08/09/2012 4:46PM

Saratoga: Travers coming into focus

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Barbara D. Livingston
Alpha worked four furlongs in 48.47 seconds over the main track at Saratoga on Thursday with Rob Massey riding.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Preparations for the $1 million Travers Stakes picked up on Thursday, with two major contenders putting in workouts at Saratoga and the announcement of a significant jockey change on a West Coast-based contender.

Alpha, the Jim Dandy winner, and Street Life, the Curlin winner, each breezed on a steamy Thursday morning in Saratoga looking to beat the rain that is forecast for Friday and Saturday. Meanwhile, John Velazquez will replace Corey Nakatani aboard Haskell runner-up Nonios in the Travers.

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Others pointing to the race as of Thursday were Neck ’n Neck, Liaison, and Five Sixteen. Possible starters included Haskell winner Paynter, who was expected to be released from a veterinary clinic on Friday, Fast Falcon, Stealcase, and Hansen.

Alpha, who would likely be the Travers favorite in the expected absence of Paynter, worked four furlongs in 48.47 seconds over the Saratoga main track. Under exercise rider Rob Massey, Alpha went his first quarter-mile in 23.62 seconds. Massey kept a tight hold of the reins coming through the lane. Alpha galloped out five furlongs in 1:01.23 and pulled up six furlongs in 1:16.96.

“He worked great, we’re happy,” trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said afterward. “He has been a little keen training since that race, he’s so happy. And we had to adjust because of weather.”

McLaughlin was planning to work on Saturday, but moved the work up in order to work on a dry and fast surface. McLaughlin said that Alpha would likely work again next Friday or Saturday.

Similarly, trainer Chad Brown moved up Street Life’s work out because of the forecast, but his breeze went a little slower than planned. Street Life, working in company with Vivo, went a half-mile in 50.93 seconds, going a first quarter in just under 26 seconds.

“The first part of the work got a little messed up because the workmate broke off too slow. The first quarter was not what I was looking for,” Brown said. “They made it to the half-mile pole at a gallop instead of already working. I was looking for 49 and they went in 51. But, the horse was moving really good through the stretch, he was on his correct lead, and I thought he galloped out very well.”

Brown said since he moved the breeze up by two days and since it was on the slow side, he would likely work Street Life two more times before the Travers instead of one.

“I’m planning on bringing him back on Wednesday and giving him a longer and stiffer work,” Brown said. “That will be his major work day, weather permitting. Then he’ll do something closer to the race that’s a little more of a maintenance move.”

Trainer Nick Zito worked his pair of 3-year-old routers Fast Falcon and Easter Gift a half-mile in company that was timed in 49.90 seconds over the Oklahoma training track. Easter Gift, fourth in the Curlin, is likely headed to the Smarty Jones at Parx on Sept. 3. Fast Falcon, seventh in the Jim Dandy, is possible for the Travers, Zito said.

Velazquez to ride Nonios

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said from California that Hall of Fame rider Velazquez, who won the 2005 Travers aboard Flower Alley, will replace Nakatani aboard Nonios in the Travers.

In the Haskell, Nakatani made an early move along the inside down the backstretch, before taking back and coming around in the stretch. He was beaten 3 3/4 lengths by Paynter.

“We didn’t think Corey rode a bad race. Our owner felt that if we could get John Velazquez we should go that way,” Hollendorfer said. “He rides there and he’s one of the best in the world.”

Hollendorfer was pleased with the Haskell performance put in by Nonios in his first start on dirt. Hollendorfer also believes Nonios, a son of Pleasantly Perfect, would like the 1 1/4-mile distance of the Travers.

“I think our colt is doing real good right now, it looks like he’s moving forward and he deserves a chance to run in a race like that and see what he can do,” Hollendorfer said. “We think we have a good horse.”

