This year’s Triple Crown races are over, but an extraordinary number of contrasts have made this series of races more intriguing than ever.

Leading three-year-olds setting sights on Saratoga Race Course in Upstate New York and the Travers Stakes Aug. 24. (Image: NYRA)

Some of what made 2019 so fascinating:

Wide Open Three-Year-Old Division

While bettors and fans regroup, so are the nation’s top three-year olds. They’re now dispersing to various tracks and training centers nationwide. Who’ll be best at the end of the year is anyone’s guess. Even the experts are unsure which horse and trainer will dominate the sports’ second season.

Maximum Security, the denied Derby winner, is expected to race next in a prep for the July 20 Haskell Stakes at Monmouth Park. However just this week trainer Jason Servis says he’s awaiting blood tests on his student after a lackluster weekend exercise session. The federal lawsuit over his Derby DQ continues. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission earlier this week asking the court to dismiss the suit because the “stewards’ determinations are final” and not subject to appeal.

Casse says both his Belmont hero Sir Winston and Preakness winner War of Will are pointing towards the Travers Stakes at Saratoga Aug. 24. War of Will is the only horse to compete in all three legs of the 2019 Triple Crown. Tacitus conditioner Bill Mott says his horse is most likely heading to Saratoga, too. Mott, also trainer of Country House, says his Derby winner via DQ is recovering after getting sick right after his big effort at Churchill. It’s unclear when he’ll race again.

California Contingent in Flux

Omaha Beach, after a longer than expected convalescence from surgery in Kentucky to correct breathing problems, is just now returning to trainer Richard Mandella’s shed row at Santa Anita, near Los Angeles. Questions remain. How long it will take for him to resume hard training? Can the Arkansa Derby winner make the $1 million Travers or any of the summer’s major three-year old events?

Bob Baffert, the dual Triple Crown winning trainer, conducts business out of Del Mar, near San Diego during the summer. He’s had little to say about his three-pronged Derby contenders, who were last seen racing in Louisville the first Saturday in May. Game Winner, 2018’s two-year-old champ, may be heading to Saratoga in an effort to re-assert his dominance over the division. Improbable, off the board at Churchill, may be shortening up from races like the 1 ¼ mile Travers. The third Baffert charge, the ultra talented Roadster, could appear anywhere at anytime. As Baffert often tells the media, his horses tell him when they are ready.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *