#10 – The Travers

THE INTRIGUE                                       

The 140th running of the Travers didn’t feature Rachel Alexandra, who most believed at the time was the best 3YO of either sex, but the winners of the Belmont, Florida Derby, Lane’s End, Jim Dandy, Dwyer, Peter Pan, and Barbaro made up the field of seven. 

THE PLAYERS                              

Fresh off a victory in the Amsterdam, Quality Road was sent off the favorite in the Travers at 3/2.  He would be negotiating a distance beyond nine furlongs for the first time and an overnight and day-long deluge rendered the main track a sloppy mess.  The well noted foot problems of this son of Elusive Quality made the task even taller.

Kensei was coming into the Travers off of victories in the Dwyer and Jim Dandy and his potential at stud was the main reason why he, and not his stablemate Rachel Alexandra, was in this field.  His ability going a distance of ground came as a surprise to many and he certainly came into this event in tip-top shape.

Summer Bird‘s non-threatening finish in the Kentucky Derby hardly stamped him as the type of horse that you’d back in the third leg of racing’s Triple Crown.  However, the son of 2004 Belmont Stakes winner Birdstone flourished at the demanding distance of 12 furlongs and swept by Ky Derby winner Mine That Bird at the eighth pole to win convincingly.  After a distant 2nd place finish to Rachel Alexandra in the Haskell, he came to the Travers with a chance to make himself the leading candidate for the Eclipse Award for Champion Three Year-Old.


The Daily Racing Form chart leaves little to teh imagination in terms of who was superior in the Travers.  Summer Bird became the first Belmont-Travers winner since his papa five years before as he stalked the pace, took over and kicked clear with authority.  The most disappointing effort came from Kensei, who clearly did not handle the 10 furlongs nor was he able to grab the sloppy track.  Quality Road was stuck in behind the leaders for the majority of the trip and checked in a well-beaten third but still looked like a horse with some learning to do making only his 2nd start off a long layoff.


Enjoy the 140th running of the Travers

I’ll be back tomorrow as we count down the Top 10 NY Races of 2009 with #9.


One Response to “#10 – The Travers”

  1. Jessica Chapel / Railbird v2 - Racing ‘09, ’00s in Review: The List of Lists Says:

    […] 10 Best NY Races: #10, #9 (Nick […]

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