Viva Travers!

There are some simple factors regarding this year’s Travers Stakes. First, Bayern is going to be very tough on an uncontested lead, especially breaking from post 2 and with a stone closer, Commanding Curve, inside him. Second, Tonalist and Wicked Strong are both sitting on big efforts, and it was apparent from the Jim Dandy Stakes that Wicked Strong has improved several lengths with blinkers added and is much more focused and professional now. There is no doubt those are the logical horses to play.

There certainly are questions to be asked of the others. How will Mr Speaker, already a grade I winner at 1 1/4 miles, handle the dirt this time, in a race that is much more suited to his style of running than the Holy Bull Stakes? Also, will Kid Cruz’s stretch-running style be more effective stretching out to 10 furlongs? And can Commanding Curve duplicate his fast-closing second in the Kentucky Derby?

As for the late bloomers, can V.E. Day and Charge Now, the one-two finishers in the Curlin Stakes, take another step forward against more accomplished horses?

These are the questions and scenarios surrounding Saturday’s Midsummer Derby.

But, wait, we forget about a horse. Hidden among the talented group assembled for Saturday’s race is the little-mentioned fourth-place finisher of the Curlin, Viva Majorca.

Most likely, it will be between Viva Majorca and his stablemate Ulanbator to determine who will be the longest price in the 10-horse field.

That suits us just fine. Digging a bit beneath the surface, one cannot help but feel that Viva Majorca is a live longshot in the Travers, and even if he’s not quite ready to beat the above-named horses, he certainly has enough angles going for him to suggest he could be in the mix as an intriguing horse to put in the exotics.

First off, it must be noted that Viva Majorca, owned and bred by Marylou Whitney, is by Tiago, so the 1 1/4 miles should suit him just fine based on that alone. Add to that, five of his first six dams were Whitney-breds and the female line traces to the great Whitney family Hall of Famer Equipoise. Also, Viva Majorca’s broodmare sire, Cape Town, sired the Whitney-owned and bred Kentucky Oaks winner Bird Town, a half-sister to the Whitney’s 2004 Belmont Stakes and Travers winner Birdstone. In fact, Birdstone is the most recent of the Whitney family’s four Travers winners, following Chompion in 1968, Tompion in 1960, and Fisherman in 1954.

Viva Majorca’s fourth dam, Sun and Snow, won the Kentucky Oaks for the Whitney family.

From a visual standpoint, Viva Majorca had a terrible trip in the Curlin, as he was blocked behind horses from the three-eighths pole to inside the three-sixteenths pole, and finally had to keep going wider and wider to find clear sailing. Once he did, he closed strongly to be beaten a length, while coming home his final eighth in :12 2/5, and was striding out smoothly and powerfully in the final sixteenth, as if he were just getting going. What made his performance even more impressive was that this was his first race around two turns, coming off only four sprint races in his brief career.

He showed his brilliance and speed in his second start. With first-time Lasix, he romped by 12 lengths at Gulfstream, covering the seven furlongs in a swift 1:21 4/5. Ian Wilkes needed to find a race for him and was forced to drop him back in distance in a six-furlong allowance/optional claimer at Churchill Downs, where he rallied from seventh, eight lengths back, to finish second in 1:09 3/5, coming home his final eighth in :23 flat. His next start was another allowance/optional claimer going 6 1/2 furlongs at Churchill Downs. Coming from sixth in the mud, he blew by his opponents in the final furlong to win going away by 3 1/2 lengths.

Off those sprints, he stretched out to 1 1/8 miles at Saratoga in the Curlin, and in our opinion was the best horse in the race and would have won with a decent trip. Of course, the two in front of him, also are up-and-comers, but we feel there is more upside to Viva Majorca going two turns for the second time and stretching out in distance. Yes, on paper, the big three look extremely formidable, especially if Bayern gets loose on a fairly easy lead, which he should. But we’re here to look for a big price who will give you a run for your money.

