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3-STRONG HOPE #2
1-PEACE RULES #3
4-TEN MOST WANTED #4
1a-EMPIRE MAKER #5
5-WILD AND WICKED #6
6-FUNNY CIDE #7
7-SKY MESA #8
EM & PR (8/5) are a coupled entry as Bailey is named to both and only one will go. FC is 3-1 ML. (thanks 1/4 pole for the info)
Tagg said FC is 75% a go.
He also said this...
Tagg seemed to indicate that entering in the Travers would be insurance in case Empire Maker, the probable Travers favorite, is withdrawn.
"If Empire Maker scratches and the race fell apart I'd feel kind of stupid not having him in there," Tagg said. "He's a reasonably sound horse, he's in reasonably good condition, he's reasonably healthy now."
Look for FC to be scratched if EM runs....sad but true!
He said 75% today Guidos- I think your quote was couple days ago.
The owners of FC were there for the draw and they seemed excited to run...
Heres futures from starnet books-(looks like they agree with you unless they havent updated- they dont even show peacerules is he gone already?)(all bets action)
Ten Most Wanted
Wild And Wicked
Empire' coughs and field expands
By DAVID GRENING
Empire Maker, shown training last week, has a cough which clouded his status for the Travers.
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - With news that Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker may not be 100 percent healthy, the field for Saturday's $1 million Travers Stakes swelled to eight entrants, including Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide, Belmont winner Empire Maker, and Haskell winner Peace Rules.
It remains to be seen, however, which of that trio actually run.
Trainer Bobby Frankel revealed Wednesday morning that Empire Maker has coughed a few times and had "a tiny bit'' of mucus in his lungs following a strong workout Saturday. While Frankel believes Empire Maker will be fine, he entered Peace Rules as insurance. Frankel named Jerry Bailey on both, meaning only one would be permitted to run. It costs $5,000 to enter the Travers.
"He coughed, but he's coughed before,'' Frankel said, adding that Empire Maker coughed before finishing second in the Jim Dandy. "He went to the track this morning. We've taken bloods; the bloods seem fine. We scoped him a few days ago, he had a tiny bit of mucus. Hopefully, we can dry it up by then. . . . Since I have the option - the other horse is doing well - I might as well take it.''
Noting that Empire Maker had a foot problem the week leading up to the Kentucky Derby, Frankel said, "This horse has never made my life easy.''
Frankel was originally planning to run Peace Rules in the $750,000 Pennsylvania Derby at Philadelphia Park on Sept. 1. Frankel said that if he scratches Empire Maker from the Travers, he would point him to the Grade 1 Woodward at Belmont on Sept. 6.
The presence of Funny Cide and Empire Maker in the entries plus a forecast that calls for sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 70's could make for a record-breaking Travers Day crowd. The Travers record attendance is 60,486 set in 2001 when Point Given won.
The rumors of Empire Maker's health prompted trainer Shug McGaughey to enter Congrats, who finished third in the Jim Dandy, in the Travers.
"He won't run if Empire Maker runs,'' said McGaughey, who trains Congrats for Seth Hancock's Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider. "I heard the rumor late [Wednesday] morning, I discussed it with Seth, and he said for $5,000 we'll take a look. If the rumors are true we'll run, if they're not true we won't run.''
In stakes races, trainers have up to 45 minutes before post time to scratch. Post time for the Travers is 6:25 p.m. Gates open Saturday at 7 a.m. and first post for the 12-race card is 12:30 p.m.
As expected, the connections of Funny Cide put up the $5,000 entry fee to enter the Travers. Trainer Barclay Tagg sent mixed messages as to the likelihood of Funny Cide actually competing. During a press conference, Tagg said Funny Cide was 75 percent likely to run.
Afterward, Tagg said he defines 75 percent as "highly unlikely'' to run, a phrase he has used repeatedly this week.
