Friday, August 28, 2009

Battle At Saratoga: Part Two

Yesterday I showed you the the Travers Top Three, now it's time to show off the rest of the field, and why this will be such an interesting race. Not one horse in this race is unplaced in a stakes race, and many are new up and coming talents. In this category you have Our Edge, winner of three in a row, including the grade three Barbaro Stakes. Hold Me Back, is a Grade two winner over synthetics, but will look to do a 2009 version of Colonel John, by going from just a synthetic specialist to a dirthorse as well. Then we have Warrior's Reward, who has all the potential in the world, but just can't seem to get out of the minor awards for his first stakes win. Lastly we have Charitable Man. Another very talented colt, who has shown talent at distances of 9 furlongs and under. He will be looking to show everyone that he can go the distance, and that he is not just a talented middle distance horse.
That was just a summery of each colts credentials, now I'm going to take you more in depth, starting with Hold Me Back. This colt has shown some talent, but his main surface is synthetics. This year, while on the Derby Trail, Hold Me Back won the Grade two Lane's End Stakes, coming from second to last to win by 1 3/4 lengths. His only two prior dirt starts have not been as encouraging. He was 12th, while racing in the Derby and 5th in the Grade two Remsen Stakes. Though take into consideration that the Derby was on a wet track, which many horses did not handle, and in the Remsen Hold Me Back ran into the, then unbeaten, Old Fashioned. Being a year older, and with possibly a drier track, Hold Me Back may just be able to pull off an upset.
Next up is Charitable Man, whose last win came in the nine furlong Peter Pan Stakes. What I question about this colt is his ability to get the 10 furlong distance. His only win, at over a mile, was the Peter Pan, and his total record for nine furlongs and above is a first and a third in four tries. His other finishes have been a fourth in the Belmont Stakes and a seventh over polytrack, in the Blue Grass. In his two starts sprinting, however, he is unbeaten. This is not a race where I would support his chances of winning.
Warriors Reward has shown talent during his career as a racehorse. In fact, Calvin Borel liked this horse so much he chose to ride him over Derby winner Mine That Bird. Warriors Reward has only finished out of the money once, and that was over Tampa Bay's quirky dirt track. Other than that he has never finished out of the money. My concern is that he has yet to get his graded stakes win. He is always in the mix, grabbing the minor awards, but seems to have a case of seconditis. His trainer says that the Jim Dandy was just what he needed, and finally got the colt, to as he put it "wake up". If this is true Warriors Reward could be very dangerous to those running for the top spots.
Lastly is the little know Our Edge, who is trained by the well know Nick Zito. This colt unlike the last two seems to get better as the distance grows, and though he will be taking a big jump in distance and class, I think he could be up to the task. Our Edge has only raced up to only 1 1/16 miles, but at that distance he is unbeaten. He has two races at a mile with a second place and a win. His worst finish was a sixth place in 6 furlong sprint. Unlike Warrior's Reward he had no trouble at all getting his first Graded stakes win, winning by seven lengths in the Barbaro Stakes. What i also love about this colt is the fact that Nick Zito is his trainer. The reason i love this is that if you go back to the 2004 Belmont you'll see that Birdstone upset Smarty Jones' Triple Crown bid, and Zito was the trainer for Birdstone. If you go back to last years Belmont you will also see that Zito again upset Big Brown with Da'Tara, who was also a front runner. Zito also just missed upsetting Big Brown a second time with another front runner in Coal Play. Zito, in Our Edge, has a little know horse, who happens to be a front runner, which why if any horse will upset the top three it will be Our Edge.
Now that I've given you the background on this dazzling Travers field, you can feel free to make your picks. If I'm being smart I would go for Summer Bird for the win. The pace will likely be a very good one with Our Edge and Quality Road at the top with Kensei and Charitable Man pressing the envelope. Behind them you may find Warriors Reward then Summer Bird, who will blow right by those leaders when they hit the top of the stretch. I will then go and say that second will be Quality Road, then Kensei will grab third. Following the top three will be Our Edge, Warriors Reward, Hold Me Back, and Charitable Man. My best long shot, if everything does not go as planned is, the improving, Zito trained Our Edge. Who are your picks?


  1. I like Summer Bird's chances and I also like the longshot Not For Silver in the King's Bishop...what a race that is!

  2. The King's Bishop is a tough race. I'll be rooting for BD. He's lost some respect because of his recent losses, but his last should have been a good prep, and if he has improved since his swale, he'll be even tougher.