08/22/2009 11:00PM

Borel tunes up Warrior's Reward for Travers


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Like the rest of us, Calvin Borel is getting anxious to find out where Rachel Alexandra is going to run next.

"I'm ready to find out where she's going to run," Borel said.

But if it isn't Saturday's $1 million Travers Stakes, Borel will be okay with that because he will still be in the race with Warrior's Reward. While most people will be jumping off the Warrior's Reward bandwagon, Borel remains at the controls. Borel was aboard Warrior's Reward Sunday morning at Saratoga, guiding the Medaglia d'Oro colt through a five-furlong move in 1:00.98 over a sloppy main track.

"He went real good," said Borel, who would ride Warrior's Reward in the Travers provided Rachel Alexandra does not run. "He's doing super good."

Warrior's Reward has lost his last three stakes tries. He was beaten a head in the Grade 3 Northern Dancer at Churchill Downs in June, he finished third to Kensei in the Grade 2 Dwyer in July after stumbling at the start, and then finished second to Kensei in the Jim Dandy on Aug. 1, a race in which Warrior's Reward was on the lead.

Borel said he believes that race woke Warrior's Reward up a little bit.

"When I want him he's there now, instead of just going around there like he's been going," Borel said. "That last race I think woke him up more than anything. He needed that race bad."

Trainer Ian Wilkes said he wanted Warrior's Reward to have a hard race in the Jim Dandy to set him up for the Travers.

"I wanted a pretty stern race in him, I wanted him in the race a little bit, I didn't want him too far out of it because I wanted everything to be right for the next race," Wilkes said.

Wilkes doesn't expect Warrior's Reward to be on the lead in the Travers, only a little closer to the pace.

Though Warrior's Reward figures to one of the longer shots on the board, Wilkes will enter the race confident in his colt's chances.

"I'm coming into it with no excuses," he said.

While Warrior's Reward got his work in, Quality Road did not. Trainer Todd Pletcher was hoping for a dryer surface to work over and thus delayed the move to Monday.