Saratoga Springs

Juicy Travers news in wake of Tenfold’s Jim Dandy

Funky stretch drive by Tenfold in the traditional Travers prep, followed by word that the filly Wonder Gadot may run in Saratoga's big race on Aug. 25
Jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. is all smiles after Tenfold won the Jim Dandy despite wandering to the middle of the home stretch.
Jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. is all smiles after Tenfold won the Jim Dandy despite wandering to the middle of the home stretch.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Apparently a weekend’s worth of stakes races for 3-year-old colts at Saratoga Race Course hasn’t scared at least one trainer from considering sending his filly to the Travers Stakes on Aug. 25.

Hofburg won the Curlin impressively on Friday, then Tenfold took a funky, TV-watching route to the finish line in the Grade II Jim Dandy on Saturday.

Trainer Mark Casse, after saddling Flameaway to a second-place finish in the Jim Dandy, threw a dancing curveball toward the Travers plate when he said he’s “fairly certain” he’ll send his star filly Wonder Gadot to the signature race of the Saratoga meet, usually an exclusive boys’ club for colts.

A dull post-Justify 3-year-old colt division suddenly has an intriguing twist from an outsider, a filly who is in position to win the Canadian Triple Crown but was scheduled skip the third leg to run in the Alabama at Saratoga instead.

If Wonder Gadot winds up in the Travers, Tenfold is supposed to be in the starting gate, too.

Trainer Steve Asmussen said he was pleased to get a race over the Saratoga main track to springboard Tenfold to the Travers.

It wasn’t a thing of beauty visually, as Tenfold drifted out under jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. and continued to drift into the middle of the track in the stretch, while Flameaway grinded away at the rail. But it was an important win, by three-quarters of a length, for a horse coming off a fifth to Triple Crown winner Justify in the Belmont Stakes.

“This is the type of horse we thought we’d have for the Belmont,” Asmussen said. “I watched it from down the stretch a bit because he has lost concentration. I’m glad he still won the race. But we all know he can do better, and we have work to do.”

“I had plenty in the tank,” Santana said. “He was watching the TV [infield screen] and he got a little scared, but he passed the wire first. Today, he showed his class.”

Casse sounded much more inclined to send his filly Wonder Gadot to the Travers than his Jim Dandy runner-up Flameaway.

A filly hasn’t run in the Travers since 1979, when Davona Dale was fourth, and a filly hasn’t won it since Lady Rotha in 1915.

“I think Wonder Gadot is going to run in the Travers,” Casse said. “We’ll see. I’m fairly certain, if everything stays the same, we’re going to try the Travers with her. She likes the mile  and a quarter as good as anybody. We figure it’s one of our only shots, so why not go for it?”

Why not, indeed?

That was the question posed by Monomoy Girl’s trainer, Brad Cox, before the meet even started, and although it’s highly doubtful that his filly will go in the Travers and may even skip the Alabama, he suggested that this might be the year when one of the top fillies could take a shot.

Besides Tenfold’s antics, many in the crowd of 37,189 caught their collective breath as Sporting Chance came off the second turn, especially after a horse had broken down earlier in the card.

Sporting Chance abruptly dropped out of the race, bolted toward the rail in the homestretch and was pulled up by Luis Saez and did not finish.

As it turned out, Sporting Chance swerved when Saez dropped his left rein as he adjusted his goggles and bolted again at the quarter pole, so Saez took him out of the race. The colt, who won the Hopeful at Saratoga last year, walked back up the track to the gap leading to Union Avenue and trainer D. Wayne Lukas’ barn on the Oklahoma side.

In the fifth race, a six-furlong maiden race for 2-year-olds, Macho Citizen, also ridden by Saez, was pulled up at the three-eighths pole on the main track and was vanned off. He was euthanized, the second equine racing death of the meet.

Also in the fifth, Olympic Express came up lame on the gallop-out and was vanned off after finishing fourth.

On Wednesday, Heartspoke was pulled up at the three-sixteenths pole of the main track, then collapsed and died, possibly of a heart attack.

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Mike MacAdam at 518-395-3146 or [email protected]. Follow on Twitter @Mike_MacAdam.

Categories: -Sports

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