That is what we have in front of us on both coasts this coming Saturday in the world of horse racing. Two of the summers biggest events will be taking place on the same day. First, the "Midsummer Derby", the Grade 1 $1,000,000 Travers Stakes will be taking place at Saratoga. It is one of five graded stakes on the Saturday Saratoga program and one of three Grade 1 races. Post time for that race is expected to be around 5:45 PM eastern time. Second, the Grade 1 $1,000,000 Pacific Classic will take place at Del Mar with a field of ten going postward in the highlight race of the Del Mar meeting. Post time for that race is expected to be 7:30 PM eastern time.
The Travers will feature this year's Kentucky Derby winner, Super Saver, and his Kentucky Derby winning rider, Calvin Borel, breaking from the far outside post position. The Derby winner will be listed at 6-1 on the morning line for the Travers. That is not too far out of the realm of reality since (like Mine That Bird in 2009) Super Saver has not won since his Derby score. The runner-up in the 2010 Derby, Nick Zito's Ice Box, is 10-1 on the morning line for the Travers. Again, no shocker there since he has not been able to recapture the form that led up to his Derby runner-up run. The actual shocker in the Travers might be the identity of the favorite at 7-2, A Little Warm. Granted, he won the Grade 2 Jim Dandy earlier this season at The Spa, which is the natural prep for the Travers, but hasn't he kind of come out of nowhere to suddenly be the top choice in this race. I would have thought that Trappe Shot might have been the morning line choice, given his second to current three-year-old king, Lookin At Lucky, in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational earlier this summer at Monmouth Park.
The Pacific Classic drew a field of ten with the morning line choice being, The Usual Q.T., who drew the outside post in that field of ten. The 2009 winner of the Classic, Richard's Kid, is 7-2 for trainer Bob Baffert. It is my opinion that the most interesting horse in the field will be breaking from the rail. Battle Of Hastings usually excels in tries on the turf. However, his connections are stepping up to run with the big boys of the West Coast here and do it on the polytrack synthetic surface at Del Mar. Brice Blanc has the ride and the horse is 10-1 on the morning line. Could he be the value horse of the bunch? Hold Me Back, who seemed to have the role of "wiseguy" horse for the 2009 Kentucky Derby is in the field at 8-1. For those of you who are fans of Neil Finn, Crowded House will be 20-1 on the morning line.
I am not sure I can ever recall a year in which the two biggest racetracks of the summer ran their single biggest races of the summer on the same day. Whatever the reason for it, I certainly won't be complaining because it promises to be a fabulous day of racing on both coasts.
Tune in tomorrow for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!