"I'm not real keen on running this horse in a hard race in the hot weather at this time of year,'' Tagg said. "He's had a very, very tough campaign; very few horses have had to do this after a Triple Crown campaign. Still, it's his only chance at the Travers and it might be my only chance at the Travers. If I think he can win the race I'll run him, if I don't think he can win I won't.''
Tagg said the results of a blood test he planned to take Wednesday would play a role in his decision. A blood test taken over the weekend showed a slightly elevated white blood cell count. Still, Funny Cide was well enough to work four furlongs in 47.82 seconds Tuesday.
No matter who runs in the Travers, the horse to catch will be Strong Hope, a winner of five straight races, including a neck victory over Empire Maker in the Jim Dandy last out. Strong Hope drew post 2, a good starting position for a speed horse.
"It's an interesting Travers,'' trainer Todd Pletcher said. "It went from five horses to eight horses and nobody knows who's running. Our horse is doing well; he's trained very well since the Jim Dandy. We'll see who shows up. Hopefully, we'll run our race regardless.''
Ten Most Wanted, runner-up to Empire Maker in the Belmont Stakes, drew post 4 and should be able to work out a ground-saving trip if Congrats and Peace Rules, who drew the rail and post 3, respectively, both scratch.
Sky Mesa, who finished 7 1/4 lengths ahead of Funny Cide when second to Peace Rules in the Haskell, drew post 8. Donna Ward, assistant trainer to her husband, John, said she expects Sky Mesa to be a little closer to the pace than he was in the Haskell.
Wild and Wicked, who drew post 6, blew out three furlongs in 35.40 seconds Wednesday morning over the main track.
I'm not sure what your point is....I'm not disputing that Tagg said 75% today, which is why I repeated what he said 2 days ago....my point is just what I said...."Look for FC to be scratched if EM runs"....now are you taking the opposite position, ie. that Tagg/Sackatoga group will have the courage to face EM? If so, I hope you are right, but I doubt that they do.
SOMETHING 'FUNNY' GOING ON? PLENTY TO PONDER IN 134TH TRAVERS
By Eric Donovan
On the far turn of the Belmont Stakes when Empire Maker pulled Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey to the lead and then accelerated, he ended Funny Cide's bid to become racing's 12th Triple Crown winner.
Everyone in racing was looking forward to a rematch between the two in the 134th running of the Grade 1, $1 million Travers at Saratoga Race Course on Saturday, August 23rd. Following Funny Cide's dull third-place finish in the Haskell and a high post-race temperature of 102, chances looked slim that the overachieving gelding would compete in the storied "Mid-Summer Derby" for three-year-olds at a mile and a quarter.
Over the past few days, Funny Cide has perked up and worked well. Although he is not certain Saturday's Travers, trainer Barclay Tagg said the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner is "75 percent" likely to run.
Juddmonte Farms' Empire Maker will be the favorite in the Travers, which is race 11 of a 12-race card that begins with a first-race post at 12:30 p.m. Eastern. The Travers (6:25 p.m. EDT) will be shown live on ESPN, along with the King's Bishop and Fourstardave from 5 to 6:30 p.m. The Ballston Spa Breeders' Cup will be shown tape delayed. There will be a $1 million guaranteed Pick 4 pool linking all stakes races. Parking fields open at 6:45 a.m. and admission gates will open at 7 a.m.
Empire Maker will face a group of three-year-olds in the Travers that he has not dominated. Funny Cide beat him in the Kentucky Derby, Strong Hope held him off recently in the Jim Dandy and Ten Most Wanted nearly ran him down in the Belmont Stakes. Despite this, Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel is very confident that he and Bailey will win back-to-back Travers after scoring last year with Medaglia d'Oro.
"If they all run their best race, I think I should win," Frankel said. "If he wins this race, he's definitely the leading three-year-old for awards."
In the Jim Dandy, Frankel and Bailey found out a way Empire Maker could be beat: if he is positioned off the pace. The speedy Strong Hope made the lead in the Jim Dandy, while Empire Maker was six lengths out of it in the early stages. Empire Maker finished with a determined rally, but came up a neck short.
