Son of Giant Killer Goes 1-2 in Travers 145
SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, August 23, 2014—Going into the 145th Travers Stakes, Javier Castellano was the only jockey in the 10-horse field who had won the Mid-Summer Derby, and he did it three times.
On a muggy, partly cloudy afternoon, he won his fourth by a desperate nose over his stablemate, Wicked Strong, giving trainer Jimmy Jerkens his own personal exacta and kept him an undefeated 2-for-2 in the Travers.
On Travers eve, Jerkens was accepting a ceremonial “Red Jacket” for special achievement for his father, the great Allen Jerkens, plying his trade these days with a few horses in South Florida.
A day later, the “Son of Giant Killer” Jerkens was accepting the Travers trophy on behalf Magalen O’Brien, owner of V.E. Day, a turf specialist that is now 3-for-3 on the main track, including the Curlin Stakes here on July 25.
For Jerkens, it’s been a storybook meet, winning at a 38% rate going into Travers Day. The photo finish camera, getting a strong workout all meet long, was never more telling than in Saratoga's premier event.
Travers and the Championship: A Mystery-Wrapped Enigma
SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, August 21, 2014—Could it be that a victory in a race over a synthetic surface by a synthetic-track specialist could turn the result of Saturday’s Travers Stakes over on its hindquarters?
That likely would be the case if Shared Interest draws older horse-first blood by beating, among others, the redoubtable Game On Dude, even if he has lost a step or two, or three, to age.
Mike Smith, who’s been abiding by the Dude the past few years but will abandon him on Sunday when he takes a seat aboard the invincible, thus far unbeatable Shared Belief, is not ready to concede that the old boy is done.
When he’s alowed to get into his speedy rhythm early and dominate the front end of any race, he’s near unbeatable, Smith said, before delivering the best line of Tuesday’s NTRA national teleconference.
“[Game On Dude] might not be as good as he once was, but he can be as good as he was once.” But push came to shove, Smith deciding that youth will be served.
Mike’s been very helpful with Game on Dude, Bob Baffert was saying, adding that Smith is one of those riders that can tell you something about a horse you might not have known before.
“I rode him all wrong,” Smith would tell you, Baffert explaining how a certain horse might want to do something one way while the rider wanted to do something else. Gary Stevens is the same, he said.
Smith said that the one trait Shared Belief had form one ride on the colt was that he was extremely well balanced, that he allow the rider to do virtually anything he wants, that he's very agile.
“It was an easy decision to make, one horse is three and the future is ahead of him. "[Game On Dude] has some good races left in him but he’s probably not going to get any better.”