Submitted by John Piesen on Friday, August 23, 2013 at 12:00 AM
THRU THE BINOCULARS
TRAVERS DAY 150
By John Piesen
Back in the day as night sports editor at the New York Post, I lived for days like this Saturday.
In this case, in no particular order, New York-area sports fanatics could pick and choose among:
- Tigers-Mets baseball at Citi Field, a rematch of the memorable Scherzer-Harvey All-Star-Game hookup.
- Giants-Jets pre-season football at The Meadowlands.
- Tiger making rare local appearance at Barclays/Jersey City
- Crucial Yanks-Tampa baseball on TV and on radio w/ Ma and Pa Sterling.
- One of the best Travers Stakes in ages
I have to feel for the current night editors facing the responsibility of laying out these pagers. You can make a case for leading with any of the five. You could even (God forbid) allow the quality of the event and the coverage determine your decisions.
I know if I still had the gig, I would be in the minority and lead with the Travers.
How great is this Travers?
I make it the best in 19 years when Concern made up 30 lengths in 30 seconds but missed by a hair of catching Holy Bull in one of the most dramatic Saratoga finishes in the venue’s 150 years. It took ages to develop the photo, and jockey Jerry Bailey to this day still can’t believe he won it. Maybe you can get lucky and find Jerry hawking the photo on the premises.
This Travers may well be a repeat of ’94. Like Holy Bull, Verrazano was beaten only once (in the Derby) all summer, and his Travers victory will have clinched the 3-year-old title and Horse of the Year. I’ve never been a big van of Verrazano until recently, when I saw the Holy Bull in him at the Haskell. And both HB an Verrazano have Jersey connections.
In a normal Travers I would like Moreno. He is the California-speedball who has moved up several lengths since blinkers were added. So many big races have been won by stealing them, especially up to the mile and a quarter of the Travers. Yes, the Bull did it, and Jaipur did it, but that was Holy Bull and Jaipur.
And what I don’t like about picking the speed in this case is the fact that there are two entries in this race. Entries usually means one goes and one waits. And chaos ensues. Especially with Todd Pletcher (notice he pulled another dandy Thursday).
In the Travers, Palace Malice and Verrazano have a similar stalking style. It’s tough to figure.
So Is Orb. Will we see the good Orb from the Derby?. Or the bumski from The Belmont?.
I’m looking at two possible Travers results: a rodeo finish or a Verrazano coup.
The Travers will go as race 12 on a 14-race card, so bring some good booze and some good kidneys. I wouldn’t want to be on the Northway heading south during Giants-Jets.
Sunday’s Spa feature offers Royal Delta at 1-9 against a field of four in the 600K Personal Ensign. Tough to get excited about that one.
Meanwhile, the best and richest race this weekend will be the #1 million Pacific Classic Sunday at Del Mar matching Game On Dude and Crossing Traffic.
Thanks for tuning in. Check out the John Piesen Hot Line at 1 (888) 612 2283, Go Bucs, and see you back here next week.