Wilkes has always loved this colt, who he says is a pleasure to train and be around, and feels he could be something special. Whether he’s ready to show that in the Travers we’ll have to see, but he will be a huge price. If he’s not quite ready to take on this group, do not give up on him. The feeling here is that he will be a major force later in the year and especially next year.

The fact that Wilkes called him “My next Fort Larned,” is more than enough reason to take this colt seriously on Saturday.


Leave a Comment:

Bethany Loftis

Always enjoy reading your race day analysis'. I admire the way you are able to see these athletes and then present them to us. This year's Travers is exciting! I can see most of these horses winning except for maybe Commanding Curve based strictly on post position and running style. I believe if he gets the right trip though, he certainly has the talent to overcome his post. Personally, I'm pulling for a "Wicked Strong" Travers, if for nothing else, sentimental reasons. V.E. Day would be ok too ;)

Good luck and safe trips for all!

20 Aug 2014 2:46 PM
Bethany Loftis

Slightly off topic question for you Mr. Haskin. How do you think Shared Belief will fair this weekend in the Pacific Classic against elders? That's another race I'm looking forward to, but was curious what your thoughts were. Might that spark another blog?? (Fingers crossed)

20 Aug 2014 2:50 PM

always enjoy your appearances on the Byk show...lets get a price home in the Travers

20 Aug 2014 4:41 PM

Last night reached essentially the same conclusion about Viva Majorca. Really like his look and style, and his pedigree is just fine. Not sure that the ultra-talented Bayern wants 10 f, so this guy could get it all, or at least be a force in the future stamina oriented races. Would like to see Tiago have a good one.

20 Aug 2014 5:06 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

I'm going with Mr. Speaker and Wicked Strong only, on top of exotics, and WPS on Mr. Speaker in a squeaker.

20 Aug 2014 9:33 PM

Looks like a hot weekend. All these colts will be laboring to the wire. If Mr. Speaker can save ground, I'll like his odds and "favorable" post position!

20 Aug 2014 10:44 PM

Viva Majorca has a lot of speed as denoted by the final times of his two victories. Those victories were not achieved on the front end but rather by closing rapidly off the paces. That fact that he finished willing in his 1st attempt beyond 7F against seasoned 8 1/2F & 9F runners signaled that he possess the stamina to complemented his speed.

Both of his victories came in his 2nd start at  both GP and CD following losses in his first at those tracks. He lost his 1st race at Saratoga and if the trend continues he should win his second. He certainly has the numbers to do same.

20 Aug 2014 11:09 PM
Larry in Miami

After giving her life to the Sport Of Kings, the Racing Gods, in the twilight of her life, reward Marylou Whitney with a Travers victory.  Their is not a dry eye at the Spa as Marylou Whitney is given the Travers trophy. Joe Hirsch is all smiles as the best story won...

21 Aug 2014 9:30 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

I like Majestic Harbor or Toast of New York in the Pacific Classic.

21 Aug 2014 11:21 AM

In the last 20 renewals of the Travers, eleven of the winners exited the Jim Dandy. Six of the 11 were winners, three finished 2nd and two finished 3rd. Consecutive winners of the JD & Travers have exploded in the last 10 years with five achieving the double i.e., Alpha, Stay Thirsty, Street Sense, Bernardini and Flower Alley, .

Of the 9 other Travers winners in the last 20 renewals, four came out of the Haskell. Three came out of the Swaps and two out of the Belmont.

All 20 winners finished in the top 3 in graded races preceding the Travers with Golden Ticket being the sole exception. If the data base I accessed is correct, he finished 2nd in an AwlOC before his DH finish with Alpha.

How does historic data above help us to sort out the field for the 2014 renewal of the Travers?

Wicked Strong belongs to the dominant group with six winners of the JD doubling in the Travers. He therefore should be the ML favorite and not Bayern.

