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PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 3:47 pm 
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American Pharoah has been installed the 1-5 favorite for Saturday's Travers Stakes. Here's the official field in post position order, jockeys and program odds for the 146th running of the 1.6 Million Dollar GR I Travers Stakes. TJ

1. Upstart 15-1 and Irad Ortiz Jr.
2. American Pharoah 1-5 and Victor Espinoza
3. Mid Ocean 50-1 and Manny Franco
4. Texas Red 8-1 and Kent Desormeaux
5. Frammento 30-1 and Jose Ortiz
6. Frosted 6-1 and Joel Rosario
7. Keen Ice 12-1 and Javier Castellano
8. Tale of Verve 30-1 and Gary Stevens
9. King of New York 50-1 and Julien Leparoux
10. Smart Transition 30-1 and John Velazquez


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 5:16 pm 
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I'm surprised to see Upstart there as I thought they were going to avoid American Pharoah.

I'm not familiar with a couple of these, but in general it's a worthy field with a good number of horses and some very good horses.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 5:20 pm 
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geowarrior wrote:
I'm surprised to see Upstart there as I thought they were going to avoid American Pharoah.

I'm not familiar with a couple of these, but in general it's a worthy field with a good number of horses and some very good horses.

Hi Geo,
There's speculation Upstart will not run....Violette is still contemplating it? TJ


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2015 10:30 am 
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It will be an interesting race. Lots of not-so-favorable Saratoga history for AP to overcome and I'm a little nervous about the fact that he's just heading there today. I'm (trying to be) confident that he usually travels well and pray he shows up with his game face on. Short of bad luck (and knock on wood that there isn't any!), if he is in the condition and frame of mind that he was for the Haskell, I don't think anyone in that field can beat him. Man, I love this horse!

I hope beyond hope that he wins it—and handily—as is his style. And I hope that Frosted (my other favorite) clinches second. :D


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2015 5:55 pm 
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After weighing the pros (undefeated at Saratoga in his only 2 starts and a much fitter horse now after his race in the Haskell) and the cons (American Pharoah, American Pharoah, American Pharoah:>) and after a meeting with his owners, Ricky Violette changed his mind and decided to run Upstart in tomorrow's Travers. Maybe he didn't see this picture of AP:>) Posted by Geo in the handicapping section. TJ
https://scontent-iad3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hp ... e=56705089


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2015 8:04 pm 
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Wow what a race. My husband plunked down $4.80 for a 20cent Superfecta and won. He got back $115 or so.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2015 4:00 am 
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After watching the race yesterday, I certainly hope Team AP decides to give the horse a rest. Second place is no shame, but to me it was apparent American Pharoah didn't have his usual spark. He did shake off Frosted and I don't think Frosted pressed him all that much with the fractions posted. AP just didn't have anything left in the tank. He's due for some time off and the focus should be on the Breeder's Cup Classic. Forget the other races that are possibilities. Hope he is OK and it's just fatigue catching up with him.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2015 8:00 am 
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I believe the Travers was the last we'll see of American Pharoah on the racetrack. He proved he is not a mile and a quarter horse, so I doubt they will consider running him back in the BC Classic. There's not enough time to give him some time off, then have him ready to go in the BC Classic at his worst distance and only 2 months away. He has been brilliant in all race distances except a mile and a quarter. The two times he tried the distance he never showed that same brilliance he did in all his other races. The Derby also found him struggling, only that time he prevailed through sheer grit and determination. He tried to gut it out in the Travers as he did in the Derby, but after being softened by Frosted and then putting that one away....he had nothing left for Keen Ice's final surge. It is a shame to see him go out like this, being beaten by a horse whose resume showed only one win, a maiden win prior to defeating the Champ.
Then listening to Espinoza talk after the defeat, while he huffed and puffed because he didn't have the common sense to get a couple mounts prior to riding the biggest race of his life....I just don't get it. Sitting in the jocks room all day long then coming out to ride a mile and a quarter, I think Victor got more tired then AP did. TJ


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2015 6:06 pm 
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TJ, this post kind of puzzles me, especially from someone with your usual acumen. American Pharoah is hardly the first top horse ever to be beaten by a late-running opponent after being softened up by a good stiff challenge from something else (Twilight Tear pops immediately to mind in the 1944 Alabama), and Keen Ice had four graded stakes placings to his credit---that's a little more than just a maiden winner. TRAKUS data had Pharoah running several lengths further than Firing Line in the Derby, and the horse did win the Belmont in fast time and with a very sharp closing quarter. I would certainly be hesitant to call Pharoah "not a mile and a quarter horse" based on his record, especially since the wear and tear of several cross-country trips may also have been a factor in the Travers. As for "the biggest race of his life"---the Travers? Really? for either Pharaoh or Espinoza?

Two months is plenty of time to get a healthy horse already in racing trim fit to go a mile and a quarter if mild freshening (not a full turn-out) is all that's needed. I can understand questioning whether the colt's good enough to handle Honor Code or Beholder if they roll into the Classic in top form, but he'll get his chance to prove himself in the Classic unless he gets hurt first.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2015 10:47 am 
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Mahubah wrote:
TJ, this post kind of puzzles me, especially from someone with your usual acumen. American Pharoah is hardly the first top horse ever to be beaten by a late-running opponent after being softened up by a good stiff challenge from something else (Twilight Tear pops immediately to mind in the 1944 Alabama), and Keen Ice had four graded stakes placings to his credit---that's a little more than just a maiden winner. TRAKUS data had Pharoah running several lengths further than Firing Line in the Derby, and the horse did win the Belmont in fast time and with a very sharp closing quarter. I would certainly be hesitant to call Pharoah "not a mile and a quarter horse" based on his record, especially since the wear and tear of several cross-country trips may also have been a factor in the Travers. As for "the biggest race of his life"---the Travers? Really? for either Pharaoh or Espinoza?

