2-10. A couple of 2-for-10 days to end the work week. Frustrating at best -- with two winners on top [5th, $4.40; 9th, $3.30], but five of our second choices got into the winner's circle! With the razor-thin decisions that sometimes separate the top and second selections a day like Friday can be agonizing to watch. With our top or second selection winning Races 2 through 6, there a a mix of P3s and a P4 that could have been grabbed. And our second and third picks combined for a couple of exactas.
Since the weather turned about a week ago the crowds have responded. 22,988 turned out and were treated to a thrilling stretch duel in the G1 Personal Ensign with Ginger Punch just squeaking it out over 10-1 Lemon Drop Mom in a photo-finish that had the crowd buzzing with opinions right up until the results were posted.
As usual on Travers weekend, the fun continued after the races with the post-track watering holes in the neighborhood hosting nice crowds and later on the party moved to downtown, which rocked until the wee hours.
$1mil all-stakes P4 starts with the Victory Ride. TV coverage on ESPN starts at 4:30pm ET.
Aquino...Just missed in US debut. Will be tough with that one under the belt.
Diamond Isle/Cash McCool... Diamond Isle preferred. Drops and should be tough in second start of the season.
Goldsville...Cuts back to a sprint.
On Baord Again.
Florentino...Sire is brand new, so that's an unknown -- but dam has produced a super-succcessful stakes-winner in Japan. Gets a slight vote in a tough MSW.
Lord Justice...Well-bred firster from Pletcher.
Spaniard...Half to Indian Blessing might just be one that needs a couple of starts to figure it all out.
Storm Play...Tough little race but we'll go with the fresh-face. Those with experience don't necessarily look like world-beaters -- although any are eligible to step it up here. But this one has some breeding and OK works -- and trainer can have them ready.
Jimmy Simms...First two starts looked promising.
Bet the Limit...Improvement would be no surprise.
Woodrunner...Two good, improving tries at this level. Adds blinkers.
Triple Bogey Blues...Should be set off of the seasonal debut.
Unflagging...AE lister. Could be any kind.
Beneath the Crown.
Yuletide...It's Sheppard/Augustin -- if you're a regular readers then 'nuff said.
Rogue Victory...Will be rolling late.
Big Stick...Seems to have hit career form.
Baletti...Also is going well and seems to be an improved 4YO.
Parc des Princes...Could be interesting on the front-end.
Prussian...Solid turf stakes performer for Mott. Should fit well here --but do note that this is his first try against older.
Sir Lowry...Should be rolling late.
Holiday Trip...Typically in the hunt.
Whata Ya Mean.
EIGHTH RACE - Victory Ride G3
Informed Decision...Another from Sheppard/Augustin. Not a typical Sheppard Special -- which we clearly think of as turf runners -- but we'll use her anyway and hope the big Beyer last time was a sign of maturity and not simply a reaction to the Poly.
Indyanne...Could be folly to go against this undefeated sprinter -- but might still have to validate that 108 Beyer from last time, which was a significant jump from her prior efforts.
Palanka City...Probably better than last and should appreciate the cutback.
NINTH RACE - Baruch Hpc G2
Operation Red Dawn...Trainer seems a little cool at the meet but this one has been going OK this season. We'll see...
Proudinsky...The clunker last time seems like an aberration. Expect better.
Distorted Reality...Beyers are moving in the right direction.
TENTH RACE - King's Bishop G1
Kodiak Kowboy...There should be plenty of pace and look for this one late.
J Be K...Has to be considered the top 3YO sprinter at this point -- and will be ultra-tough in here.
Desert Key...Just got nipped but was impressive in the gritty effort last time.
ELEVENTH - THE TRAVERS G1 $1mil
Pyro...This was the guy after the Fair Grounds wins earlier this year. Last two seem to indicate he's back in good form.
Colonel John...Our Ky Derby pick this year disappointed in that race. Comebacker in the Swaps was perhaps a little puzzling, but, like the top pick, this one was near the top of the class earlier this year and is capable of running big. Dirt question marks still need to be answered however.
Macho Again...Preakness runner-up will be dangerous with the Jim Dandy win over the course under his belt.
Mambo in Seattle.
Fra Lippo...Last was his second career start and his first off a layoff. Look for improvement.
Night in Tunisia...In a field full of many-time losers you can do worse than the 'fresh-face'.
Burnished Copper...Looks to be on the improve.
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