"I think the mistake we've been making all along is not putting him right in the race," Frankel said. "He does have enough speed to be in the race. The other day he got himself beat. He's so easy to ride, you just take a hold of him and he'll drop back on you. I'm not blaming [Bailey], he's trying to ride a good race and he sees two speeds so he drops back.
"Every time he's up close near the lead and even when he makes the lead and someone comes to him, he takes off again. Every race that he's won, he's been in the battle; turning for home he's been right there."
Such was the case in the Belmont Stakes. After sitting just a length behind Funny Cide early and passing the Triple Crown hopeful, Ten Most Wanted loomed a dangerous threat on the outside. For a few strides, it looked as though Ten Most Wanted would be the Belmont winner, but when Empire Maker saw him, he dug in and found more, edging away to a three-quarter length decision.
Rumors have swirled around Saratoga that Empire Maker is not 100 percent. Frankel, who entered Haskell winner Peace Rules for "insurance purposes," admitted that Empire Maker has coughed recently, but he is not overly concerned.
"There's always rumors," Frankel said. "He missed one day going to the track, so that's probably how it started."
Bailey has been named to ride Peace Rules as well, and the two Frankel runners have been coupled in the wagering even though they are owned by different connections since Frankel only intends to run one.
If he does run, Peace Rules figures to fight for the lead early with Strong Hope. "He's a gutty little horse and don't ever underestimate him," Frankel warned.
Saratoga Springs has been waiting for Funny Cide to run here. The first race of his career came less than a week after the conclusion of last year's meet. Despite never running over the local strip, the gelding has a huge upstate following.
Born at McMahon's Thoroughbreds of Saratoga, some local betting parlors did not have enough money on hand to pay out all backers when the popular New York-bred scored a 12-1 upset in the Kentucky Derby. Funny Cide's following snowballed after an authoritative romp in the Preakness. Perhaps the bandwagon was too full for the Belmont, the last leg of the Visa Triple Crown.
Funny Cide made the lead over a sloppy track in the Belmont and was rank. He appeared beaten at the top of the stretch, but still gave his all, only finishing five lengths behind Empire Maker in third.
Tagg is far more pleased with Funny Cide's Tuesday workout of :47 4/5 for a half-mile, than he was the gelding's works leading up to the Haskell.
"I didn't like the way he breezed two times before the Haskell," Tagg said. "I thought they were adequate, but I didn't like the way he cooled out afterwards. I didn't think he was 1000 percent and he ran like he wasn't 1000 percent or 100 percent either.
"He seemed to come out of [Tuesday's] work really well. He wasn't perspiring too much and wasn't blowing a whole lot."
After returning from Monmouth in less than perfect shape, Tagg knew it would not be easy to have Funny Cide exactly where he would want him for the Travers.
"It's kind of a push to get him into this race," said Tagg, who won the Grade 1 Alabama last week with three-year-old filly Island Fashion. "You hate to miss the Travers, you hate to miss a $1 million race, but you've got to do what's best for the horse or you'll miss the rest of the year."
Jack Knowlton, the managing partner of the locally based Sackatoga Stable, seemed confident at the post-position draw Wednesday morning where Funny Cide drew post seven.
"It would be tremendous, obviously, for this horse to win," Knowlton said. "He won two legs of the Triple Crown and to come back and win the Travers, another Grade 1 in our own backyard, would be fabulous. You look ahead to three-year-old of the year and a win here would certainly put him in a good spot."
Ten Most Wanted is a son of 1997 Travers winner Deputy Commander. Wally Dollase trained Deputy Commander and if Ten Most Wanted can win the Travers, Dollase would become the first conditioner to win this prestigious race with a sire and a son of that sire since Bert Mulholland did it with Eight Thirty and Lights Up in 1939 and 1950.
