Todd Pletcher, who could saddle the top two choices in the $1 million Travers Stakes (gr. I), sent star 3-year-olds Palace Malice and Verrazano out for easy half-mile breezes in :49.02 and :49.05, respectively, Aug. 11.
Palace Malice, winner of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) and Jim Dandy (gr. II), and Verrazano, runaway winner of the William Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I), have dominated the 3-year-old division over the past two months. Those two, along with Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) victor Orb , figure to be the leading contenders for the Aug. 24 Travers.
Verrazano was caught galloping out five furlongs in 1:01.39.
"Both horses went great," said Pletcher. "Palace Malice worked alone with Jake Nelson aboard, and Verrazano, with John Velazquez aboard, went in company with Jack Milton ."
Both colts are scheduled to have their final Travers work Aug. 18.
Pletcher also worked his overwhelming Alabama Stakes (gr. I) favorite, Princess of Sylmar, who breezed her half in :49.50. Multiple graded stakes winner Graydar , who is on the comeback trail following an injury, breezed a half in :50.52.
Orb was scheduled to arrive at Saratoga Aug. 11 after spending time at the Fair Hill Equine Therapy Center. The Malibu Moon colt turned in a super work at Fair Hill Aug. 10, blazing five furlongs in :59 1/5.
Others pointing for the "Midsummer Derby" are Will Take Charge , runner-up in the Jim Dandy; Moreno, third in the Jim Dandy; the Darley Stable pair of Romansh and Transparent, one-two, respectively, in the Curlin Stakes; the Kenny McPeek-trained duo of Java's War, winner of the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), and War Dancer, winner of the recent Virginia Derby (gr. IIT); and Golden Soul, runner-up in the Kentucky Derby, who has disappointed in his most recent starts.
McPeek's "War Horses" breezed over the Oklahoma training track Sunday. Java's War drilled three furlongs in :37.12 seconds, while War Dancer clocked five furlongs in 1:03.22.
McPeek said Java's War could also make his next start in the Stroll overnight stakes at 1 3/16 miles on the turf Aug. 14. He said the decision will be made by owner Charles Fipke, who also campaigns Golden Soul, trained by Dallas Stewart.
"It was just to let him stretch his legs," McPeek said of Java's War's workout. "He went fantastic. We're going to make a decision on whether he runs on Wednesday. I have to speak to Mr. Fipke about that detail. We may still very well run in the Travers. He worked well today, and I'm happy with that."
As for Magdalena Racing's War Dancer, who worked in company with stablemate So Raise Yourglass, McPeek said: "It was just a nice maintenance five-eighths. The riders went off a little slow the first three-eighths, but they finished up and galloped out nicely."
Also working for the Travers Aug. 11 was Moreno, who turned in a strong six-furlong drill in 1:12 at Saratoga for trainer Eric Guillot.