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Updated on 08/19/2011 4:47PM
Travers update: Latest news, workout reports on top contenders
By DRF Staff
With a little more than a week to go before the Travers at Saratoga, let's check in on the possible contenders for the 3-year-old male champion award and how they have been training up for the race. The final workouts are scheduled for this weekend, and DRF.com's Mike Welsch will be on site reporting from Saratoga.
First up is Coil, who had a workout (see video below) on Wednesday morning that initially impressed jockey Martin Garcia and assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes. But his status for the race was put in doubt by his trainer, Bob Baffert, who is concerned about the condition of the track. Baffert was in California but Garcia and Barnes reported back to him after the drill.
"Martin said he worked good, but I didn't feel that wow factor from Jimmy or him," Baffert told David Grening by phone from Del Mar a couple of hours after the work. "He's a heavy horse, and some horses don’t get over that track as well. I was hoping it was going to be a little bit tighter today. I got to think about it."
Later Wednesday, Baffert posted on Twitter: "Feel much better after watching Coil work on DRF video. Gave Saddleranch too much of a head start on a deep track."
Last race: Haskell Invitational (1st)
• Likely to have one more workout before decision is made on whether to run
• Aug. 17: Breezed 6 furlongs in 1:13.06 at Saratoga (1/4)
• Aug. 10: Handily 4 furlongs in :46 at Saratoga (1/16)
Saratoga: Coil's status for Travers unclear after work
Bob Baffert won the Haskell last year with Lookin At Lucky but chose to skip the Travers. Baffert won the Haskell again this year with Coil, and though he went as far as shipping that horse to Saratoga, the Hall of Fame trainer sounds as if he’s seriously considering skipping the Travers again.
Last race: Haskell Invitational (2nd)
• Aug. 13: Breezed 6 furlongs in 1:14 at Saratoga (1/1)
The Preakness winner's final work before the Travers is set for Saturday, likely a five-furlong breeze and possibly with a horse in front of him as a target to run at.
Ruler On Ice
Last race: Haskell Invitational (3rd)
• Likely to have final Travers work Saturday at Monmouth, weather permitting
• Aug. 13: Handily 5 furlongs in :58 at Monmouth (1/28)
Ruler On Ice to have final Travers work Saturday
Trainer Kelly Breen said the Belmont Stakes winner will likely head out to the track around 7:30 a.m. with regular rider Jose Valdivia Jr. aboard. The only major hitch could be the condition of the track. There was moisture in the surface Friday morning following overnight rain and more showers were forecast for later Friday afternoon.
Belmont winner Ruler On Ice fires Travers bullet at Monmouth
At Monmouth Park on Aug. 13, Belmont Stakes winner Ruler On Ice drilled five furlongs in 58.80 seconds, the fastest of 28 breezes at the distance. According to trainer Kelly Breen, Ruler On Ice, under regular jockey Jose Valdivia Jr., began his work five lengths behind stablemates Galaxy Kat and Magical Myth, caught that pair at the eighth pole, and finished five in front at the wire. "It was a very impressive workout time-wise as well as visually," Breen said. "He looks great."
Last race: Jim Dandy (1st)
• Could be in for a more serious work this weekend
• Aug. 14: Breezed 4 furlongs in :51 at Saratoga (50/53)
Prayer for Relief
Last race: West Virginia Derby (1st)
• Aug. 18: Breezed 5 furlongs in 1:02.34 at Saratoga (19/39)
Prayer for Relief unlikely for Travers
West Virginia Derby winner Prayer for Relief is unlikely to run in the Travers Stakes after a mediocre workout Thursday morning at Saratoga. “I had to get after him,” Bridgmohan said, noting that he thought Prayer for Relief handled the track fine but was a little lackadaisical. Though trainer Bob Baffert’s first inclination was not to run Prayer for Relief, he said he wouldn’t make a final decision until he sees the horse train next week.
Last race: Long Branch Stakes (1st)
• Aug. 19: Breezed 5 furlongs in 1:00.68 at Saratoga (2/15)
• Aug. 13: Breezed 5 furlongs in 1:02 at Saratoga (27/32)
• Aug. 6: Breezed 5 furlongs in 1:02 (11/28) at Saratoga
• July 31: Breezed 4 furlongs in :50 (78/95) at Saratoga
Rattlesnake Bridge has fast work for Travers
When Rattlesnake Bridge runs in next Saturday’s $1 million Travers Stakes at Saratoga he will have had seven weeks between races. So trainer Kiaran McLaughlin wanted to make sure the colt’s final workout before the 1 1/4-mile race was a fast, solid move. McLaughlin got what he was looking for Friday morning, when Rattlesnake Bridge drilled five furlongs in 1:00.64 over Saratoga’s main track. .
Last race: Barbaro Stakes (2nd)
• Aug. 13: Breezed 5 furlongs in 1:01 at Saratoga (8/32)
• Aug. 5: Breezed 5 furlongs in 1:01 at Saratoga (1/13)
Last race: Curlin (2nd)
• Aug. 14: Breezed 5 furlongs in 1:01 at Saratoga (6/37)
• Aug. 8: Breezed 4 furlongs on training track in :48 at Saratoga (1/93)<
Raison d'Etat has first work back
David Grening: On Aug. 8, trainer Bill Mott worked his 3-year-old Raison d’Etat in preparation for a start in the $1 million Travers Stakes. Raison d'Etat, second in the Curlin Stakes on July 29, went a half-mile in 48.00 seconds, getting his final quarter in 23.80 under exercise rider Kristen Lindsay. It was the fastest of 88 works at the distance over the training track."He was great, Krissy worked him beautifully," Mott said. "It was his first work back, and it looked like it was very useful."
Last race: Prince of Wales (2nd)
• Aug. 13: Breezed 5 furlongs in 1:01 at Saratoga (6/32)
• Aug. 6: Breezed 4 furlongs on training track in :49 at Saratoga (1/29)
• July 31: Breezed 4 furlongs on training track in :50 at Saratoga (12/27)
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