Chad Brown Loaded for Travers Week and Beyond

2018 Travers Stakes Notes – Part I

Trainer Chad Brown sent out a plethora of turf workers to Saratoga’s Oklahoma training track Thursday morning as his contingent readies for the later stages of the summer meet.

A Raving Beauty, targeting the Grade 2, $400,000 Woodford Reserve Ballston Spa on Travers Day, August 25, breezed a bullet five furlongs in 1:00.65 in company with Santa Monica, returning off a half-length win in the Grade 2 Dance Smartly on June 30 at Woodbine.

Third behind Ultra Brat and stablemate Sistercharlie in the Grade 1 Diana on July 21, A Raving Beauty will be looking to rebound in the 1 1/16-mile Ballston Spa. The 5-year-old Mastercraftsman mare won the Grade 3 Beaugay on May 12 in her North American debut and then took the Grade 1 Longines Just a Game on June 9, Belmont Stakes Day, at Belmont Park.

walking horse through Saratoga crowdBrown said the English-bred 5-year-old Santa Monica will get the chance to race at the Spa for the first time in the Grade 2, $250,000 Glens Falls on September 1. Contested over 1 3/8 miles on the turf, the Glens Falls is the last turf stakes for fillies and mares before the meet closes.

Santa Monica was originally scheduled to run in the Fasig-Tipton Waya on August 12 but was scratched when the race was moved off the turf to 1 ¼ miles on the main track.

Also under consideration for the Glens Falls is Homeland Security, who breezed four furlongs in 49.31 seconds in company with Onthemoonagain. The 4-year-old Smart Strike filly is coming off a successful stakes debut last out, winning the River Memories on July 8 at Belmont in her sixth career start.

Call Provision, fourth in the Grade 1 Man o’ War on May 12, is set to return to stakes competition following a win and a second-place finish in a pair of optional claimers. The 5-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid will be stretching out to 1 5/8 miles in the $100,000 John’s Call on Wednesday, Brown said.

The trainer added that Good Magic and Gronkowski – his two expected entrants for the Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers on August 25 – are training well and are expected to turn in their final works this weekend for the Mid-Summer Derby.

“They’re doing super, so we’ll just base their last workouts around the weather,” Brown said. “I have a little flexibility. They are both fit and doing well. So, we’ll go either Saturday or Sunday.”

Good Magic put in his first breeze on the Saratoga main track on August 11 for his first work overall since winning the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational on July 29 at Monmouth Park. The Eclipse Award-winning 2017 champion juvenile male is 3-3-1 in eight starts with his only off-the-board effort coming with a fourth-place finish in the Preakness on May 19 at Pimlico.

Gronkowski, the runner-up to Triple Crown-winner Justify in the Belmont Stakes, has been training at Saratoga since July.

Rushing Fall, installed as the 9-5 morning-line favorite in Saturday’s Grade 2, $300,000 Lake Placid for 3-year-old fillies on the Mellon turf course, is making her first start since she finished second to Toinette by a neck in the Grade 3 Edgewood on May 4 at Churchill. She started her career 4-for-4, including a win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf in November at Del Mar.

Drawing post 6 in the seven-horse field, Rushing Fall will have the services of Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano as she stretches out to the Lake Placid distance of 1 1/8 miles for the first time. Rushing Fall has also done well under soft or yielding turf, with wins in the Grade 3 Jessamine on October 11 and the Grade 2 Appalachian on April 8 at Keeneland under those conditions.

“I’m excited to get her back. She seems to be doing real well,” Brown said. “She shouldn’t have a problem handling the soft turf, if it does rain like it’s

Clear
Tuesday 10/23 10%
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Sunshine along with some cloudy intervals. High 62F. Winds WSW at 10 to 20 mph.
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Wednesday 10/24 0%
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Sunshine and clouds mixed. High near 55F. Winds NW at 15 to 25 mph.
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Thursday 10/25 0%
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Generally sunny despite a few afternoon clouds. High around 50F. Winds NW at 15 to 25 mph.
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Cloudy skies early, then partly cloudy in the afternoon. High 48F. Winds NW at 5 to 10 mph.
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Brown will also saddle Significant Form, who is 3-1 on the morning line and drew post 4 with Irad Ortiz, Jr. named to ride. After running fourth in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational on July 17 at Belmont at 1 ¼ miles, Significant Form will return to the distance at which she ran second to La Signare in the Grade 3 Wonder Again on June 7.

