighth-pole I definitely was all out and I knew it was going to happen today."

Second place finisher and beaten favorite Jackie's Warrior. Jockey Joel Rosario said,  "We were dealing with the horse on the outside for a little bit. He responded to everything I asked him to do. [Cody's Wish] came with a strong run today. [Cody's Wish] was way outside and he was fighting and kept going. But it was a little tough to hold on. It can be hard to go on like that, but he did everything I asked him and the horse ran a tremendous race. He gave it his best like always." Trainer Steve Asmussen added, "I can't [emphasize] how blessed we've been to have Jackie's Warrior. Only just a little sad that was his last time to run here at Saratoga because he's brought us so much fun and joy here. He'll be sharp for the Breeders' Cup Sprint. That will be his next and last race."

Kicking off the Saturday stakes sextet was the $400,000 Ballston Spa Stakes (G2) featuring a field of 5 older fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the Mellon turf course. Diana Stakes (G1) runner-up Technical Analysis was sent off as the 3-10 favorite over 5-1 second choice Fluffy Socks, second in the Matchmaker (G3), and 6-1 third choice Lemista, winner of the Matchmaker.

Jockey Jose Ortiz sent Technical Analysis to the lead first time by and she set fractions of 24.47, 48.92, and 1:12.87 while pressed by 9-1 fourth choice Our Flash Drive and stalked by 13-1 longest shot High Opinion. Into the stretch Technical Analysis opened up a 3 length lead through 1 mile in 1:36.76. Fluffy Socks, last early, put in a strong rally under Irad Ortiz Jr. but Technical Analysis held her off to win by 1/2 a length in 1:42.90. It was a long 7 lengths back to High Opinion third.

Previous winners of the Ballston Spa
Full results chart

Left: Technical Analysis in the winner's circle. Winning owner Seth Klarman said, "She loves it here. She ran well in the Diana, too. She really has two dimensions, she doesn't have to go right to the lead. So, we were happy she caught a pretty paceless field. She likes it a little bit soft. It was a good set up for her." Trainer Chad Brown added, "It's going to be tricky now. The distances are going to change and we're either going to have to cut her back or move her forward. The First Lady at Keeneland cutting back to a mile would be an obvious spot for Technical Analysis. With Fluffy Socks, I'd like to venture out a little further if we can. We'll see what's available."

Right: Technical Analysis in the paddock. Winning jockey Jose Ortiz said, "I knew she was the lone speed, so I just broke there and got a good jump out of the gate. She was very nervous prior to the race, so I tried to keep her quiet in the post parade and she broke good, put me there and handled the soft going nicely. She gave me a great run home, but the other filly was coming, too. I think my filly was the best. I rode her like the best and she was ready. I think the tight turns, she's a small filly, maybe she handles the tight turns nicely and she accelerates on them. It's very hard for horses to accelerate on these kind of turns and she's able to do it."

On to the Travers Stakes

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