"That would be incredible," said Dollase, who trained Deputy Commander to a runner-up finish in the Breeders' Cup Classic. "The sire was so good to me. I ran him on Derby Day in a grass race because he was still immature mentally. As the year went on, he got really, really good and we're hoping the same situation happens this year with Ten Most Wanted."
The son of Deputy Commander won the Illinois Derby and finished second in the Belmont Stakes and Swaps, but Dollase is sure his best is yet to come.
"He's just coming into his own," Dollase said. "He's improved mentally and physically every race."
Dollase has elected to equip J. Paul Reddam's Ten Most Wanted with a pair of French-cut or "cheater" blinkers, thinking that could help elevate the colt to the next level.
"He lost his focus a little bit in the Swaps and there's no doubt in my mind it cost him the race," said Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day, who will be looking for his fourth Travers victory when he climbs aboard Ten Most Wanted. "When we came off the turn, considering how easy we had gotten there, I thought it was a question of by how far, not winning or losing. He made the lead, threw his head up, pricked his ears and came out of the bridle."
Day and Ten Most Wanted almost pulled off a stunning upset in the Belmont, but they could not get by Empire Maker.
"If a person was able to sit and wait until the last moment to pounce and try to catch him while he's lollygagging and jump in front of him and beat him at the wire before he could fight back, that could be one way to beat him," Day said. "But we're not the only two horses in the race, so you're going to have to be cognizant of everybody."
Eugene and Laura Melnyk's Strong Hope is the speed of the Travers and is handled by leading jockey and trainer John Velazquez and Todd Pletcher. Strong Hope has won five straight on the lead including the Grade 2 Dwyer and Jim Dandy. He held off Empire Maker at a mile and an eighth, but he will have to do it for an extra furlong in the Travers.
"What I'm hoping for is that he keeps getting a little better like he has and then when we do stretch it out, the pace scenario is going to be key," Pletcher said. "Hopefully, having that mile and an eighth race under his belt here, that will move him up another notch. I think the horse has trained better since then than he did leading up to the Jim Dandy."
Should others in the field try to run with the quick Strong Hope, they could lose some starch out of their finishing kicks.
"They're probably going to keep Empire Maker more involved this time and not let us sneak away," Pletcher said. "If they soften Empire Maker up a little bit chasing us, then that could be in our favor."
Pletcher has won numerous Grade 1s, but never a race with the stature of the Travers. For a jockey and trainer who have shattered the previously held four-week Saratoga records, a Travers win would be the cherry on top of the sundae.
"To win the Travers-forget about training titles or anything like that -- that is the kind of race that is bigger than a training title," Pletcher said. "The Travers is Saratoga. That would cap a great meet."
"It's going unbelievable right now anyway, but that would be a great thing to do," Velazquez concurred. "I can't think of a word describing how it would be to win the Travers."
John Oxley's Sky Mesa will be making his sixth start Saturday. Undefeated in three races as a two-year-old, the Pulpit colt is 0-for-2 this year, but has run well in both starts. Sky Mesa finished third behind Strong Hope in the Dwyer and was cutting into the Haskell lead of Peace Rules at the wire.
"He's had two consistent races this year," trainer John Ward Jr. said. "I was very impressed by his race at Monmouth. He showed the ability to really close big. He came of age at the eighth-pole when he locked on to [Peace Rules] and really came to him. His maturity is coming quickly and I think we turned the corner on that the other day."
Sky Mesa will be reunited with jockey Edgar Prado, Saratoga's leading jockey in 2002, who will try for his first Travers win.
Wild And Wicked is the lightest-raced member of the Travers field with only four starts under his belt. He won his first three races in convincing fashion, including a 3 1/4- length triumph in the Ohio Derby. The Wild Again colt made his last start in the Haskell, fourth 10 lengths behind Peace Rules.
