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It was a weekend to remember at Saratoga! Like always, Travers Day gave us plenty of memorable performances, some of which could have major implications on the Breeders’ Cup in a few months. Narrowing it down to just three stars was a challenge, but we’ve done our best to highlight who we deemed superior.
Say hello to the newest 3-year-old star! The 150th Travers Stakes (G1) gave us a memorable performance, despite several of the top horses dropping out of the race. In the end, there may have not been a horse in the crop who could have beaten Code of Honor last Saturday after he put together the best performance of his career. After breaking cleanly, John Velazquez secured a perfect position in mid-pack along the rail, letting the horse get into a relaxing rhythm. On the turn, Code of Honor made a big move while racing widest coming into the stretch. From there, he continued with a furious rally, flying past front-runners Tacitus and Mucho Gusto to win the contest by 3 lengths and give trainer Shug McGaughey his fourth Travers win. The win puts Code of Honor near the top of the 3-year-old division with a couple of big races left for him to prove if he is indeed the best in the country.
The beast is back! Mitole’s performance in the Vanderbilt Handicap (G1) last time out was severely disappointing; however, he showed up better than ever last Saturday in a dominating Forego Stakes (G1) triumph. Right out of the gate, he broke with his mind on business, getting a solid outside position while pressing the pace-setting Promises Fulfilled. Turning for home, he found himself in front with ease before kicking clear of the closers for a dominating 3-length win. His final time of 1:20.80 was a Forego Stakes record. This big win puts him back in the discussion for Horse of the Year, but he’ll still need Bricks and Mortar to stub his toe at some point. Regardless, this is easily the top sprinter in the United States.
For the second straight year, the Personal Ensign Stakes (G1) was a race for the ages, and for the second straight year, Elate was on the narrow losing end of an epic duel. This time, it was Midnight Bisou who was able to pick up a major victory, winning the race by the slimmest of margins. Turning for home, Elate had the lead, but Midnight Bisou was making her move on the outside. In mid-stretch, the two superstar rivals were locked in a battle that continued all the way down the stretch. Midnight Bisou edged clear right at the wire, securing the win. She has now won an amazing six in a row and all but locked down Female Horse of the Year. The only thing left for her to do is win the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) to end a magnificent year.
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