Since Informative can’t explain himself or describe the impact of his 79/1 upset in Saturday’s Salvator Mile at Monmouth Park, let’s go to his jockey, Jose Ferrer.
“The horse can’t read the board, so he didn’t know (his odds),” Ferrer told Monmouth Park. “I’ve always said you don’t have a chance if you stay in the jockeys’ room and this is proof of that.”
Indeed it is. Informative came into the Grade 3 Salvator Mile with two wins in 24 career starts. He came in facing not only Grade 1 winner Basin, but defending champion Pirate’s Punch. Neither of whom were favored in Monmouth Park’s Saturday feature.
That was Ny Traffic, the 4/5 odds-on choice. He returned after dissecting a Belmont Park allowance field by 6 ½ lengths in early May.
Ny Traffic finished second again
All Ny Traffic could do Saturday was finish second. That, after Informative found an inside opening coming into the stretch. He reeled in Ny Traffic at the sixteenth pole and pulled off a one-length victory that paid $161.60, $37.80 and $15.60 on a $2 bet.
What made this even more remarkable was not only the depth of the field, but the race dynamic. Basin owns a Grade 1 win – albeit that win in the Hopeful Stakes came as a 2-year-old in 2019. Pirate’s Punch has five career wins and five in-the-money finishes in graded stakes. And of course, Ny Traffic has that second in last year’s Haskell Stakes, along with nine board-hits in 13 career races.
“We were not intimidated by this field,” trainer Uriah St. Lewis said. “That’s why we entered him. We thought he could win it.”
Informative goes worst to first in six furlongs
Into this field came Informative, who was last in the 10-horse field after the opening quarter-mile. With a quarter-mile to go, he was seventh – 4 ½ lengths back. But Ferrer, who had saved ground coming into the stretch, found that opening he needed.
“I’ve ridden horses like this before that looked like they were hopeless and they just pick it up for you,” Ferrer said. “Everything opened up for me in the stretch. It was wide open to come through I knew I had saved ground coming into the lane and I was thinking ‘Let’s see what this horse has now.’ Then, I saw Paco (Lopez aboard Ny Traffic) drifting out and I said ‘Man, I’m going to get him. I’m going to win this race.’”
To put Informative’s improbable win into perspective, the son of 2012 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes runner-up Bodemeister never finished better than fourth in a graded stakes. That came in the 2019 Grade 2 Remsen at Aqueduct. His two victories came in an allowance at Parx last December and in an Aqueduct maiden special weight in February 2020.
There was a sign here for anyone paying attention
Informative’s 110 Equibase Speed Figure was easily his career best and only the second triple-digit Equibase in his 25-race career. The first (103) came in his previous race: a second in an allowance optional claiming race at Pimlico on the Preakness undercard last month.
“I expected this, because the horse has been training so good,” St. Lewis said. “The last race he ran at Pimlico, he got blocked, checked and stopped and ran a huge (speed) number. “I said to myself, ‘If he can run that number again, he can win.’ And he did.”
As for that field, Pirate’s Punch finished sixth, 6 ½ lengths back. Basin was seventh by 8 ½ lengths.