Saratoga Springs, August 24, 2022 – As everyone is aware, GI Kentucky Derby and GI Preakness S. runner-up and impressive Jim Dandy winner Epicenter was made 7-5 early line favorite vs. seven rivals in Travers 153 on Saturday.
In a poll of turf writers and broadcasters conducted Monday, the filly Nest, most impressive winner of both the Coaching Club American Oaks and the Alabama, subsequent to her worthy runnerup Belmont Stakes effort, was voted America’s leading sophomore.
Her record speaks loudly for herself and the majority of voters.
We have held since winter, as HRI regulars know, that Epicenter is the best three-year-old in the land.
However, if Epicenter does not win Saturday’s prestigious Grade 1, my position would be untenable. For the colt and his fans, Saturday is put up or shut up time.
Travers second choice Cyberknife (7-2) is a dual Grade 1 winner, having won the Arkansas Derby and Haskell Invitational. Counting Grade 1 tallies, the scoreboard reads Cyberknife 2 – Epicenter 0.
An Epicenter loss on Saturday cannot be made up for with a victory in the Grade-1-come-lately Pennsylvania Derby.
In fact, an upset by Cyberknife could clinch the three-year-old championship. Upsets by Rick Strike, Zandon or Early Voting would go a long way in solidifying their aspirations.
One notion I still support is that Epicenter is the best horse in the field, deserves favoritism, and will justify that position. On paper, those opinions are just that.
Even in this crazy science-denying climate, the facts speak truth to reasonable men and women who have somehow managed to maintain their sanity.
Thank goodness, races are still run between the fences and not on paper. If Epicenter doesn’t win on Saturday, he will have run out of divisional racetrack.
Only two victories over elders would get him back in the championship title game.
And a four-year-old named Flightline, or some other older heavyweight, might have something to say about that.
On Saturday, Epicenter is in a battle for nothing less than his legacy.