Oxley, Ward to Run Pair in Travers

Edited NYRA release
Owner John Oxley and trainer John Ward confirmed Monday morning they plan to run both Minister's Bid and Dr. Pleasure in Saturday's $1 million Travers Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga.

Minister's Bid, who finished second to Travers favorite Bernardini in the grade II Jim Dandy July 29, put in an impressive five-furlong workout over the main track Monday as he went in :59 4/5.

Oxley and Ward also have Strong Contender, who was third to Bluegrass Cat in the Haskell Invitational (gr. I) nearly three weeks ago, nominated for the Travers. Strong Contender will only be considered if either Minister's Bid or Dr. Pleasure is declared from the Travers. Otherwise, Strong Contender is being pointed toward the grade II, $500,000 Super Derby XXVII at Louisiana Downs Sept. 23.

"Why would we use all of our ammunition here when we have another scenario with the Super Derby?" Ward said. "If we have all three run together on the same time schedule, we need to start separating them. We need to split our colts up."

In other Travers developments, trainer Dale Romans indicated Carolyn Sue Bruder's Bright One, winner of the grade III West Virginia Derby, will not be entered for the Travers after mucus in his lungs was detected.

The probable Travers field of six consists of Bernardini, Bluegrass Cat, Dr. Pleasure, Hesanoldsalt, High Cotton, and Minister's Bid. Entries will be drawn at 11:10 a.m. (ET) Wednesday.

The Travers, the 1 1/4-mile "Mid-Summer Derby" for 3-year-olds, highlights a 12-race card that begins at 12:30 p.m.

ESPN's "Sports Center at Saratoga" will have a two-hour program that begins at 5 p.m. The grade II, $200,000 Ballston Spa Breeders' Cup (race 8, 4:48 p.m.) will be shown on tape, while the grade II, $200,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap (race 9, 5:18 p.m.), the grade I, $250,000 King's Bishop (race 10, 5:50 p.m.) and the Travers (race 11, 6:30 p.m.) will all be shown live.