"I've never had one start off so impressive," said trainer Ken McPeek, who saddled Repent to a narrow defeat in last year's Travers. "I think his last race is a throw- out. For whatever reason, he might have been a little dull from the ship down and the heat. He didn't run near the race he's capable of running. We had six weeks between the Ohio Derby and the Haskell and I may have been a little soft on him."
In the Travers, Wild And Wicked will run with Lasix for the first time. His pilot, Shane Sellers, won this race aboard Unshaded in 2000.
Congrats, whose trainer, Shug McGaughey, said would not run in the Travers earlier this week, has been entered. Light on stakes experience, he was just 2 3/4 lengths behind Strong Hope and Empire Maker in the Jim Dandy making his first start outside maiden or allowance company.
- 30 -
Probably value in those futures!!!
Trainer Bobby Frankel said Thursday morning that it is doubtful Empire Maker will run in Saturday's $1-million Travers Stakes at Saratoga, but that a final decision will not be made until Friday at the earliest.
Frankel said Empire Maker did not "eat up" Wednesday afternoon and that the colt "has been a little quieter than usual." Also, there has been some mucous in the colt's trachea and the son of Unbridled has had an elevated temperature and been coughing recently. But he noted Empire Maker's temperature generally is a little higher than the norm for most horses and that the colt had not coughed within the past 24 hours.
Frankel did not take Empire Maker to the track on Thursday and will gallop him Friday if he indicates he is feeling better.
"I'm looking for an excuse not to run him, not an excuse to run him," Frankel said. "I want to play it on the safe side."
The trainer said blood has been drawn from Empire Maker to see if there is some internal problem.
If Empire Maker does not run, Frankel will be represented in the Travers by Peace Rules.
Thursday, August 21
Empire Maker doubtful for Travers
By David Grening
Daily Racing Form
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker will probably be scratched from Saturday's $1 million Travers Stakes, trainer Bobby Frankel said Thursday morning.
On Wednesday, Frankel said that Empire Maker had coughed a few times and had a "tiny bit of mucous" the last time he underwent an endoscopic examination. On Thursday, Frankel said Empire Maker had left a handful of grain from the previous evening. Frankel also said the horse was "quiet" Thursday morning and Frankel did not take him to the track to train. It was the third time in five days that Empire Maker did not go to the track.
"He left over a handful of feed, that's more concern to me than anything else," Frankel said. "If he had ate up and everything I would have sent him to the track. He's probably not going to run, but it's not definite."
If he scratches Empire Maker, Frankel would still run in the Travers with Haskell winner Peace Rules. Frankel said he would then point Empire Maker to the Grade 1 Woodward on Sept. 6.
Meanwhile, trainer Barclay Tagg said he has not yet decided whether Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide would run in the Travers. Funny Cide galloped 1 1-2 miles over the Clare Court, half-mile track Thursday morning. Tagg said he would probably wait until early Saturday afternoon before deciding.
"I'm going to give him another day of galloping [Friday] see how he is, see what his blood test is like see what the weather is going to be like," Tagg said. "I'm not going to run him on a really, really hot day. I'm not going to run him if his blood hasn't changed for the better, and I'm not going to run him if the race stays like it is."
Given the fact the temperatures are supposed to be in the mid 70s and that Empire Maker is likely to withdraw, only a bad blood test would likely keep Funny Cide from running.
The most valuable commodity I know of is information
Empire Maker and Funny Cide were both declared out of the 134th running of the $1 million Travers Stakes (Gr. 1) by their connections on Friday morning. The expected rematch between the 3-year-olds will not happen.
There are now six horses left in the 1 1/4-mile race for 3-year-olds on Saturday. They are (from the rail out with jockeys): Congrats (Mike Luzzi); Strong Hope (John Velazquez); Peace Rules (Jerry Bailey); Ten Most Wanted (Pat Day); Wild and Wicked (Shane Sellers); and Sky Mesa (Edgar Prado).
