Updated on 09/17/2011 12:13PM

Ten Most Wanted more focused

Ten Most Wanted gets a bath Monday at Saratoga, where on Saturday he will try to follow in his sire's footsteps and win the Travers Stakes.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Wally Dollase has trained two champions and won a Breeders' Cup race. But, he still ranks as the single biggest thrill of his training career the afternoon of Aug. 23, 1997, when his Deputy Commander won the Travers Stakes by a nose over Behrens after a stirring stretch drive.

Six years later to the day, Dollase will try to re-create that feeling for himself and his partners in Horizon Stable when he sends out Ten Most Wanted, a son of Deputy Commander, in Saturday's 134th running of the Travers.

Dollase, 67, could become the first trainer since William F. Mulholland to train a Travers winner and his son. Mulholland won the 1939 Travers with Eight Thirty, who produced 1950 Travers winner Lights Up.

Dollase, 67, said he believes there are many similarities between Deputy Commander and Ten Most Wanted "in conformation and their minds." There are other similarities as well. Like his father did, Ten Most Wanted has just two wins entering the Travers and is coming off a second-place finish in the Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park.

Also like Deputy Commander, Ten Most Wanted will be getting an equipment change for the Travers.

In 1997, Dollase took the blinkers off Deputy Commander. Saturday, he'll be putting blinkers on Ten Most Wanted. That decision was made after Ten Most Wanted lost the Swaps by a head to During after making the lead in midstretch.

"When he goes to the lead, he starts gawking and everything else besides concentrating on what he's supposed to be doing," Dollase said. "When those horses came up to him, he came on again, and one jump after the wire he was in front. Those blinkers will help him focus."

Karl Keegan is a New York-based exercise rider who got on Ten Most Wanted prior to the Belmont Stakes, where he finished a close second behind Empire Maker, the probable Travers favorite. Keegan was back aboard a blinkered Ten Most Wanted on Tuesday morning when he galloped nine furlongs around Saratoga's main track.

"He's more responsive to your command now," Keegan said. "He really, really is, as Wally thought he would be, focused. To me, he was a pigheaded horse going into the Belmont where he'd take a hold of the bridle and you'd ask him to let it go and he wouldn't let it go. Now, with the blinkers, he's focused on what he's doing in front, but he's also focused on the rider up on his back. I ask him to slow down after he switches his lead and he slows down, bows his head, and he relaxes. That's good in the morning, and then when he feels the whip in the afternoon, hopefully he'll respond to that, too."

Dollase used blinkers on Ten Most Wanted for his first three starts because the horse was simply "going through the motions," according to Aimee Dollase, Wally's daughter and assistant trainer.

Two starts after Dollase removed the blinkers from Ten Most Wanted, he rolled to a four-length victory in the Grade 2 Illinois Derby, earning a shot at the Kentucky Derby. Though Ten Most Wanted had trained brilliantly at Churchill Downs leading up to the Derby, he was bumped hard at the break and "never picked up the bridle," according to jockey Pat Day. Ten Most Wanted finished ninth behind Funny Cide.

Ten Most Wanted recovered quickly and in the Belmont Stakes gave Empire Maker all he could handle in the stretch before falling three-quarters of a length short. Ten Most Wanted was the 3-5 favorite in the Swaps and, turning for home, Day thought he'd win like one, too.

"I thought it was a question of how far - I didn't think it was a question of win or lose," Day said.

But when Day cracked Ten Most Wanted with his whip, the horse ducked away from it. When Ten Most Wanted made the lead in midstretch, Day said, "He threw his head up, pricked his ears, and just kind of lost focus."

Day was an interested spectator when Ten Most Wanted galloped Tuesday morning, and the jockey liked what he saw. If the blinkers do in a race what Keegan claims they have done for Ten Most Wanted in the morning, an upset could be in the offing.

"I'm going to go into the race with confidence, watching this horse train, looking at him now, seeing how he's doing, and knowing what he's capable of," said Day, a three-time Travers winner. "I feel I've got every opportunity to upset the apple cart, and I don't think it would be a major upset if this horse was to win. It wouldn't shock me."