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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, August 26, 2021 – Saturday’s Travers Day program provides a welcome respite from those in the world who would blow it all up, and willfully ignorant Americans who are too selfish to consider the lives of family and friends.

The distraction comes in the form of an All-Grade 1 Pick Six beginning with race seven or, for those who prefer, a 50-Cent Pick Five with a mandatory payout which starts with race eight.

The orphan in this extraordinary lineup is the G2 Ballston Spa, scheduled as race four on a 13-race program that begins at 11:30 a.m.

And not to forget that computer-assisted win wagers will be cut off at three minutes to post time, a policy that will remain in place post-Saratoga, HRI learned this week in response to one reader’s query. Welcome news indeed.

This restriction on win wagers is not insignificant when it comes to protecting the playing field for all horseplayers regardless of bankroll, another good thing.

The $10, $20, and $50 player, in our experience, is the fan who will support the game, not with respect to volume perhaps, but with loyalty. They will be around long after deep-pocketed investors move on to the next big arbitrage thing.

While the seven stakes races in no way were overfilled, they are large enough before program scratches and competitive enough to ensure value will be there for the finding. This would be a good time sure to hone those line-making skills.

On Friday, we will post our A-B-C betting grids for the Pick Six that includes the Ketel One Ballerina, Forego, H Allen Jerkens Memorial, Lia Infiniti Personal Ensign, Resorts World Sword Dancer and the meet’s cornerstone, the Runhappy Travers.

A few handicapping storylines jumped off the page while perusing the overnight and will certainly require a closer look. For example:

Can Gamine’s dominance continue given the human distractions involved? Is one Pimlico prep sufficient to get Yaupon set for the hard-hitters lined up in the Forego? Who’s faster at seven furlongs, Jackie’s Warrior or Life Is Good?

Further, will Swiss Skydiver revert to her three-year-old form and, if so, can she handle divisional-leading Letruska? Is Aidan O’Brien’s Japan, despite a somewhat disappointing profile, capable of handling American Grade 1 rivals?

And, finally, can a late-developing “now” horse, Dynamic One, dethrone a divisional leader and defending champion, Essential Quality? No shortage of drama, or quality horseflesh for that matter.

For now, let’s look for one Chad Brown filly to upset another Chad runner in the aforementioned Ballston Spa at 1-1/16 miles on the inner turf: Taking Kalifornia Queen  (2-1) over Viadera (8-5).


It’s Travers eve, aka New York Showcase Day, and as fate would have it we have horses to watch coming out of our tack. Here they are, with track, race number and early line odds who impressed visually for various reasons:


Race 2: November Rein (2-1)

Race 3: Yarrow (3-1)

Race 4: Senbei (6-1)

Race 8: Therapist (4-1)

Race 10: Chocolate Cookie (6-1)


Race 2: Speeding Kid (7-2)


10th Charles Town Classic: Art Collector (5-2)



A:  1-Gamine (3-5),  7-Ce Ce (4-1)

B:  None

C:  3-Casual (15-1), 2-Lake Avenue (12-1),  5-Sconsin (9-2), 6-Estilo Talentoso (8-1)


A:  7-Yaupon (5-2)

B:  6-Chance It (20-1), 1-Mischevious Alex (6-1)

C:  4-Mind Control (7-2),  2-Whitmore (4-1)                   


A:  6-Life Is Good (8-5), 2-Jackie’s Warrior (2-1)

B:  4-Following Sea (5-1)

C:  1-Drain the Clock (6-1)


A:  6-Letruska (6-5), 4-Swiss Skydiver (7-2), 9-Graceful Princess (15-1), 2-As Time Goes By (6-1)

B:   None

C:   8-Harvey’s Lil Goil (8-1)


A:  6-Japan (7-2), 2-Gufo (3-1)

B:  1-Tribhuvan (2-1)

C:  3-Rockemperor (6-1)


A:  2-Essential Quality (4-5)

B: 3-Keepmeinmind (6-1), 4-Dynamic One (6-1), 1-Midnight Bourbon (9-2)

C:  6-Masqueparade (8-1)

B’s and C’s may be upgraded, but not more than one level is suggested

this is a live column and will be updated periodically

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⚠ Before you comment

Our staff likes nothing better than to engage with the HRI Faithful and provide a forum for interaction on horseracing and sports. In that spirit, please be kind and reasonable; keep the language clean, and the tone civil. Comments from those who cannot comply will be deleted. Thank you.

12 Responses

  1. 8/28/21
    Travers Day !

    4th race- Kalifornia Queen (2-1) A repeat of last is all she needs. She may float up. Watch the board.

    7th race- Pretty hard to go against a layover like #1 Gamine so I suggest 3 cold exacta’s with the #3,#6, and #7. Nuff said.

    8th race- Mind Control (7-2) in a loaded race that several will not surprise you. Use the 1 and 2 in your exactaS and tri’s.

    9th race- Following Sea (5-1) Cutting back from a 1 1/8 miles, not the most likely winner of this race but close enough on numbers power and will be the forgotten PlEtcher in this jammed packed grade 1 Jerkins. Use the 2 and 6. one or both should run well.