Funny Cide, who won the Kentucky Derby (Gr. 1) and the Preakness Stakes (Gr. 1), finished third in the Haskell Invitational (Gr. 1) on Aug. 3 and his status for the Travers had been the source of speculation ever since. The New York-bred gelding was entered ? at a cost of $5,000 to owner Sackatoga Stable ? after he worked 4 furlongs in :47 4/5 on Tuesday morning, but trainer Baclay Tagg made the final decision on Friday morning to pass on the Travers.
Rumors had spread around the Saratoga barn area all week about the health of Belmont Stakes (Gr. 1) winner Empire Maker, too. Frankel aknowledged the rumors when he entered both Empire Maker and Peace Rules in the Travers on Wednesday morning; Jerry Bailey was named on both horses, so one had be scratched prior to the race.
Strong Hope, the frontrunning winner of the Dwyer (Gr. 2) at Belmont and the Jim Dandy (Gr. 2) at Saratoga, is conditioned by leading trainer Todd Pletcher and he will be ridden by leading jockey John Velazquez.
Sky Mesa won the Hopeful Stakes (Gr. 1) at Saratoga in 2002. He will break from the outside No. 8 post.
The Travers will go to post at 6:25 p.m. as the 11th race on a 12-race card.
The 134th running of the $1 million Travers Stakes will be part of a three-hour ESPN telecast that starts at 5 p.m. EDT.
There is plenty of wagering available on the Travers, including win, place, show, exacta and the first half of the late daily double. The Mid-Summer Derby is also the final leg of the Pick Six and the $1 Million Guaranteed Pick 4.
General Assembly set the stakes record at 2:00 in 1979. Medaglia d'Oro won the 2002 running in 2:02 2/5. (Medaglia d'Oro, who won the 2003 Whitney, is trained by Bobby Frankel.)
The field for the 134th running of the $1 million Travers (Gr. 1) with adjusted post positions, horse, owner, trainer and jockey:
1 ? Congrats (Adele B. Dilschneider / Claude McGaughey / Mike Luzzi);
2 ? Strong Hope (Eugene and Laura Melnyk / Todd Pletcher / John Velazquez);
3 ? Peace Rules (Edmund Gann / Robert Frankel / Jerry Bailey);
4 ? Ten Most Wanted (J. Paul Reddam / Wallace Dollase / Pat Day);
5 ? Wild and Wicked (Robert David Randal / Ken McPeek / Shane Sellers);
6 ? Sky Mesa (John C. Oxley / John T. Ward Jr. / Edgar Prado).
Note ? Empire Maker and Funny Cide were both declared on Friday.
This actually becomes a very very interesting betting proposition, now that tweedle dum and tweedle dee have decided to stay in the barn.
I actually think anyone of 3 horses could go off the fave. Peace Rules, Strong Hope, or Sky Mesa.
fwiw, here's my ml, in adj. pp order.
STRONG HOPE 2.8
PEACE RULES 2.3
TEN MOST WANTED 4
WILD AND WICKED 15
SKY MESA 2.7
What it seems to come down to is, can either Strong Hope or Peace Rules get the 10 furlongs while beating each other's brains in on the front end. And if not, which of the others is most likely to put in their peak effort in this race. Well damned if I know, but that's what it comes down to.
Also, I think as one who has criticized some trainers in the past for not running their horses where they ought to have, I think we all ought to give plaudits to Frankel and especially Tagg for doing what was best for their animals. Obviously it was a much easier descision for Bobby, have Peace Rules as his backup, but Tagg, with all the pressure from..well christ..where to begin...the owners, the NYRA, ESPN, the fans...and especially knowing Empire Maker was out for sure, well I was pretty shocked to see him not run Funny Cide. Good for you Barclay.
Empire Maker pointed to JCGC, after thinking about Woodward (yah right, Bobby knows a one turn 1&/8th against the monster is not what is in EM's best interest.)
Funny Cide...who knows.
Anyone care to have a bet on how many lengths Wild Spirit wins by today. Let's start the bidding at 8.5 O/U -110.