Two months is plenty of time to get a healthy horse already in racing trim fit to go a mile and a quarter if mild freshening (not a full turn-out) is all that's needed. I can understand questioning whether the colt's good enough to handle Honor Code or Beholder if they roll into the Classic in top form, but he'll get his chance to prove himself in the Classic unless he gets hurt first.

Hi Mahubah,
I'm aware he isn't the first to be beaten after being softened by a competitor. Yet I didn't believe Frosted was that serious a threat to the pace that he could hurt AP's chances. I hold AP to a much higher standard than that. They did get rolling after they ran 3/4's of a mile in the Travers and the one most compromised by Lezcano's decision to press the pace was Frosted. McLaughlin worked so hard to get Frosted to relax early and finish strong and we can rest assured Lezcano will never ride Frosted again. AP was valiant in defeat, but in my opinion he just isn't the same horse at the mile and a quarter distance. I certainly could be dead wrong and it wouldn't be the first time, yet looking at his overall record....he just doesn't have the ability to disengage himself (or finish strong) from the 1/4 pole when going a mile and a quarter (25 4/5ths in the Derby, 26 4/5ths in the Travers). There has been nothing spectacular about him at that distance...though he certainly looked to be just that at every other distance. Keen Ice is a nice horse, but he's no American Pharoah. When we saw how AP beat Keen Ice in the Haskell actually being eased up in that mile and an eight race....but couldn't hold off Keen's bid through the lane in the Travers...I have to think it was the distance. There's something about that distance which compromises his ability to disengage himself from his field as he has in all other races. Personally I think it could have something to do with the influence of his dam....which at the mile and a quarter distance may show itself?
Don't get me wrong, I think he is a great horse....but different from other great ones I have seen. He consistently outran his pedigree and in my opinion it is because of his great attitude and disposition. His most efficient and long stride, his ability to recover quickly from his races and the way he barely touches the ground yet propels himself so powerfully....this a very good thing, as it has preserved his soundness due to the light touch (reduced concussion) when he hits the ground in full stride. His ability to take everything in stride (no pun intended:-), the way he handles traveling and all the different tracks he has run well over....he is no ordinary horse!!
Concerning AP's ability to negotiate the 1 1/2 mile distance, pace is the real concern at that distance. Especially in the Belmont Stakes where I thought he had the ability to control the pace and therefore the race. If they went with him early they were in trouble and if they didn't, they were in more trouble:>) American Pharoah had them over a barrel and galloped around "big sandy"....going his 1st 3'4's of a mile in 1:13.43 and his last 3/4's in 1:13.24. We know he's capable of going 3/4's in 1:10 in a workout, so after the first 3/4's of the Belmont Stakes he had 15 lengths waiting in reserve. Slow fractions enabled AP to easily win the Belmont Stakes without a concern of tiring under these slow fractions. It really isn't as serious a distance as a mile and a quarter, where the fractions are much faster at the GR I level.
In recent events, I've all ready been proved wrong as Baffert and Zayat will run him back in the BC Classic...and I will gladly eat crow if he runs off and hides at the mile and a quarter distance for the first time in his career. I do want to see him win and through the years I've always believed 3YO's hold a big edge in late October against older rivals. I do feel the distance of the Classic off a 2 month layoff could be a real issue for him....though they said they may give him a prep race and I hope they do find something for him. TJ


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2015 5:00 pm 
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Fair enough! :wink:

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 06, 2015 4:05 am 
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I wouldn't assume that he is going to run in the classic (regardless of the statements made this week). Team Zayat is in a tough spot. If they run him back and he gets beat - poof - millions down the drain. With the likes of Liam's Map and Beholder displaying what he might face...they are certainly popping Tums like candy.

It sounds better to say that we have the confidence now...then wait for the "spiked fever" to interrupt his training later on.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 06, 2015 8:45 am 
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ct2346 wrote:
I wouldn't assume that he is going to run in the classic (regardless of the statements made this week). Team Zayat is in a tough spot. If they run him back and he gets beat - poof - millions down the drain. With the likes of Liam's Map and Beholder displaying what he might face...they are certainly popping Tums like candy.

It sounds better to say that we have the confidence now...then wait for the "spiked fever" to interrupt his training later on.

Hi ct,
I agree Zayat is in a tough spot and that was why I thought they might retire him out of the Travers? If they do try to pull the "spike a fever" routine....it will be too obvious. Never saw a horse as sound and healthy as this one since his foot issue as a 2YO. They have to know that excuse won't fly:>)
If they do run in the Classic, they will most likely send him to CD in a week or so to train for the race there. Maybe get a prep into him at Keeneland beforehand?? It will be interesting to see what happens....Liam's Map never puts 3 races together, so he will most likely come into the Classic off a layoff and Beholder has never won outside of California. Then again, does it rain in Kentucky in late October??? :>)
Have you seen Jess's Dream back there lately?? TJ


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2015 7:40 am 
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So much of AP's superiority is on display when he is able to run freely. In the Travers he was engaged the whole way - eye to ey with Frosted much the way. He was already a little hot in the paddock, and that engagement of the muscles and systems is enough to take the edge off any horse, including the great ones. It's not just how fast they go - it's the energy of competition.
One reason why Zenyatta could dominate so was that she ran her races on her own terms - and engaged only when ready, and could look the competitor in the eye, and go by.

If Keen Ice had engaged earlier, at the top of the stretch, he would never have gotten by AP.

jm

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