Bayern belongs to one of two groups that are tied for 2nd. Three Haskell winners and a runner-up have won 4 of the last 20 renewal of the Travers.

Tonalist belongs to the other group. Three 2nd place finishers in the Jim Dandy returned to win the Travers. The tie breaker would go to Tonalist as he has a similar profile to that of Lemon Drop kid. Both won the Belmont and finished 2nd in the JD before contesting the Travers.  The Woody Stephens/ Haskell is not comparable.

Kid Cruz belongs to the group ranked 3rd. Two runner-up in the JD returned to win the Travers.

What of the 6 remaining entrants?

Commanding Curve and Ulanbator finished 4th & 5th respectively in the Jim Dandy. In the last 20 years no horse finishing outside the top 3 in the JD returned win the Travers. Can they be safely eliminated from consideration? Both have more credentials than Golden Ticker heading into the Travers but are unlikely to turn the table on the theri victors.

Of the three colts from the Curlin only Charge Now has contested a graded race. He finished 7th on sloppy track in the Iowa Derby. However, all have shown they can route. The Curlin was completed in 1.25 second slower than the Jim Dandy contested the following day. Can any of the three improve 5-7L in 4 weeks? I am of the opinion any upset winner will emerge from this group.

Mr. Speaker is embarking on another turf to dirt experiment. None of the winners of the last 20 renewals of the Travers contested their previous race on turf. He is a multiple graded stakes winner similar to the top 4 and qualifies in the class department. His fast 5/8 suggests he will be up with the leaders and that will compromise his usual closing kick. He has not blowing away the competition on turf as most of his victories have been by short margins. I am not one that believes he is cable of carving out even a narrow victory transitioning from his preferred surface. I do not trust this experiment and I am prepared for him to doom all my tickets.

I was not impressed with the Jim Dandy as it went contrary to all expectation not necessarily the finish but certainly the race itself. Dead closer Kid Cruz came away with the lead from the gates only to relinquish same to MSW winner Legend who was joint leader with Wicked Strong for 6F before eventually finished last. Kid Cruz was close to the leaders and then dropped back before rallying into 3rd. Both Wicked Strong and Tonalist appeared to be struggling down the stretch with Tonalist laboring on the spot. The race was odd to say the least and I believe the big two from the JD are venerable.

My internet lies in Haskell winner and the three colts exiting the Curlin. with Bayern and Viva Majorca appearing to have the best speed in the field and with the latter possessing an esterifying turn of foot, the final 2F should be interesting.

21 Aug 2014 11:51 AM
Gerry L

Have to take Bayern here, especially if he gets an easy lead. Shared Belief in the Pac Classic.  California Chrome : I love you, but buddy I hope you're training well. There are some great horses out there now. Thanks again for the insight Steve.  I just read "Dr. Fager." Thanks for writing it.

21 Aug 2014 12:23 PM

Bayern looks like lethal speed. When only one of the horses has proven graded stakes front running speed it is a monumental task to outrun them, front runners save all the ground on the turns and every horse that tries to go past-Garcia will not let anyone through on the fence a la Gary Stevens in the Arkansas derby-is forced to take the overland route. This horse is learning how races are run and won. Watch his ears down the backside in the Haskell, Garcia is talking to him, he is listening,"Easy big boy,Facil, Facil", when speed horses learn to listen the jockey can use his voice, letting his hands remain silent, a huge asset as the metal in his mouth is not near as precise as words in his ears. Pedigree wise: his sire Offlee Wild got a mile and a quarter in grade I company, unraced dam was by Belmont winner Thunder Gulch, out of a graded stakes winning Alydar mare, could go further back but only gets better.

Tonalist is a danger but he has to utilize the same tactics he did in the Peter Pan, move early, if he wants to win.

Wicked Strong now needs another piece of equipment, ear stuffing, blinkers, front wraps, What is next? Hooking up on the lead with a grade I winner will exact much more from him than hooking a maiden winner, Legend, did in the Jim Dandy.

