08/23/2010 2:11PM

Blusiewicz confident Admiral Alex will run well in Travers

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Barbara D. Livingston
Admiral Alex, who has raced just once in his career, is ambitiously spotted in Saturday's $1 million Travers at Saratoga.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Decisions, decisions. Forty-eight hours before entries were due and post positions drawn, the connections of several horses still had yet to decide whether to put their 3-year-old in Saturday’s $1 million Travers Stakes at Saratoga.

The connections of Haskell runner-up Trappe Shot, Jim Dandy runner-up Miner’s Reserve, the undefeated Trickmeister, and Withers winner Afleet Again were all still on the fence Monday morning about whether to run in the Travers.

Trappe Shot could possibly vie for favoritism with Jim Dandy winner A Little Warm if he runs in the Travers. He is likely second choice behind Discreetly Mine in the Grade 1 King’s Bishop if he runs that seven-furlong race run the same day. Miner’s Reserve and Trickmeister, at the very least, look to be pace factors. Trickmeister was entered in an overnight stakes here Friday and will likely run there. Afleet Again was good enough to win the Grade 3 Withers.

One horseman with no hesitation about running in the Travers is Leon Blusiewicz, who will start the maiden winner Admiral Alex in the race that will include Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver, Florida Derby winner Ice Box, and stakes winners Fly Down, and Afleet Express. Others expected to enter include First Dude, Friend or Foe, and Steinbeck.

Admiral Alex has made just one start, that coming here on July 31 when he won a 1 1/8-mile maiden race by one length.

Blusiewicz, who also owns Admiral Alex, touted Admiral Alex all over the country before his debut and is expecting another big effort come Saturday despite the hefty raise in class.

“I feel like I got the best rider in the country and I think I got the best horse,” said Blusiewicz, who has Kent Desormeaux, last year’s Travers winning rider, on his horse.

Blusiewicz said Admiral Alex is the best horse he has trained in his 37 years of being a licensed trainer. His other top horses include Grade 1 winners Willa on the Move and Snow Plow as well as stakes winners Lejoli, Avenging Storm, and Tong Po. Lejoli ran fourth in the 1982 Travers. Tong Po was eased in the 1991 running.

“This horse, he’s a special horse,” Blusiewicz said of Admiral Alex. “If other trainers would have this horse for a week they would see what kind of horse this is.”

Admiral Alex, a son of Afleet Alex, was known as Bunky last year when he was owned by somebody else, but trained by Blusiewicz. The horse was entered to run here last summer, but scratched due to an illness. He was entered at Belmont last fall, but sustained an ankle injury. Blusiewicz was going to run him at Aqueduct, but after working out of the gate at Aqueduct on Oct. 30, he was diagnosed with a bone cyst in his cannon bone.

The injury required time, not surgery, to heal and Blusiewicz gave the horse plenty of time. In the interim, the previous owner hit financial trouble so in May Blusiewicz bought him out. He also changed the colt’s name.

Admiral Alex resumed working in late May and shortly thereafter Blusiewicz came up with this plan of running once and then going to the Travers.

In his debut, Admiral Alex, breaking from post 8, stalked the pace from third while racing three-to-four wide. He moved into second leaving the three-eighths pole then took the lead outside the sixteenth pole to win by one length. He ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.76 and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 87.

“I got a race over the track,” Blusiewicz said. “He did something none of the other horses did. He went a mile and an eighth first time out and won.”

Blusiewicz’s confidence in Admiral Alex is matched by Desormeaux, who has gotten on the horse in the mornings to work him.

“I would be very disappointed if he doesn’t win,” Desormeaux said. “He’s touting himself ready in morning exercises. He’s been in training since he’s 18 months old. He’s had some hiccups along the way, but he’s got plenty of miles in him. The foundation is there. Though it’s not racing intelligence, he’s got a great foundation.”