James Tafel’s Street Sense, winner of this year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and the Aug. 25 Travers Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga, returned to his home base at Churchill Downs early Sept. 3 to continue training for his fall campaign and an expected run in the $5-million Breeders’ Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I).
The Carl Nafzger-trained homebred son of Street Cry arrived at Churchill at about 5 a.m. (EDT) following an all-night van ride from Saratoga Springs, N.Y. The Kentucky Derby winner was accompanied on the journey by Lady Joanne, winner of Saratoga’s Alabama Stakes (gr. I).
Street Sense isn't expected to return to the track until Sept. 5 at the earliest, and Nafgzer has yet to settle on a specific path that would take Street Sense to New Jersey’s Monmouth Park and the Oct. 27 Classic. He expects the colt to have one prep race before the 1 ¼-mile Classic, but said Sept. 2 even that is not definite.
"I haven’t talked to Mr. Tafel, and the horse just got back and he’s good,” Nafzger said. “But I’m not going to put ‘definite’ in anything right now.”
Nafzger continues to consider five races as possible Classic preps for Street Sense; the $350,000 Kentucky Cup Classic (gr. II) at Turfway Park Sept. 29, the $500,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup (gr. II) Sept. 29, the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) at Belmont Park Sept. 30, the $500,000 Massachusetts Handicap at Suffolk Downs Sept. 22, and the $500,000 Super Derby (gr. II) Sept. 22 at Louisiana Downs. The Super Derby is restricted to 3-year-olds, but the other four races would offer Street Sense his first opportunity to run against older horses.
“I really can’t rule any of those out, the way things are shaping up,” Nafzger said. “There are a lot of incentives out there, but if the horse comes out of (the Travers) good, we could catch the right plane and could go anywhere."
Nafzger said he would prefer to run Street Sense at 1 1/8 miles before coming back at the longer distance in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, but insisted none of the five races have been ruled out. The Jockey Club Gold Cup and Hawthorne Gold Cup are run at 1 ¼ miles, while the other three races are nine-furlong events.
The schedule for Lady Joanne is set. Nafzger said she would run in the $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland and, if all goes well, would go on to the $2-million Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I) at Monmouth.
“It could get better, but it has been great year,” Nafzger. “What’s good about the year is behind us. What’s in front of us, that’s the exciting part and the challenge, and we’ll see what happens. We’ll do what we’ve done all year. We’ll take one race at a time and see where we end up.”
The victory in the Travers lifted the career record for Street Sense to 6-3-2 in 11 races and boosted his earnings to $4,058,200. Lady Joanne’s career record now stands at 6-1-2 in nine starts with earnings of $771,834.