08/21/2010 1:12PM

Seven horses work for the Travers

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Barbara D. Livingston
A Little Warm works an easy five furlongs at Saratoga on Saturday.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – There are 14 horses still under consideration for next Saturday’s $1 million Travers Stakes. Half the prospective field put in their final workouts for the Mid-Summer Derby on Saturday morning.

Six of the seven horses to breeze did so on a cool but mostly clear morning at Saratoga. It was difficult to say there was a standout breeze among the Saratoga workers though Fly Down, who worked four furlongs in 48.32 seconds over the Oklahoma training track, and A Little Warm, who was basically galloping through five furlongs in 1:01.30 may have visually been best.

Also working were Trappe Shot (five furlongs in 1:01.60), Super Saver (five furlongs in 1:00.98), Friend or Foe (five furlongs in 1:00.68) and Afleet Express (six furlongs in 1:13.10). First Dude, equipped with blinkers that he will likely wear in the Travers, breezed five furlongs in 1:01.40 at Churchill Downs.

Trappe Shot is not yet a definite for the Travers, though trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said it is “60-40” he will run in that race as opposed to the King’s Bishop, a seven-furlong Grade 1 race on the Travers undercard.

Trappe Shot came out at 5:50 a.m. under jockey Alan Garcia. Working in company with Yankee Fortune, Trappe Shot tracked Yankee Fortune through a quarter mile in 24.77 seconds and three furlongs in 37.08 seconds. He drifted four paths wide into the stretch and got his last quarter in 24.52 seconds while galloping out six furlongs in 1:14.95.

Garcia told McLaughlin he felt the inside part of the track was deep, which is why he elected to keep Trappe Shot so far off the inside. McLaughlin said he and his owners, the Brady family’s Mill House, will likely make a final decision on which to run in Monday or Tuesday.

“I would think we are one of the favorites in the Travers but the favorite might be 7-2,” said McLaughlin, who noted that 1 1/4 miles of the Travers is a concern only because the horse has yet to run that far. “But we’re doing well; good problem to have figuring out which race to go in. His past form [suggests] seven-eighths, that’s his best race to date on Belmont Day. That’s why you think about it.”

Shortly after 6 a.m., Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver and Mike Lee Stakes winner Friend or Foe came onto the main track to breeze.
Super Saver, with jockey Calvin Borel up, worked five furlongs in 1:00.98. He started the work about seven lengths behind stablemate The Roundhouse, and caught him after breezing a quarter-mile in 24.51 seconds. Super Saver proceeded to go three furlongs in 36.62 seconds and came home in 24.36 while galloping out a modest six furlongs in 1:16.01.

“The main thing was to have Calvin keep his interest from the top of the stretch to the wire and I thought he did that,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “When he asked him to kick on, he leveled off real well. It looks like he was striding out coming to the wire the right way. Got what we wanted.”

Right after Super Saver finished, Friend or Foe, with jockey Rajiv Maragh up, went five furlongs in 1:00.68, getting his last quarter in 24.68 seconds and galloping out six furlongs in 1:13.52. Friend or Foe finished fourth in the Jim Dandy in his last start.

“He did get something out of that race,” trainer John Kimmel said. “He was tired for two or three days following the Jim Dandy effort. He’s back to himself. I thought it was a very good breeze, the jockey was ecstatic with how well he felt.”

At 7:40 a.m., Nick Zito opted to work Dwyer Stakes winner Fly Down on the Oklahoma training track. Fly Down, with jockey Jose Lezcano up, worked in company with the 4-year-old maiden Savannah Bay. Fly Down started off just off Savannah Bay and finished two lengths in front with not much of a gallop out.

“I was happy, he’s a very consistent horse he just got to get a break as far as the race goes,” Zito said. “I think it was a pretty heavy track today. The track gets a little heavy this time of year and the main track gets a little cuppier.”

After the 8:15 renovation break, the main track got much quicker than it had been before the break. A Little Warm, the Jim Dandy winner, was very eager going to the pole under Tessa Bisha, but Bisha did a good job keeping the colt in reserve as he went in splits of 12.18 seconds, 24.51, 36.34 and he came home his final quarter in 24.96 seconds. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:15.68.

Tony Dutrow said he wouldn’t have even minded had A Little Warm gone slower. Dutrow is ecstatic with how his colt is doing entering the Travers.

“I believe I saw improvement from the Delaware [allowance] race to the Jim Dandy and I believe I see improvement from his Jim Dandy to the Travers as far as his fitness goes,” Dutrow said.

The last Travers horse to work at Saratoga was Afleet Express, who under exercise rider Kelvin Pahal, went six furlongs in 1:13.10. He went in fractions of 12.68 seconds, 24.52, 36.01, 47.47 and galloped out seven furlongs in 1:27.27 and a mile in 1:42.80. He came out a couple of paths and had his head cocked to the right in the stretch.

“I told him to keep him off the fence,” trainer Jimmy Jerkens said. “He tends to lug in a little bit, he lugged in pretty good in the Jim Dandy. I thought he was dong great going in the Jim Dandy and he’s at least doing as good it looks like to me.”

Post positions for the Travers will be drawn on Wednesday. Others expected to enter include Admiral Alex, Afleet Again, Ice Box, Pleasant Prince, and Trickmeister. Possible starters include Miner’s Reserve and Steinbeck.