SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr. worked two of his stable stars, Math Wizard and Ny Traffic, in company over a fast Saratoga Race Course main track on Thursday morning, with both horses covering 5 furlongs in 1:00.38, which were the fastest of eight recorded works at the distance.
Owned by John Fanelli, Cash is King Racing, LC Racing and Paul Braverman and bred in the Empire State by Brian Culnan, Ny Traffic has not finished off the board in 5 starts this year, which began with an allowance optional claiming victory at Gulfstream Park, where Joseph is primarily based.
He then followed up with a third-place finish in the Risen Star (G2) on February 15 at Fair Grounds before returning to the New Orleans oval for a runner-up finish to Wells Bayou in the Louisiana Derby (G2). His last 2 starts also were second-place effort, starting with the Matt Winn (G3) at Churchill Downs and continuing in the Haskell (G1) at Monmouth Park.
Ny Traffic is pointing towards the Kentucky Derby (G1) on September 5 at Churchill Downs. The son of Cross Traffic will give Joseph his first starter in the “Run for the Roses” and is fifth on the leaderboard with 110 qualifying points.
“Math Wizard is a good work horse and with Ny Traffic, we wanted something not speedy but more for endurance. It was a steady work, but next week will probably be his stiffest work,” Joseph said.
Ny Traffic joined Joseph’s barn after making his first 4 starts for former trainer Harold Wyner.
“From the first time we got him, he just improved steadily,” Joseph said of Ny Traffic, who has raced over six tracks in 9 starts. “He’s shipped all over and each time, he’s shown up. That’s a quality of a really good horse, he doesn’t need to take his track with him. Obviously, he’s been over Churchill’s track already so that makes us feel comfortable.”
Despite the presence of New York-bred Tiz the Law, the dominant frontrunner of the 3-year-old division who won last Saturday’s Runhappy Travers (G1), Joseph feels confident in Ny Traffic heading into the Kentucky Derby.
“I think he’s gotten better and better,” Joseph said. “Early in the year if you asked, I never thought he would be one of the leaders in the crop, but as time has gone on, I think we have a legit chance. Obviously, Tiz the Law ran impressively the other day, but I think we have a good chance.”