Mr Speaker's task is simple, transfer his turf form to dirt.

Viva Majorca has lots of Whitney champs in his pedigree, they must show up on Saturday, he will need all the help he can get.

Kid Cruz will need to make a big leap forward.

The remainder of the field has yet to flatter, unlikely they will have much impact on the race.

21 Aug 2014 1:18 PM

Bayern is just too good right now ...he'll toy with them down the backstretch, open up on the far turn and it will be "Katie bar the door" after that. Wicked Strong should fill the exacta spot. Tonalist, I figure, will stalk and try to turn the race into a stamina contest by challenging Bayern early but that will cost him the show spot.

21 Aug 2014 2:56 PM

Mr Speaker, Commanding Curve and Viva Marjoca, top three. Way out on a limb here and hanging on by a toenail.

21 Aug 2014 7:58 PM
Paula Higgins

Bayern, Wicked Strong and then Viva Majorca

21 Aug 2014 9:45 PM

Yes ~Steve ~

Your paragraph II, III and IV is the "best bet" - these are the questions/ comments that define analysis from a fine and knowledgeable professional - Thank you


I will add  

Wilkes and Whitney! Admirable of course and very much acknowledgeable but The Travers is still a race (as I know it to be )that demands the strength and stamina of a well balanced and toned contender that will perform above and beyond ordinary or at least at their very best.  It is no "ordinary" race and Saratoga no" ordinary" track.

21 Aug 2014 9:49 PM



Wicked Strong/Mr Speaker

Mr Speaker/Wicked Strong

22 Aug 2014 12:14 AM

Thanks for your analysis Steve.  Enjoy the Travers.  No place better in August than Saratoga for the Travers.  With a nephew, I'll be doing the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and then the Browns vs. Rams home pre- season game, but my heart will be at Saratoga.

Bayern to win.  It will take a monumental task to run him down.  He's sharp as a razor.  Will use Wicked Strong and Viva Majorca underneath.

22 Aug 2014 8:46 AM
Mister Frisky

Mr.Speaker and a Charge Now exacta box.Mott very dangerous with Super Savers half bro.

22 Aug 2014 9:56 AM
Linda in Texas

trackjack - enjoy your nephew. I have come to realize that no matter where you are, your heart is always in the right place. I respect you. I think all of us who love Saratoga wish we could be there in person, unfortunately for many, it will be in our hopes only.

So those who post here, if you are so lucky to be there write about it and let us all enjoy your times there.

Larry in Miami - i join you in your high regard for Mary Lou Whitney. To me she is The Grande Dam of Saratoga all wrapped up in a pretty pink bow. Best of luck to all in The Travers.  

22 Aug 2014 11:40 AM

From an historic angle the 2014 Travers should be decided between 5 horses. The 3 exiting the Jim Dandy, the winner and the Belmont Derby winner are the logical choices.

The horses above will carry the bulk of the wagering. Which of the 5 can be safely eliminated from the top spot in the Travers?

Kid Cruz: I cannot think of a running strategy that could be employed to get him a victory. If he is close to the pace he will not have his explosive finishing kick. If he drops back he will have too much do against the high cruisers that can kick in the stretch. He is 8Lbs worst off heading in to the Travers. I see no path to victory for this colt. Eliminated!

Bayern: Won his last 2 start impressively over Top Fortitude, Albano and others. Top Fortitude and Albano are G3 winners that would not pose any serious danger to the top colts in training. Bayern appears to be the superior speed in the field but his speed has to be perfectly managed for him to win 10F against top G1 routers. He has never won a race with 126lbs and will carry 8Lbs more than he carried in the Haskell going 1F longer against top class routers. He will be competitive but I see no path to victory for this colt.  Eliminated!