    10th race- As Time Goes By (6-1) Another loaded race with Breeders’ Cup implications. Use with the 1,4,6.

    11th race-#1 Tribhuvan (2-1) Another impossible race. #3 Rockemperor is interesting. Drawing weight from most the top contenders at 11/2 miles and the last 2 races being very good, get’s Ortiz Jr. Win bet at 6-1 or more. Use those with the 6,7.

    12th race- The graveyard of favorites. Well I’m going to try and beat him. Asmussen liked his horse in the Derby and the Preakness. He was running right with the pace in the Haskell before unseating the rider, If he wins the Haskell he’s 2-1 now he’s 9/2. Gets the distance, Great line up until the last race and gets Santana. It’s now or never. Essential Quality deserves to be the favorite and should be put on top of some exotics. Use the 3 and the 6 underneath.

    Let’s go get the bad guys, Vinnie O’

  2. Hi John,
    I just have to comment on your opening unfair words about Americans. I would like to bring to your attention that there are private citizens financing missions to save both Afghanistan Christians and Americans. My personal charity( The Nazarene Fund)an American charity raised 26 million in 5 days to save 5100 people.
    And just this morning, CNN reported that there are a number of other private financed missions being conducted, while successfully completing them without the help of our government.
    On to the Travers.

    1. “Mark, my first reference was to “those in the world,” not America per se.

      Second reference was to my disdain for Americans who willfully refuse to be vaccinated. For that I make no apologies.

      We have the luxury of getting a vaccine that science shows at least can mitigate somewhat the effects of Delta, whereas many countries in the world don’t have that luxury.

      With freedom comes responsibility. For that I make no apologies.

      Enjoy your Travers Day…


  3. Kitten By The Sea won the 3rd race. Impressive WIN and WPS stats at this meet for the 18 horses sired by Kitten’s Joy in their 23 races:

    23 8 4 2 34.8% 60.9%

      1. I will post sire statistics by Tuesday evening that I hope you and the HRI faithful will find useful going into the final week at Saratoga. It’s easy to look at raw number of total wins, but I believe percentages have greater importance. That’s why Luis Saez has been particularly impressive. He leads the jockey standings in both total wins and percentage.

        1. The rider is completely in a zone–and for a sustained period… Appears to not need sleep, winning CT lLassic 11:pm Friday night then flew back to Spa. Amazing athletes, these jockeys!

  4. Nice work in the Travers Day Pick Six, JP. The “A’s” had it for $113.

    Did anybody else have Firenze Fire in the Forego? Will the horse be allowed to run again?

    Thanks for finding out that the win pool window limitation for CRW will continue at BEL and AQU.

    1. Yes, Firenze Fire will be allowed to run again and could have been DQ’d if he won if in the opinion of the stewards the jockey did a good job of trying to correct him. And no one was more appreciative than Santana on the gallop-out literally reaching out to Jose Ortiz who maintained his balance and course corrected. Yaupon deserves credit too, to keep trying like that. Wow: As I tweeted right after, never, ever, ever saw anything like that!

      Yes, good news that the “3-minute win restriction rule” will be in place for CAW crowd post-Saratoga…

  5. Hit the pick 6 yesterday at the Spa-paid a whopping $113 for a buck. At least I can say now I hit a pick six at Saratoga. What a Day of racing.
    Let’s start with the ladies’, gutsy performances by both Gamine and Letruska. Who didn’t think Letuska was beat in the final 1/16th? I did.
    Now to the boys; Yaupon race every step of the 7 furlongs as did Jackie’s Warrior to win their races. Yaupon had to overcome a mid stretch attack by Firenze Fire to win as well. Ricardo Santana is a good a race rider as we have in America. Very talented and extremely good gate rider.
    Jackie’s Warrior who was headed by Life is Good in mid stretch, found another gear and surged past in the final 16th to win.
    Gufo held off a fast closing Japan to win the turf. Brilliant ride by Rosario maybe an even training job by Clement. Who may be the most underrated trainer in America. He’s not Pletcher or Brown but Clement is a good a conditioner as we have on the NYRA circuit. Combo of Clement and Rosario is a dangerous combo. By the way the beat in in the race 13 to knock me out of the late pick 5 and pick 4. That’s my fault. I should of used the 10 in that race on my ticket.
    We’ll leave the best for last, Essential Quality, under Saratoga’s leading rider Luis Saez won the Travers Stakes under a stretch long battle with Midnight Bourbon ridden By Santana. To complete an absolutely incredible day of Grade I performances, we’ll be hard pressed to see ever again. I honestly can say, I did not think at least 3 of the horses who won yesterday, would win at the 1/16th pole. Absolutely gutsy determined efforts by all Grade I winner’s yesterday at Saratoga.

  6. T, agree with everything… and maybe next year Hall of Fame voters can help Clement elevate to the Hall of Fame. There are no Todd’s on the ballot next year!

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