Nonios will ship to New York on Aug. 20, Hollendorfer said.

additional reporting by Mike Welsch

Ronnie Malo Rodriguez More than 1 year ago
PAYNTER IS OUT OF THE TRAVERS..
JOHN CAPPER More than 1 year ago
Yeah, but most of the people here will tell you that the statement we made was a lie about Paynter to throw off the competition. After all, nothing written here is true, is it?
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
It was not a lie to throw off the competition, you are not paying attention and using any horse sense. Nothing you wrote was true. He was never going to run in the Travers.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Crapper is really bobbin n weavin now because yes, he's been caught in his own lies. He says 'statement WE made' I guess to have us think that he's part of Zayats' stable. I don't believe he'd know Paynter if the Colt stepped on his foot. Am I stepping on his foot? Yes, somewhat because the man(?) called me a moron and I am just smart enough to realize that isn't nice. He IS a liar and that is several cuts below moron in anyones' book. Good luck to Paynter...
Perl More than 1 year ago
Who is the biggest star in American horseracing these days? Is there even a star? I suppose Wise Dan is a cool horse, but jeesh. I have never seen anything like this. The day before the Belmont, we had a triple crown on the line and life was ok. Then let's see, I'll Have Another was retired for dubious reasons. Then check out Belmont Day. The coolest horse on the grounds, Winter Memories, has been retired. The winner of the Manhattan has been retired. The winner of the Belmont...retired. Bodemeister, not seen since the Preakness. Expecting a retirement announcement any day now. Paynter, spikes a fever and is now dubious for a Travers that will feature nothing but glorified allowance horses. I hate to be the wet blanket, but jeepers the sport of Kings is under siege!
Perl More than 1 year ago
And yes, I know Winter Memories is a filly, so please save it, haters.
Bsb Jaws More than 1 year ago
BTW, Mr. Grening & his colleages paychecks originate from the player as well . No player ,no paycheck for Mr. Grening. There are only two writer/ handicappers at DRF that can handicap their way out of a wet paper bag. Thats not an insult ,its a fact.
Perl More than 1 year ago
Mike Beer and who else?
JOHN CAPPER More than 1 year ago
NONE show a net profit though. which brings me to my next question. You wanna buy a bridge cheap?
Bsb Jaws More than 1 year ago
Tom Cook , If in fact you are an assistant trainer (i doubt that ) then yes indeed your pay check originates with the bettor as I've told you in the past. You have much disdain for the players that provide you a living. Take your horses and go run them in a field somewhere . See how well that pays your bills. Personally I don't care if we euthaniZe all the horses tomorrow & start racing Sasquacthes. I'll get along fine. You on the other hoof will be out of a job because you don't know anything about training Sasquatches and Sasquatches don't suffer fools lightly as can clearly be seen on any Jack links commercial. I pay your bills . I pay your boss's bills. Get that through that thick head of yours and stop insulting the intelligent people that pay your bills. Get back to mucking your stalls and leave the commentary to the people that know about racing. Anybody that can hold a rake can muck a stall.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Cali boy, you are a sick individual, very sick.
MaryAnn Donahue More than 1 year ago
Bsb wrote - "Anybody that can hold a rake can muck a stall." Some truth to that BUT, not everyone can muck a stall well and every stall mucker who is doing their job well is doing important work in caring for their charges (horses) to the best of their ability. Putting down people who muck stalls is in poor taste. Your other comment about not caring if all the horses are euthanized tomorrow comes across as heartless.
Bsb Jaws More than 1 year ago
PETA doesn't pay the bills Mary Ann . I do. Got that ? The point was not to euthaniZe horses. The point is that some of us real players get tired of people that don't understand where their paycheck comes from.
JOHN CAPPER More than 1 year ago
Could be the greatest post i ever read. Topped only by the one below that states, (and I quote) "not everyone can muck a stall well " Talk about sick individuals. 99% of you are sick. Here, you all ave the greatest tool at your fingertips to beat this game and QUIT WORKING, yet there is othing more than finger pointing, bitching, and complaints about trainers that win "too much" THAT IS AN AWESOME LINE - TOO MUCH!!! Because you THINK they are cheating, yet say that "when they get caught"......... Maybe some guys are just that good. In the meantime, take your profit and run to the bank. Talk about a bunch of fools. One guy insists they cheat, but still plays, one guy says every horse is doped, one guy, and on and on and on....... USE this site to learn. Geeeeeeeeeeeeez. You guys could learn everything I know and when you start to beat the races, you would complain because you have too much time on your hands from lack of work. No need to reply. Just look in the mirror.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