Tonalist: He and Kid Cruz were impressive winners of both their starts at Belmont but have signaled their dislike for the Saratoga surface with inexplicable sub-par performances in the Jim Dandy. Tonalist is a bid of a grinder with long strides but not an explosive turn of foot. His running style is not suited to Saratoga and susceptible to speed. His and his only chance to secure the top spot will be contingent on rain. He will be competitive but a victory is unlikely. Eliminated!

Wicked Strong: With blinker and bandages added he had only MSW winner Legend to contend with on the lead and ran away late from the one paced Tonalist in the Jim Dandy. The only horse that closed any ground late was the Kid Cruz who running into real estate long vacated by the top two. Being upfront with Bayern will be a significantly different experience than the one with MSW winner Legend. This will compromise his chances. He will have to contend with well-bred, fresh and talented new shooters who are poised to breakthrough at the graded level. I did not like the lack of extension in his strides in the latter part of the final furlong. He will be competitive but a victory is unlikely. Eliminated!

Mr. Speaker: He will be trying dirt for the 2nd time in his career. In his 1st attempt he weakened badly after being prominent. Will his 2nd time be better? I believe in keeping an opened mind but it’s difficult to imagine this colt being be competitive on dirt. Why?  Charge Now, V E Day and Kid Cruz all a made their 1st starts on turf. They were all successful in their dirt debuts whereas Mr. Speaker flopped. In the case of V E Day his dirt debut was a race taken off the turf. He was returned to turf for his next start over 9F and he won. He then returned to dirt to win the Curlin. Mr. Speaker’s dirt debut was just too a bad to inspire confidence. If he had hit the board or not beaten 10L he would deserve another chance but other in the field made the successful transition and he did not and this cannot be ignored. He is a classy turf colt that should be kept where he excels. Eliminated!

Having eliminated the top five contenders from the #1 spot I have no doubt left myself opened to look like a buffoon. I just think the race is poised for an upset that will make the 3YO  male division even more intriguing.

My selection to win will follow.

22 Aug 2014 12:39 PM
Bill Two

I think that Bayern needs a very glib racing strip tomorrow in order to stretch his speed to a mile and a quarter at Saratoga. The last speed horse I can remember that was successful in the Travers was General Assembly and he set a track record on a glib strip. Obviously all of the jockeys understand that they cannot allow Bayern to have his own way.  The question besides Bayern's ability to get the distance is whether any of the rest of them are capable of making him work hard enough to soften him up for the last eighth of a mile and whether they will have enough left to win?  This race serves as a good example of how precarious it is to extrapolate mile and an eighth form to a mile and a quarter.  Intriguing race indeed!

22 Aug 2014 4:31 PM

Nice article here Steve.  It answers a question I have had, where the heck is Tiago?????  Well, he's out making babies and one if them is Viva Majorca!

I'm for Bayern here.  Bayern for the win.  With Tonalist in the mix somewhere so he lives up to his Belmont performance.

Why I am not as excited this year about the Travers I cannot answer.  The Haskell was sort of lackluster and not a big attendance as I was there, albeit Bayern was impressive with his win by several lengths.  Maybe it is because we rode such a high with California Chrome until it all got messed up in the Belmont, then Intense Holiday's passing, Danza's disappearance, and Commissioner's surgery.  Where are Top Billing and Honor Code?????  It just seems we are left with a different cast of 3yr. olds than we started out the year with.

Good luck to all of them and may they all come home safely.

22 Aug 2014 9:34 PM
Bill Two

I forgot about Holy Bull and Bernadini wiring their respective fields in the Travers.  Suffice it to say that it doesn't happen often and takes a pretty good horse to pull it off.

22 Aug 2014 9:56 PM

Linda in Texas--Thanks for those words. Saratoga is filled with so much tradition.  Maybe next year!

Good luck to all.

22 Aug 2014 10:45 PM

V E Day is an extremely interesting colt. Rarely does a 3YO’s record reflect four 9F races in its first 5 starts. He has to be one of the most versatile 3YO seen this season.

