Unfortunately, due to work and other commitments, I was unable to watch the Travers Stakes, until late in the evening. Overall it was a great and exciting race to watch. It started off with Quality Road, who had been acting up at the gate, breaking poorly, then being rushed up to take third position along the rail, with Our Edge leading the way. Not far into the race, all three of the top horses were getting involved early, with Summer Bird a close fifth, running five wide, Kensei, was right up there with Our Edge, and Quality Road, still running on the rail. As they passed the three quarters, Our Edge started to back peddle, relinquishing the lead to Kensei, with Summer Bird in fifth still, and Quality Road, still on the rail. As they started exiting the far turn Kensei was still leading, but Summer Bird was beginning his run, and Quality Road was looking for some running room. As they straightened away Summer Bird shot to the front, Kensei gave way, as Quality Road finally found some room to run, racing into second, But midway down the stretch Summer Bird was still well clear, as Quality Road was being overtaken by a late closing Hold Me Back, but as they reached the wire it would be Summer Bird, with Hold Me Back a strong second, and Quality Road a game third.
When all is said and done, i am not surprised by the result. Summer Bird is a late developing colt, who was coming off a bang up performance in the Haskell, and was training up to the Travers great. He had shown he can close, or rate just off the pace, which he might be more effective doing. The race had a strong pace, which set up perfectly for him. He loves mud, and he was proven at the distance. Everything in this race pointed to him, and he didn't disappoint. Quality Road was just the opposite. I could see from a mile away he wasn't going to win. He had only had one sprint race in five months to prep for the 10 furlong Travers, going against the best field he's ever faced. Was he short, probably, but i also feel that he is not a 10 furlong horse. He can go 1 1/8, maybe even the Preakness distance, but at this distance, Summer Bird, and perhaps even Mine That Bird are better.
With this win Summer Bird is the leader of the 3yr old division, for colts. He has two wins at the classic distances, one in the Belmont, and now the Travers, and he ran a very good second in the Haskell to Rachel Alexandra, whom he flattered with yesterday's win. A win in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, or a second or third, if Rachel shows would strengthen his grip on top 3yr old colt. He also is being pointed to the Breeders Cup Classic, though, even with his talent, it would be a surprise for him to win over they synthetic specialist and Euros. Quality Road still could make some noise in his next couple, since he too, will most likely be pointed towards the Gold Cup and Classic. He may have just been shaking off the rust in the Travers and will come back in the Gold Cup, but as of now it's Summers Bird's turn in the limelight, because next week it's Rachel's turn to strut her stuff against older males in the Woodward. Though, as i said, this week it's all about Summer Bird, and what a horse he is turning out to be.