08/17/2008 11:00PM

Travers could soothe Mott's misery

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Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Bill Mott, just 2 for 45 at Saratoga, will send out both You and I Forever and Court Vision in Saturday's Travers.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - When it comes to Saratoga, frustration has replaced exhilaration for Bill Mott.

A year after he set a personal-best with 27 victories to capture his eighth Saratoga trainer's title, Mott has won with just 2 of his 45 starters through the first four weeks of the meet.

Mott, 55, said he has felt frustrated "particularly because I have a few horses that ran some winning races and got beat. You got to ride it out. I've been through it before; I haven't been through it here very often. Usually things kind of come together up here."

There is still time to salvage the meeting and there would be no better place to do it than in Saturday's $1 million Travers Stakes, where Mott will run You and I Forever and Court Vision, arguably the two best-bred horses in the field.

You and I Forever is a son of A.P. Indy out of the dam You, a five-time Grade 1 winner who won two graded stakes at Saratoga. You and I Forever has won 2 of 6 starts but took a big step forward when he was beaten a neck by Mambo in Seattle in the Henry Walton Stakes here on July 27. The final time of that race was faster than the time for the Jim Dandy, won by Macho Again, one race later.

"I thought it was a pretty big effort, the time alone was significant," Mott said. "He's moved forward, he's progressed. Since May it's been a very nice progression with him and fairly rapidly."

Monday, You and I Forever breezed five furlongs in 1:02.90, getting his last quarter in a sharp 24.52 seconds under exercise rider Kristen Lindsay.

Court Vision is a son of Gulch out of the dam Weekend Storm, who is a full sister to Preakness winner Summer Squall and a half-sister to 1992 Horse of the Year A.P. Indy. At 2, Court Vision won the Iroquois and Remsen, but he has failed to win any dirt race this year. He finished 13th in the Kentucky Derby and was then put on turf for his next two starts.

Court Vision finished fourth in the Colonial Turf Cup, where a heavy rainstorm softened the turf significantly. He came back four weeks later to run second, beaten a nose by Gio Ponti in the Virginia Derby.

"The horse has run very well on dirt, but I feel like his best race this year was on turf," Mott said. "He acts like he'll get the trip - he got the mile and a quarter last time. If he fires a big shot, he's in with a shot."

Court Vision completed his preparation for the Travers by working five furlongs in 1:02.88 over the training track under Lindsay.

Entries will be taken and post positions drawn for the Travers on Wednesday morning. With Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown skipping the race, a 12-horse field is expected, which would be the largest Travers field since 13 ran in 1990.

With jockeys, the Travers field is expected to be: Acai (Cornelio Velasquez), Colonel John (Garrett Gomez), Cool Coal Man (John Velazquez), Court Vision (Kent Desormeaux), Da' Tara (Alan Garcia), Harlem Rocker (Eibar Coa), Macho Again (Julien Leparoux), Mambo in Seattle (Robby Albarado), Pyro (Shaun Bridgmohan), Tale of Ekati (Edgar Prado), Tres Borrachos (Tyler Baze), and You and I Forever (Javier Castellano).

On Monday, Pyro, who finished second to Macho Again in the Jim Dandy, completed his preparations by working an easy half-mile in 52.28 seconds over the Oklahoma training track, getting his last quarter in 24.97 seconds under exercise rider Carlos Rosas.

"To me I believe he's training better than he was before the last race," Rosas said. "I think he's going to run big."

On Sunday, Harlem Rocker, the potential favorite for the Travers based on four dirt victories in four tries, worked five furlongs in 59.63 seconds over the main track, with a final quarter in 24.31 seconds. He worked in company with Understatement, a 3-year-old son of Distorted Humor who is eligible for entry-level allowance conditions.

"He's still the kind of horse that does kind of what his workmate will do, but he's becoming an increasingly good work horse," trainer Todd Pletcher said of Harlem Rocker. "I thought that was a very good breeze for him."

On Monday at Del Mar, Colonel John worked five furlongs in 1:01.60. He is expected to ship here on Wednesday along with Tres Borrachos.