The colt’s first two starts were losing efforts over 9F on turf. He then won his 3rd start on a sloppy dirt track as a result of his intended turf race being moved to the main track. He was back on turf for his 4th start and 3rd over 9F and won. Then it was back to dirt for the 9F Culin and another victory.

His last 3 starts that resulted in victories were contested on a sloppy dirt track, a firm turf course and a fast dirt track. There is clearly no challenge too big for this colt. He contested two 9F races on two different surfaces in July and has not missed a beat in training since based on published works.

V.E Day was sired by the exceptional turf router English Challenge whom I consider above Wise Dan. One is forced to get excited about V E Day’s unraced Deputy Minister dam.  Curlin, Sarava and Japanese champion Kane Hekili were produced from unraced Deputy minister  mares. This colt is clearly bred to run all day. English Challenge is a grandson of Mr. Prospector and belongs to an elite group of sires. The Mr. Prospector line horses can never be discount when they show ability and this colt has shown a ton plus versatility.

I consider him the best suited for the distance of the Travers. With the expected honest pace to be set by Bayern and company, he will be the one with the most energy in the last furlong. If he is good enough he will win. If the tracks come up sloppy it will even be better.

V E Day is my selection to upset in the Travers.

23 Aug 2014 7:47 AM

The weather might play a major role in the outcome of the Travers as it is likely to be raining at Saratoga at this moment. If the track comes up sloppy/muddy it could negatively impact certain horses and be a blessing for others.

Commanding Curve: Debuted at Saratoga on a sloppy track and was beaten 23L

Wicked Strong: : Debuted at Belmont on a sloppy track and was beaten 51/2L

Charge Now: Contested the Iowa Derby on a sloppy track and did not raise gallop and was beaten 6 1/2L.

V E Day won his debut on a sloppy track closing 7 1/2L and finished in hand.

Viva  Majorca: Won his race preceding the Curlin on a sloppy track and finished in hand.

Tonalist: His most impressive race was the Peter Pan contested on a sloppy track.

Mr. Speaker won both his races that were contested on good turf.

V E Day’s most impressive victory was his MSW victory on a sloppy track. He trailed the field by 7L. He then launched his challenge in the stretch against the rails and had to be switched sharply close home due the tiring leader drifting left. He blew by the leader and finished in hand. He then returned to turf in his next start to win a 9F race in 1:47.74.

English Channel scored his most impressive victory on a soft turf when he destroyed the field in the Breeders Cup Turf Classic. Curlin’s most impressive victory came in the BCC on a sloppy track. Both horses were sired by Smart Strike. Curlin’s dam was sired by Deputy Minister.

V E day should just love a sloppy/muddy track. It will be a difficult task to defeat top 4 but I believe he has the best credential to so.

A ML of 15-1 merits a reasonable across the board wager.

23 Aug 2014 7:59 AM


You were gung-ho about Tonalist going into the Jim Dandy and expressed skepticism at the running of that race, yet you've jumped ship so quickly. With the chance of a sloppy track Tonalist's chances should be way more imposing. Where's your conviction bro?

23 Aug 2014 9:33 AM

I don't believe Tiago nor Cape Town have thrown a 10 furlong stakes winner, so regardless of who they are related to or what they did on the race track it's no cinch that more ground will suit Viva Majorca in grade 1 company. The winner of the Curlin, however, does have a sire and damsire that both have thrown multiple 10-12 furlong horses winners in grade 1 company. Plus, he picks up the top jockey at Saratoga, while Leparoux (Viva Majorca's jock) hasn't fared that well this Saratoga meet. Sometimes the long shot you seek is right in front of you if you're looking.

23 Aug 2014 11:21 AM

Thank you for a great article !. It'd be great to see Mary Lou smile, and Viva Majorca (or Mallorca, if you like to wear pearls) sounds very interesting.

