Saratoga Springs, NY--August, 25, 2007

Dear Dairy,

The fans moved slowly in the sweltering heat, marking time in the August sun just to get a glimpse of a Kentucky Derby hero and the handlers that guide his every stride, trainer Carl Nafzger and jockey Calvin Borel, a dream team in the midst of a dream season.

And they cheered when Tom Durkin called his name in the post parade while around the country fans were showing their appreciation with dollars, over 800,000 greenbacks on Street Sense to win, over a million more to show.

Street Sense didnt let them down but, like his Derby rival 30 minutes earlier, it wasnt easy.

As usual, Carl Nafzger was right. Competition finds you.

And when the pace is as slow as it was in Travers 138, Calvin had to adjust, and he did. He put his big horse right up on the pace, just off the right hip of C P West, who was shadowing Grasshopper, the pressured but controlled pacesetter.

Thats one of Calvins fortes, said the trainer, how to read a pace.

After they 12-clipped into the final turn--these horses train faster than that--Loose Leaf ranged up and now there were four across the track.

At headstretch, Robbie Albarado tried to pull the rug out from under his rivals, but the Derby winner stayed with him. And they were, only this time, Albarado was on the inside, Borel on the outside. Not quite Preakness redux, but it would do.

Thankfully, Street Sense is a stick horse. Calvin went to a furious right hand and, after switching to his left past the sixteenth pole, the Derby winner gained an advantage he wouldnt relinquish.

Pulling up, Albarado and Borel touched knuckles, even if, this time, the photo was on the other frame.

History will record that Street Sense won the Travers by a half length over Grasshopper in 2:02.69. It will also note that Street Sense is the first juvenile champion in the modern era to win the Derby and Travers the following season.

And so the dream season continues for Nafzger and Borel. The ultimate dream would be to ride the colt all the way to the Jersey Shore.


* * *

First Race: Didnt take long for the meets leading trainer to make his presence felt, thanks to some deft riding from first-call jock Kent Desormeaux. Kent saved all the ground from fifth, rallied into the stretch, taking control as pacesetting Mathematician faded. (Need to ask Garrett Gomez what he was doing on the pace. Very curious). Anyway, Broadway Producer made his customary late run which, customarily came up short. Same can be said for Tiverton, a wide third. Probably no catching Got the Last Laugh, anyway.

Second Race: Loaded baby race apparently not as loaded as advertised. Wise guys bet the two horses that had already started, and Mythical Pegasus and Grand Minstrel finished 1-2, the former running down the latter late, Cornelio Velasquez opening his lead out to four again over Desormeaux for the Spa title. But the story was horse to watch, debuting Hes Solid Gold. Hard to believe any one horse can find so much trouble in such little time. Checked between horses while in close quarters entering the stretch, he angled out to find more trouble between horses, angled inside for room, angled outside again, and missed a show finish by a half-length, ridden out. No kidding!

Third Race: Fast Thought, running for purse money only, impressed to win his debut wire to wire, with Peace Mon a game second but the winner ($8.60) for wagering purposes. Virginia Minstrel, second, had a circuitous trip beneath Eibar Coa; bet back. On Fire finished well too late, third. Looks like the new blinkers helped.

Fourth Race: Best finish of the day as Ramon Dominguez timed Royal Guards late run perfectly, nailing Taming the Tiger right on the line after that one appeared an almost certain winner leaving the furlong grounds. Westmoreland, a winner at this level here opening day, looked a threat with a sixteenth remaining but didnt sustain his run.

Fifth Race: What? Thought wed go a day without a 5- furlong sprint on the turf? Cmon! At least the portable rail was down on the Mellon Course today; lets see if form can hold. Ah, no. Well, that might not be fair. The winner was off at 21-1 but her form wasnt bad. After breaking her maiden on a sealed sloppy track, she was third at 3-5 in her turf debut at Monmouth Park, closing with a small flurry. Not today. Here she was on the engine from post 13 and led them all a merry chase. Christophe Clement continues to excel at this meet. Meanwhile, Sophies Salad was a game second and favored La Presse, finished well much too late, from much too far back; give another chance, obviously.

Sixth Race: Maidens, three-year-olds and up, and an eclectic group. Fast working newcomers, imports, second-starters, the works. Now a Victor, a newcomer, at 15-1 on the morning line, was bet to 5-2 and ran as professionally as a maiden can. Not surprising, considering trainer Michael Trombetta is a profitable 31 percent efficient with his special-weight maidens. There was a stewards inquiry for some stretch bumping between the winner and eventual second finisher, Noble Truth. Both looked guilty at times, Noble Truth initiating the incident coming in from the outside on the winner. Stewards let the result stand, a good call.

The Bernard Baruch, G2: It takes a strong pace and firm footing to set a course record on turf and thats just what Shakis got. Ballast went to the front from his outside slip and took on all challengers, notably favorite Cosmonaut. Ballast shook off the favorite, opened ground on the field, but couldnt withstand the winner, perfectly handled by Alan Garcia, whos made the most of his rides since Kiaran McLaughlin has given him the opportunities. Shakis made the most of it, too, kicking past the leader inside the sixteenth pole and reached the line in 1:45.33 for the nine furlongs. It was a pretty good record he broke, incidentally. The old mark of 1:45.40 was shared by Tentam in 1973, for Cragwood Stables and MacKenzie Miller, and Waya, the champion race mare trained by Angel Penna Sr., that mark set five years later. Good job all around.

The Kings Bishop, G1: Hard Spun finally got his Grade 1 but it wasnt supposed to be this difficult. Turning back to seven furlongs after meeting the divisions best at classic distance under scaleweights, it was supposed to be easy. But a little rocket ship named Spin Master took it to him early and the promising Fast Defence took it to him late. But it went like you plan it on paper when mating a stallion to a mare. Breed the best to the best and hope for the best, the saying goes. In this case, they got the classy Hard Spun. He was beaten in midstretch. He had just raced Spin Master into defeat in :21.94 and :44.20 and this track doesnt hold speed like it used to. But after six furlongs in 1:08.71, Hard Spun dug down and won it on class with gutty determination. A final furlong in :13.63 is no disgrace, not off those fractions. First Defence proved that he rates with these three-year-olds at the moment, at least sprinting. Its not so much that he failed the eyeball test. Its that Hard Spun passed his. Horse, trainer Larry Jones and jockey Mario Pino were deserving. Good show. The bad news is that it was a much tougher effort than his trainer wanted, as the group heads toward the Breeders Cup Classic. While Jones ponders that, his colt is sure to get a good nights sleep.

The Victory Ride, G3: A star is born. No telling how good La Traviata is or can be. She toyed with nine rivals, posting fractions of :22.13 and :45.20 en route to six furlongs in 1:09.78. She won with plenty in reserve, winning in full long stride as Julien Leparoux sat motionless. She looked like a million bucks, not quite her selling price of $1.1 million, to Michael Tabor, John Magnier and Derrick Smith. Right now, shes worth a lot more. Dream Rush, anyone?

Eleventh Race: We had a five minute sprinkle, so track superintendent John Passero thought it prudent to seal the racetrack. Whats that? You were part of the crowd that made up about a half million dollars in Pick Six wagers? Sorry, here comes Starforaday, Albarado up, at $47.20, running down 22-1 Executive Search.

Twelfth Race: Yesterday, it was Mike Luzzi. Today it's trainer Jim Bond with his first win of the meet, Flipperoo, who dominated the finale from end to end, a formful conclusion to a spectacular afternoon.