Use this site to learn what? That you never know what you're talking about? You never get it. Jaws is simply using an outlandish example to make a point. The only problem with Sasquatch racing is the assumed short fields since we haven't found one yet. The other problem is if you dope a Squatch he might rat you out, so the one benefit might be clean racing. I've asked you some questions responding to your post a little further down regarding Paynter and Bode. Please take your best literary shot so that I might learn something.
Perl More than 1 year ago
Another horrible year for horseracing, with the three-year-old division in total shambles. Not sure who will win, but the final time will be 2:04 and change because nobody can get 10f anymore.
Ronnie Malo Rodriguez More than 1 year ago
OOH Boo Hoo the time will be 2:04 and change, because they can't get 10f anymore :(
MaryAnn Donahue More than 1 year ago
Perl - There are still horses who can get ten furlongs. I understand the point you are making about the three year old division being in shambles this year. I'm disappointed too.
JOHN CAPPER More than 1 year ago
Paynter is fine. Trust me. After all. I am the only one who believes it here.
Ronnie Malo Rodriguez More than 1 year ago
He's goin back to Cali to prepare for the BC. Dullhan will show if the 3 year olds can compete against elders in the PC. Paynter will be pointed to Pennsylvania Derby, then trained up to the BC Classic.
Ronnie Malo Rodriguez More than 1 year ago
You don't know isht. He's out of the Travers.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
Hey John Capper. I believe you, Paynter is fine and that's the problem. You said he would work Friday or Saturday. It's now Monday, still no work. At the earliest he might work this weekend. There is nothing wrong with Paynter. He will not run in the Travers, he will not set foot in Saratoga. After the Haskel, Baffert said he came out good like he didn't even run. Zayat said the same. Zayat in telling this story is quoted as saying two days later Baffert got a call saying Paynter spiked a temp of 102, then two hours later Baffert got another call saying the temp came back down to 100. A mild temp spike that lasted all of two hours. He was then sent to an equine clinic. The vet said he acts like he didn't even run. He was then given antibiotics and fluids. Why? Now just sent to Belmont a few days ago, not Saratoga. He will not run in the Travers. My guess is they give him a very light easy work this weekend. They will announce he is not ready for the Travers because of the temp spike causing lost training. They will say they have little options but to run in the Pa Derby. Ha, what crap wouldn't you say John Crapper?
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
One more question for you John. Why would a horse as highly touted as Bode be out for so long. He too spiked a mild temp two days after a race in mid May. There is nothing wrong with him and wasn't then, but they immediately announced he would not make the Haskel due to anitibiotics that would not clear his system by race time a month later. And still, after so much time you couldn't find that horse with a search warrant. You got some splaining to do Cappy.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Wasn't there a 3yo called Paynter at the races this year?
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
I think so. I also remember a horse called Bode something or other. If memory serves me, I think he was favorite to win the Derby and Preakness. No word on anything wrong with him but you would need a search warrant to find him.
Ronnie Malo Rodriguez More than 1 year ago
Nonios, Neck N Neck, and Liason top 3 then Alpha.
Elijah Allison More than 1 year ago
your funny
Ronnie Malo Rodriguez More than 1 year ago
Don't tell me Alpha haha
JOHN CAPPER More than 1 year ago
Yeah.....Right after Paynter crosses the line some 4 1/2 lengths in from of those.
Ronnie Malo Rodriguez More than 1 year ago
Its not taking Paynter into account Genius.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
That will be impossible as Paynter will never set hooves on Saratoga soil.
Carla Shoppe More than 1 year ago
I was at the Haskell and the two horses that looked really good in the paddock was Paynter and Nonios. I actually like him as a live longshot in the Travers. He would have to improve on his race but considering Paynter seems to be the horse to beat and since he's been sick if he does work and go he may not be 100%. Alpha seems to be over looked but I think he is a nice horse. It would be nice to see a big field for the Travers seems the past few years it's been 6 or 8 at tops. Should be interesting to see who goes and who doesn't.
JOHN CAPPER More than 1 year ago
Dullahan looked like a illion dollars on the track, too. As striking than Paynter and Nonios. Those three towered in appearance.
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Liaison has run two very good under te radar races. He has had nothing but sloooow pace in front of him. All that should change this time around and his price will be huge. He has a serious shot.