Whatever rust Ny Traffic possessed during a seven-month layoff disappeared in less than 90 seconds on Sunday, when the colt dismantled a Belmont Park allowance field of New York-breds by 6 ½ lengths.

Ny Traffic return
Ny Traffic opened his 3-year-old campaign last January winning this Gulfstream Park allowance. He opened his 4-year-old season Sunday, winning a Belmont Park allowance by 6 1/2 lengths. (Image: Lauren King/Gulfstream Park)

The Cross Traffic progeny made his 4-year-old debut nearly seven months to the day after he finished a non-threatening ninth in the 2020 Preakness Stakes. Ny Traffic was a late add to that final Triple Crown jewel last October and he ran like it, beating only Pneumatic and Liveyourbeastlife. His 81 Equibase Speed Figure was his lowest in seven races, dating to an Aqueduct Black-Type Stakes race in November 2019.

The month before that, Ny Traffic finished eighth in the Kentucky Derby. He endured a miserable, traffic-laden trip befitting his name in that race.

There were no such problems on Sunday in a seven-furlong, five-horse, second-level allowance against four overmatched foes – all of whom raced at least once in 2021. Ny Traffic let eventual last-place finisher Golani Brigade set the early pace, seizing the lead at the five-sixteenths pole. He led by six entering the stretch and breezed home unthreatened in 1:21.52. Irad Ortiz Jr. geared him down with a sixteenth to go.

Ny Traffic put in his work without traffic

Ny Traffic wasn’t exactly dormant during his layoff. Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. worked him out regularly at his Gulfstream Park base. There, the colt clocked four bullet workouts in six outings since March 8. He came to New York early last week.

Last year, Ny Traffic was one of those gutty colts who figured in most of his races before the 2020 Derby. He ran seven times last year, finishing in the money in four stakes races on three different tracks: the Risen Star (third), Louisiana Derby (second), the Matt Winn (second), and the Haskell (second).

Putting aside a season-opening Gulfstream Park allowance win, that Haskell marked Ny Traffic’s best 2020 outing. He finished a strong second to eventual Horse of the Year Authentic, nearly catching the eventual Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner at the wire.

Ny Traffic won nearly $500,000 in 2020. Over his career, he’s banked $565,470 from 11 races, with seven in-the-money finishes (2-3-2).

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