Colonel John wins Travers
Favorite Pyro finishes third
Colonel John edged Mambo in Seattle in a photo finish yesterday to win the $1 million Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Ridden by Garrett Gomez, Colonel John ran 1 1/4 miles in 2:03.20 and earned $600,000 for WinStar Farm. The Eoin Harty-trained horse paid $10.40, $5.40, and $4.30. Colonel John had not won a race since taking the Santa Anita Derby in April, and finished sixth in the Kentucky Derby.
Colonel John was caught in heavy traffic as the field turned into the stretch but bulled his way through a narrow seam between horses, which put him in a clear path for a hard-fought stretch drive.
"Tizbig had to stop for me to get room," Gomez said, "and when I came out [Colonel John] had to come over the heels of another horse.
"He definitely showed his athleticism today."
Mambo in Seattle, ridden by Robby Albarado, paid $6.30 and $5.10. Pyro, the favorite in the 139th running of the Travers, finished third in the race for 3-year-olds with Shaun Bridgmohan riding and paid $3.70.
At the wire, Albarado raised his whip in triumph, only to have the finish photograph determine that Colonel John had won by inches.
Harty said he never lost confidence in his horse. "Even with the trip he had in the Kentucky Derby, I don't know if we would have beaten Big Brown that day. I'd certainly like to take him on again; maybe in the Breeders' Cup."
In other races, Visionaire won the $250,000 King's Bishop Stakes for 3-year-olds by 2 1/4 lengths to give jockey Alan Garcia his fifth win of the day. The Michael Matz-trained colt ran 7 furlongs in 1:21.94 and earned $150,000. He paid $15.60, $7.60, and $4.60.
Shakis, also ridden by Garcia, rallied to overtake War Monger and win the $200,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap by three-quarters of a length. He earned $120,000 for Shadwell Stable. He paid $14.80, $8.40, and $6.20.
Porte Bonheur, ridden by Ramon Dominguez, upset heavily favored Indyanne, ending her undefeated streak at four, in the 6-furlong, $110,100 Victory Ride Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. The Paul Duggan-trained filly ran in 1:09.51 and earned $60,060 for owner Joanna Murphy-Leopoldberger. She paid $24.60, $5.80, and $3.20
Suffolk Downs - Anofficerandalady won the $50,000 Mom's Command Stakes at Suffolk Downs by 3 lengths.
Ridden by David Aramis, the 4-year-old daughter of Officer stalked favorites Sophie's Salad and Stylish Wildcat as they dueled through the first half-mile before pulling away for her second career stakes victory.
Anofficerandalady paid $8.60, $5.60, and $3. British Event made a late run to get second and returned $8.80 and 4.60, and 25-1 shot Le Cordon paid $9.40.
Rockingham Park - Golden Mattjesty and Who Dey set a track record when they crossed under the wire in 1:52.3 to dead heat for the win in the New England Harness Writers Hall of Fame Race at Rockingham Park in Salem, N.H.
Driven by David Ingraham, Golden Mattjesty, and Who Dey, driven by Richard Wojcio, took more than two full seconds off the record of 1:54.4 for a pacing dead heat.