This year’s Travers turned out to be one for the ages, with Col. John and Mambo In Seattle practically dead-heating it (if not for today’s advanced digital photo tech, I am sure it would have been deemed DH officially). It also tells me that despite Big Brown’s perceived weaknesses, he really is an outstanding individual. The rest of his crop guts out whisker victories against each other, yet even in his last less-than-stella outing he still managed to beat them by 1.5. lengths. I liked Asmussen’s suggestion of a public workout between Curlin & BB — neither side has anything to lose, and it would somewhat appease the infielders who are clamoring for them to face each other. But I digress.
Travers. The stakes record for the race was set in 1979 by General Assembly, a look-alike son of Secretariat. The time of 2:00 flat for the 1.25 miles is also the track record for the distance at Saratoga, and General Assembly destroyed the field by 15 lengths at the wire. Here’s the race:
GA was a top 3yo of ’79, but he had the misfortune of racing in the shadow of Spectacular Bid,who, coincidentally, missed the Travers bc he was still recovering from the Belmont “safety pin” issue.
Affirmed & Alydar made their last start together in their legendary rivalry the 1978 Travers. It was a rough-run race for Alydar, who had to check at the top of the stretch when Affirmed came over hard into him on the rail. Affirmed won, but was placed second for the interference. Would Alydar have won if he hadn’t been cut off? You be the judge:
The 1930 Travers featured Triple Crown winner Gallant Fox. However, like so many times in racing, the heavy favorite didn’t get the job done. The winner was 100-1 shot JIM DANDY. More on the 1930 Travers can be found at this excellent blog: Colin’s Ghost
Jaipur and Ridan dueled the entire length of the race in 1962. It was almost a shame to have one winner, but Jaipur prevailed at the wire. The photos from the stretch are some of the more memorable ones at The Blood-Horse archives. Here’s the vid:
Cicada, C.T. Chenery’s champion filly, was in the field that year as well.
Finally, here’s my favorite Travers that I actually lived through (on TV):
THUNDER GULCH!! ❤ that horse!!