Puzzlement Wins, Travers May Be Next

Puzzlement stepped back into 3-year-old stakes picture Wednesday with an allowance victory and is now likely headed directly to the Aug. 24 Travers Stakes.

Ralllying from far off the pace, Puzzlement caught Wild Years at the wire to win the nine-furlong race by three-quarters of a length in 1:50.87. Puzzlement was making his first start since running second Sunday Break in the Peter Pan on May 25.

Two days before the Belmont Stakes he was scratched with a bruised right foot.

While Wild Years and Unbridling ran through opening quarters of:23.98 and :47.54, jockey Jean-Luc Samyn and Puzzlement werecruising along, a dozen lengths off the pace. On the secondturn, Puzzlement began his rally and caught the leaders in deep stretch.

"It worked out good for us, the speed was coming back today," Jerkens said. "Everything worked out good for us, first time out in a while. Even though he was probably getting pretty tired, he was able to pick them up.

"It's great. We're happy with the race."

With Wild Years unable to shake free of Unbridling, the race scenario that developed was an ideal setup for Puzzlement.

"It came out just like I was hoping," Jerkens said. "Things don't generally go like you hope, but you couldn't hope for a better race for a horse that hasn't been out in a while when you're thinking about better things later on."

After initially saying Puzzlement might run in the Aug. 4 Jim Dandy, Jerkens said Thursday morning that the colt will most likely go directly to the Travers.

"He was walking around this morning and looked great," Jerkens said. "He put in a nice race yesterday coming from far back, but the track was favoring his running style. The only horse that won on the lead was the winner of the stake race (Freedom's Daughter in the Schuylerville). We are probably not going to run him in the Jim Dandy. We've always wanted to run him in the Travers. We're just going to work him up to that race, if everything goes well between now and that day."

(Chart, Equibase)