What ?, it's raining at Saratoga as we speak and Coldfacts mentioned who does and who doesn't like sloppy tracks ?. I'd better go out to Saratoga's website to check track conditions. (Oh, The Racing Gods are So Strict ! ie: "Hope for the best, expect the ...."). Best wishes for all !.

23 Aug 2014 11:30 AM
Sail On

Looks to me that Bayern will set a fast pace out of the gate and that several horses will show up at 1 1/8 miles to contest the outcome. I like Wicked Strong, as Commanding curve may be trapped on the rail.

23 Aug 2014 11:59 AM

I would have paid little attention, if any, to Viva Majorca prior to reading this article.  He is now in my virtual stable and I will look forward to following his future progress and his efforts today.  I thoroughly enjoyed your run-down of the Travers, Steve, and gained an entirely new and better perspective of the race.

23 Aug 2014 1:49 PM
Bill Two

Helluva pick,  Coldfacts!  You are the man, my friend.

23 Aug 2014 6:40 PM
Steel Dragon

Way to go, Coldfacts!

23 Aug 2014 6:50 PM

Oh goes on. Hope Bayern is ok and a hearty congrats to VE Day. You were spot on Cold Facts.

Wonder how the HOY is going to play out?  Could this be the year for another filly or mare to Close Hatches? Guess a lot will depend on how Chrome and Palace Malice does and the Breeders Cup races.

23 Aug 2014 6:52 PM
Arch the phoneman

Coldfacts does it again. The legend grows.

23 Aug 2014 10:37 PM

Coldfacts--Good call on the Travers.  At 19-1 my hat's off to you.

24 Aug 2014 12:22 AM

Arch the phoneman,

You are either being overly kind or guilty of a little sarcasm. There is only one 'Legend' that writes on this blog and he needs no highlight as we all familiar with his legendary work.

If I am at all legendary it is for causing controversy and generating bitterness and disgust with my opposing views.  

If your statement was submitted in utmost good faith, it has been noted with the utmost of humility.

24 Aug 2014 8:09 AM

Congratulations to Coldfacts!  

24 Aug 2014 8:33 AM


"You were gung-ho about Tonalist going into the Jim Dandy and expressed skepticism at the running of that race"

Tonalist was my firm selection for the Belmont. Regarding the Jim Dandy, I was more highlighting his superiority over Wicked Strong rather than gung-ho about him.

Any race that Kid Cruz can lead from the gates is odd.

I am sure you are familiar with the quote ‘there is no man blinder than he one who refuses to see.’  With young developing horses one cannot be fixated and blinded to cold facts. The analysis of cold facts will vary between contributors but it is important that analysis be undertaken objectively and devoid of emotions.

V E Day’s resume reflected exceptional routing ability complimented by unprecedented versatility. This led me to conclude that there was no challenge too big for him. Two 9F races on two different surfaces in the same month is unheard of these days. Three a consecutive victory on three different surfaces rarity.

One does not have to believe in history but one should equally not be dismissive of historic facts. Unraced Deputy Minister mares have produced three winners and one runner-up of the longest race on the calendar for 3YOs. Stallions who are grandsons of Mr. Prospector have been the most dominant in the Triple Crown history. Combine these two historic factors and apply them to a fast developing, talented and versatile 3YO and he will fit the profile of a Travers winner.

Many might consider it twisted logic or logic that beats the mind. Irrespective how the logic was viewed, V E Day fitted profile of so many past champions that is was hard not to recognize same.

I provided my rational for selecting him. I was recently advised that I should desist from providing handicapping/evaluating comments.

I overwhelmingly believe that sharing is caring.

24 Aug 2014 10:07 AM


Your handicapping of the Travers to come up with that 19-1 upset winner, V E Day, was nothing short of brilliant. Keep up the good work.