“I think the cutback to a mile and an eighth should help her; she’s doing very well,” Brown said.

Source: NYRA

The Weekend Wagers According to Dew

by Justin Dew

At some point, the idea of needing to race as a juvenile in order to win the Kentucky Derby will be a thing of the past. It’s really the last remaining Derby jinx. Is it possible, even remotely, that Bob Baffert knew what he had all along in Justify and decided, a mere three years after winning the Triple Crown, that he wanted to be the one to accomplish the impossible yet again? Maybe that’s a reach. And maybe Justify is a monster among boys. Will he need to be to break the Curse of Apollo? He’s defeated a grad total of eight horses in his two-race career. If he wins the Santa Anita Derby on Saturday and heads to Louisville as the favorite, he will do so having faced just one more horse in his career (14) than Enticed defeated in just one race.

Since I’ve never been a fan of Instilled Regard, I think the race pretty much comes down to a match between Justify and Bolt d’Oro, just like everyone else. If you think Bolt d’Oro needed his last, then maybe you give him an edge here and play a straight exacta that will pay 2-1 rather than accept 6-5 or even money on Bolt d’Oro. It’s not going to surprise me in the slightest if both horses end up 4-5 on the tote board at some point in the wagering.

The Bet: Straight Exacta: Bolt d’Oro-Justify

 

I had forgotten that Good Magic finished ahead of Enticed in the Champagne last fall. That bolsters my opinion ever so slightly that Good Magic is the most likely Kentucky Derby winner at this point, as Enticed has returned to win two graded stakes at two turns. He’ll likely go favored in the Wood Memorial on Saturday against a field that can best be described as the JV of this crop. Bob Baffert sends Restoring Hope from out west. Todd Pletcher will look to give Vino Rosso another shot at Kentucky Derby points. I don’t think Firenze Fire wants to go this far. Most of the rest seem at least a notch below the main contenders. Two horses intrigue me: Old Time Revival and Evaluator. I thought Old Time Revival ran a big race in both the Gotham and the Miracle Wood, and if he gets loose on the lead in here, don’t be surprised if he hangs around for a long, long time. And Evaluator has acquitted himself nicely in his two dirt starts. Both were around one turn, so I’ll be interested to see if he can close strongly with the added distance and class hike. He probably can’t, but at the price and against this bunch, I’ll take a chance that he can.

The Bet: Exacta Box: Enticed, Evaluator, Old Time Revival

Just because I’m a huge fan of Good Magic doesn’t mean I think he will win or has to win the Blue Grass Stakes. One thing for sure is that he’ll be overbet. Maybe he’s good enough to overcome the bad post, but I still have this nagging feeling that Chad Brown is setting this horse up to peak on Derby Day. So I could easily see Good Magic running an honest 3rd and heading to Louisville under the radar, so to speak. Quip and Kanthaka are near and dear to my heart, as I won big money on each of them this year at 18-1 and 11-1 respectively in their big stakes wins. But I think both wins were products of race shape and I don’t particularly like either of them in here. I prefer Free Drop Billy over Flameaway and Tiz Mischief among the remaining contenders with a win over the Keeneland surface, but the horse that I really expect to run big is Sporting Chance. I don’t think the ride he got last out at Oaklawn was all that strong, and I think D. Wayne Lukas will have him cranked to run big.

The Bet: Exacta Key: Sporting Chance over Free Drop Billy and Good Magic

 

handicappers Dew Justin Rich Nilsen

Justin Dew (Left)

Justin Dew is a regular contributor to the educational horse racing site, Agameofskill.com.  He was one of the original bloggers for the official KentuckyDerby.com website.