It's a Given: After Workout, Travers a 'Go' for Point Given

It's a Given: After Workout, Travers a 'Go' for Point Given
Photo:
Point Given, shown crossing the finish line first in the Haskell Invitational, has been confirmed for Saturday's Travers.
Bob Baffert said Monday that all systems are "go" for The Thoroughbred Corp's Point Given to ship to New York for the Travers Stakes (gr. I) on Saturday. The big Thunder Gulch colt worked five furlongs at Del Mar on Monday morning, getting the distance in :59 1/5 under exercise rider Dana Barnes.

"I got him in :59 3/5 and out six furlongs in 1:13," Baffert said. "He went nice and easy and came off the track bouncing, which he hasn't done in a long time. He looked very good, very happy. He's all set. I feel better going into this race than the Haskell. He needed that race really bad."

Point Given won the Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I) by a narrow margin after scoring dominating victories in the Preakness (gr. I) and Belmont Stakes (gr. I). There has been widespread talk that Point Given has a foot problem that would keep him out of the Travers, but Baffert said the colt is wearing a bar shoe on his left hind foot to protect an area where he had an abscess after the Belmont. "When he popped the abscess, we took a lot of the quarter away. The light bar shoe is there for protection. It doesn't affect him at all."

Baffert said Prince Ahmed Salman, The Thoroughbred Corp. owner who also bred Point Given, will be in attendance in Saratoga. "He loves to see this horse run," the trainer said.

Point Given will ship to New York on Tuesday.

In other Travers news:

A P Valentine breezed five furlongs in 1:00 3/5 at Saratoga for trainer Nick Zito. Norberto Arroyo Jr. was aboard for the work, conducted in company with two other horses.

"I thought everything went well," Zito said. "I had him clocked in :11 2/5 for the last eighth of a mile. He went pretty easy. That's important because he didn't have to exert himself. Norberto has been working my horses for the past year and a half. I absolutely love the way he works my horses. He knows my system really well." John Velazquez has the mount in the Travers.

The A.P. Indy colt who races for Rick Pitino's Ol Memorial Stable finished fourth behind Scorpion in the Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. I) after running second behind Point Given in the Preakness and Belmont.

Scorpion, owned by Robert Baker and partners, came out of his four-furlong breeze Sunday in "good order" according to Mike Maker, assistant to trainer D. Wayne Lukas. "He won't work again before Saturday, he's just going to gallop up to the race," Maker said.

Gary West's Dollar Bill walked the shedrow Monday morning. The son of Peaks and Valleys had his final Travers prep Sunday, working five furlongs over Saratoga's main track in 1:00 4/5, handily. Trainer Dallas Stewart said the colt would jog and gallop up to the race. Jorge Chavez rides.

Also working Sunday was Ralph Evans' Free of Love, who went six furlongs in 1:12 for Richard Violette Jr. The trainer said the son of Meadow Flight came out of the work in good shape. "He had a day off today," Violette said. "All the post workout stuff came back great. He ate up and is feeling pretty good." Pat Day picked up the mount on Free Of Love after This Fleet Is Due was withdrawn from the race. Day has won the Travers three times: with Play Fellow (1983), Java Gold (1987) and Easy Goer (1989). Should he win this running, he will tie Eddie Arcaro, Braulio Baeza and Jimmy McLaughlin for most Travers wins.

Harrisand, a French-bred turf specialist who will be making his career debut on dirt for trainer Robert Frankel and owner Edmund Gann, walked Monday morning after working six furlongs on Sunday in 1:13 2/5 over the main track. "We wanted to take it easy with him this morning since he had that workout on Sunday," Frankel said. "He still looks good for the Travers." Harrisand finished third in the Kent Breeders' Cup at Delaware Park in his last race on July 22.

Travers hopeful Volponi, owned by Amherst Stable and Spruce Pond Stable, also walked around the barn this morning for trainer P.G. Johnson. Volponi posted the best workout on Sunday after jockey Richard Migliore breezed him in 1:11 for six furlongs. Volponi entered the Travers picture after 13 1/2-length allowance race victory at Saratoga earlier this month. "He couldn't be any better," Johnson said. "I think what really helped him in his last race was the switch to blinkers and moving him back on the main track. He's still a nice grass horse. He just ran into some racing problems in his last two races on the grass. If this doesn't work out for him, we can always put him back on the grass."

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