24 Aug 2014 7:12 PM

Coldfacts, your analysis of the Travers' starters and your pick of V.E. Day who did indeed win the race was very impressive. So many people cannot see beyond the favorites in any race. You however, can and did. Congratulations. Well done.

24 Aug 2014 8:36 PM
Linda in Texas

Must say Congratulations Coldfacts. You nailed that on the head, i wondered where you were going with all the info, until you posted your pick. Now how did you come out at the windows?

Everyone is all hopped up over Shared Belief and rightly so. But remember Game On Dude came in ahead  of (beat)6 horses and set the pace along with Mystery Train, not bad for an old fella? And who was that mystery horse? Where will we see him again?

Thanks Steve. Forgot to say that in my last post. So thanks again.

25 Aug 2014 12:37 AM

How to loose races - ride like this.

25 Aug 2014 3:22 AM

A few points from my post-race analysis of the Travers:

Bayern: I expected the extra 8lbs and additional furlong to adversely affect his performance but could not envisage a last place finish. I eliminated him from the top spot but did not relegate him to last. I considered his ML as travesty in handicapping.

Tonalist: This colt made it apparent that the Saratoga strip was not to his total liking. He was a different horse at Belmont Park. He flattened out in the stretch of the Jim dandy and did the same in the Travers.   I think it is time to remove the blinkers as stalking and failing to carry through a gallop in my book requires an equipment change. I eliminated him from the top spot and he validated my assessment that he would have been competitive without actually winning.

Kid Cruz: I saw no path to victory for this colt. The Saratoga strip does not suit his running style. He is a grinding closer who capitalized on pace runners that are come back to the field.  Those guilty of same in the Travers were passed. He is a cut below those in the top echelon at this point in his career.

Wicked Strong: Where were his Jim Dandy and Travers efforts when I selected him to win the Derby? The final time for the Derby was a pedestrian 2:03.66. Have the blinkers made such a difference? His stride pattern in the final furlong of Jim Dandy suggested he could be vulnerable against a top class closer with the extra furlong of the Travers. He had no excuse as he was beaten by a better horse on the day and probably better horse in general.

V E Day: Another top 3YO from the Mr. Prospector sire line has emerged. The A P Indy sire line has been the dominant throughout 2014 largely due to the early retirement of New Year Day and injury to Shared Belief. Well is appears the MP. sire line is poised to reclaim its rightful place at the top in the second half of the year.

V E Day is an exceptional talent. In his Travers victory and 1st in a graded race, he defeated 5 horses that in combination contested 22 graded races with a combined 10 victories to their credit. One of the horse holds a victory over the top rated 3YO male in the country. It not easy to win races and this colt is on a 4 race win steak with all four races won on different surfaces i.e., sloppy, turf, fast and upgraded from good to fast. (must have some residual moisture)

Will he be able to match strides with California Chrome and Shared Belief on the speedway of SA Park? This colt has proven he can run on any surface a true testament to his versatility.

Will Take Charge won the Traverse in 2:02.68 and was beaten on the speed way in 2:00.72. V E Day appear to be a better horse than WTC at the comparative stage of their careers. The final time for the  2014 Travers was 2:02.93.

25 Aug 2014 8:48 AM
Ted from LA

Coldfacts, "There is only one 'Legend' that writes on this blog and he needs no highlight as we all familiar with his legendary work."

That's kind of you, but you're making me blush.  Great call on the Travers.

25 Aug 2014 9:08 AM

Linda in Texas,

"Now how did you come out at the windows?"

All fruits are ripe!

25 Aug 2014 1:47 PM
Jersey Girl

Just wanted to add my congrats to Coldfacts. Your  V.E.Day Travers prediction was the last thing I read before leaving the house on Saturday to place a few selections. When I read it I thought, "H'mmm, I guess we'll soon see." And we did. Well played. Congratulations.

25 Aug 2014 2:50 PM

Many thanks guys for your kind compliments.

Even a broken clock is right at some point.

25 Aug 2014 5:23 PM

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