Street Sense, winner of this year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), will start from post position number four in Saturday's running of the $1 million Travers Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga Race Course.
The 1 1/4-mile Travers, with an approximate post of 5:40 p.m., has drawn a field of seven starters who will all carry 126 pounds.
"I love post four," said Carl Nafzger, trainer of the colt who comes into the race off a victory in the July 29 Jim Dandy (gr. II) at Saratoga. "You're out from the rail, but you're still inside. Of course, I would have loved post seven as well because of the Derby, but I'm not very superstitious. If this horse had a particular quirk, I would say, 'Oh, I want to be here, I want to be there,' but in a race like this with a horse like mine, post position doesn't really matter. What happens out of the gate in the first eighth of a mile is what matters."
According to Allan Carter, historian at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Nafzger is in position to become the sixth trainer since 1902 to saddle the winner of the Alabama (gr. I) and the Travers, the two historic stakes for 3-year-olds at Saratoga Race Course, in the same year. Nafzger trains Lady Joanne, who captured this year's Alabama for fillies Aug. 18, and also handles Street Sense, the favorite for the 138th Travers.
Carter said the last trainer to record the Alabama-Travers double in same years was Leroy Jolley in 1976. That summer, Jolley won the Alabama with Optimistic Gal and the Travers with Honest Pleasure.
Trainer Nick Zito was unable to attend the draw, having prior obligations at a winners circle press conference with Senator Joseph Bruno. The press conference focused on Bruno's decision to join Zito, Susan Wagner of Equine Advocates, and State Senator Frank Padavan to call on the Assembly to pass legislation (bill S.1462) to prohibit the slaughter of horses for human consumption.
Following the press conference, Zito said he was satisfied with both positions his horses - Helsinki and CP West - had drawn.
"Helsinki is going to be last anyway and then make his run, so it's a good post for him," Zito said. "It's a good post. For CP West, I would have liked four or five, but he got a dynamic start last time so hopefully he breaks well and gets to the rail the same."
CP West finished second to Street Sense in the Jim Dandy.
The field, with morning-line odds, is as follows:
1. Helsinki, Julien Leparoux, 20-1
2. CP West, Cornelio Velasquez, 5-1
3. For You Reppo, Garrett Gomez, 20-1
4. Street Sense, Calvin Borel, 3-5
5. Grasshopper, Robby Albarado, 8-1
6. Loose Leaf, Kent Desormeaux, 21-1
7. Sightseeing, Edgar Prado, 6-1