08/21/2012 3:23PM

Saratoga: Travers now in the cards for Speightscity

Barbara D. Livingston
Speightscity came out of the Withers with an injury.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Talk about being game.

The connections of Speightscity, unraced since Feb. 4, were planning to pay a $20,000 supplemental fee to run their 3-year-old in Saturday’s $1 million Travers Stakes.

The Travers is actually Plan B after Friday’s $100,000 Bernardini Stakes failed to fill.

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“Ambitious placement? Yes. Not our original game plan? Yes,” said Gary Contessa, who trains Speightscity for Jeffrey Massaro’s Team Stallion Racing and Linda McConnell’s McConnell Racing. “He likes the track, he’s training well, but a mile and a quarter off limited workouts is a tough thing to ask, but you never know. We are going to try it.”

Speightscity, a son of Speightstown, won a 1 1/8-mile maiden race here last Sept. 2 by 11 1/2 lengths. He finished ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile – actually ahead of Travers favorite Alpha – but didn’t win again until taking a first-level allowance race over Aqueduct’s inner track in December.

In two starts this year, Speightscity finished fifth in the Count Fleet, 10 lengths behind Alpha, in January and second in the Withers, beaten 3 1/4 lengths by Alpha. He came out of Withers with an injury.

“He wrenched his knee really badly in the Withers,” Contessa said. “I would have bet he fractured it, but we really got lucky. We missed 45 days.”

Contessa has put several stamina-building workouts into Speightscity. On Aug. 13, he worked him a mile in 1:40.19 and four days later he worked him another mile in 1:39.25, both over the main track.

“He’s training fantastic,” Contessa said.

Contessa said Irad Ortiz Jr., who has already won two Grade 1 races at the meet, would ride Speightscity.