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Racing Dudes Three Stars Of The Week: Saratoga Hits A Home Run On Travers Day
Essential Quality after winning the Travers (Credit: NYRA / Janet Garaguso)

Racing Dudes Three Stars Of The Week: Saratoga Hits A Home Run On Travers Day

While Saratoga’s epic Travers Day card last Saturday had 3 Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” prep races on its slate, half the day’s events could have been actual Breeders’ Cup races with the amount of raw talent and mental capability of the thoroughbreds who competed.

It was ultra-tough deciding where to go, but here’s who we settled on for our Three Stars of the Week:

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1. Essential Quality

The legend of the big gray machine rolled to a new height Saturday when Essential Quality outdueled a game Midnight Bourbon to win the Travers Stakes (G1). The Brad Cox trainee became just the second horse in history (and first since 1969) to win the Travers, the Jim Dandy Stakes (G2), and the Belmont Stakes (G1). The 2020 Champion 2-Year-Old earned a career-best 107 Beyer Speed Figure for his latest triumph and will likely make 1 more start prior to the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Del Mar on November 7, though as of Sunday, Cox was unsure where that start would be. Regardless of where or when, he’s the clear-cut leader of the 3-year-old division and a front-runner for Horse of the Year.

2. Yaupon

Imagine running your heart out near the end of a race that you’re about to win when another runner comes alongside you, but instead of just passing you, he turns and tries to BITE you. That’s what the pacesetting Yaupon had to overcome when Firenze Fire attempted to savage him in deep stretch of the Forego Stakes (G1). Firenze Fire may have likely won had he not displayed those antics, but regardless of who was the better horse that day, this was a result that people still talk about days after. Yet another historic memory to add to the Saratoga library.

3. Letruska

They threw everything but the kitchen sink at Letruska throughout Saturday’s Personal Ensign Stakes (G1), yet the determined 5-year-old mare notched career win number 16 and her fourth straight this year. The impressive, gutsy effort was also her third straight score in a Win and You’re In for the Distaff; at this rate, it’s going to be a 3-horse field. The Spinster Stakes (G1) at Keeneland is her likely final prep before the World Championships.

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