Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Shackleford and Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Ruler On Ice turned in their final works for the Travers (gr. I) Aug. 20. Both horses are expected to among the favorites in Saratoga's Aug. 27 test for 3-year-olds.
Shackleford, with Jesus Castanon aboard, breezed five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 at Saratoga. He galloped out an easy six furlongs in 1:14 2/5. It was the seventh fastest time of 37 works at the distance.
“I thought it went perfect today,” trainer Dale Romans said. “We just wanted him to break off nice and easy and finish strong. He finished great and galloped out really good. I couldn’t be happier with the way he did it.
“The track has been a bit different this year than in years past but this horse has seemed to really like it. Ever since he’s been here he has gotten over it in good shape and we did a lot with him last week to make sure he’s fit enough for this track and I’m glad we did because today he looked like he skipped around there.
“He’s not going to get any more fit than he is right now. All the big work is done, we just have to make sure he goes into the race happy.”
Meanwhile, Saturday morning at Monmouth Park, Ruler On Ice worked four furlongs in :48 3/5 in his final, major preparation for the Travers.
“He went very easily,” said trainer Kelly Breen. “We duplicated everything like we did last time. He worked with Pants On Fire. They went together and both hit the wire in :48 3/5.”
That duplication was a replay of July 24, when Pants On Fire and Ruler On Ice worked in company between races. Just like that time, Pants On Fire was on the rail, with Ruler On Ice glued to his outside.
Breen said Ruler On Ice would arrive at Saratoga either the morning of the Travers or the afternoon before.