With 12 days remaining until the 138th running of the Travers Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga, the field is starting to take shape.
The top three finishers from the July 29 Jim Dandy (gr. II) – Street Sense, CP West, and Sightseeing – are all confirmed starters, said Andrew Byrnes, stakes coordinator for the New York Racing Association.
Trainer Nick Zito said Robert LaPenta’s C P West will work Aug. 16 and, barring complications following that work, will run in the Travers. The son of Came Home finished second to Street Sense in the Jim Dandy by 1½ lengths.
Phipps Stable’s Sightseeing worked four furlongs in :49.01 Aug. 1 on the Oklahoma Training Track and is also a definite starter, said trainer Shug McGaughey.
“Hopefully, he’ll improve off his last race,” McGaughey said. “We have all the respect in the world for Street Sense, but we had him in our sights last time and I’m anxious to run at a mile and a quarter. I don’t think Sightseeing quite had the time to get in his finishing kick, and I think the extra distance will help him.”
Ken McPeek trainee Loose Leaf, winner of the Aug. 5 Lemon Drop Kid Stakes, is also a definite starter. So is the Steve Asmussen-trained Tiz Wonderful, who finished sixth in the Jim Dandy. Asmussen trainee Curlin will not be entered after finishing third in the Aug. 5 Haskell Invitational (gr. I). According to Asmussen, the Preakness (gr. I) winner will instead point toward the Sept. 30 Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) at Belmont Park en route to the Oct. 26 Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) at Monmouth Park as originally planned.
“Our major target has always been the Classic, and he’ll most likely run in the Gold Cup to prep for that,” Asmussen said. “The reason we ran in the Haskell was because of the Classic being run at Monmouth this year, and I think that race answered a lot of questions for us. We’ll move on from there.”
According to Byrnes, other possible starters for the Travers include Helen Pitts trainee For You Reppo, the Bill Kaplan-trained Imawildandcrazyguy, and John Kimmel trainee Timber Reserve.
Trainer Todd Pletcher said Aug. 13 Haskell winner Any Given Saturday will not target the Travers.
Nominations to the $1-million Travers closed Aug. 11 with the following 24 horses listed: Any Given Saturday, C P West, Cable Boy, Cowtown Cat, Curlin, First Defence, For You Reppo, Grasshopper, Helsinki, Imawildandcrazyguy, Loose Leaf, Most Distinguished, Moyer's Pond, Octave, Panty Raid, Pavarotti, Rags to Riches, Sam P., Sightseeing, Silver Express, Street Sense, Teuflesberg, Timber Reserve, and Tiz Wonderful.