Letruska set to take center stage on Travers Day in Personal Ensign

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SARATOGA SPRINGS – A week from today is Traverse Day at Saratoga Racecourse. As the $ 1.25 million Category I Summer Derby is the Spa’s annual summer centerpiece, there will be plenty more reasons to make the Spa your last destination. Saturday in August.

Seven graduated stakes races will be held on Travers Day, including six Grade I. Among the horses, in addition to the essential grade preferred in Travers, which will be on display are known names such as Life Is Good, Swiss Skydiver, Jackie’s Warrior , Gamine and Whitmore.

And then there is Letruska. The 5 year old mare, who will race in Class I, $ 600,000, Personal Ensign is considered by many to be the best horse in training. She has won four of five starts this year, all ranked by stakes. Two of them were Grade I. Letruska’s style is pretty straightforward: take the lead and challenge anyone to catch him.

Lately, no one has been able to.

Coach Fausto Gutierrez brings him to Saratoga for the second summer in a row. Last year Letruska won the Grade III Shuvee after finishing fifth in the Grade I Ballerina. This will be Letruska’s first start since winning the Grade II Fleur de Lis Stakes at Churchill Downs on June 26. The ultimate goal for the mare is the Breeders’ Cup, but Gutierrez has not decided which race she will participate in.


The $ 6 million Classic is not excluded. First and foremost, however, is the personal sign.

“I think we have an obligation to run here,” Gutierrez said on Friday morning before watching Letruska run around the main track accompanied by a pony. “She’s the best horse in the division and the race is prestigious. Saratoga is Saratoga.”

The Travers field is getting organized

It looks like a party of seven will be competing in the 1 1/4 mile Travers.

Jim Dandy’s winner, Essential Quality, will be the favorite for the Midsummer Derby and will be challenged by Keepmeinmind, who finished second in Jim Dandy, Masqueparade, who finished third, Dynamic One and Miles D, the top two at Curlin, Midnight Bourbon, who fell halfway through the Haskell at Monmouth Park but was uninjured, and King Fury, who finished 10th on grass in the Saratoga Derby on August 7.

Two other horses have been nominated for the race but their relations say they will not race. Todd Pletcher, who coaches Dynamic One, said Bourbonic, Wood Memorial winner, third in the Class III West Virginia Derby on August 7, will not try the Travers. Jimmy Jerkens, who coaches Weyburn, the fourth in the Jim Dandy, has announced that he will send his colt to the Pennsylvania Derby in Parx on September 25.

“After the way he ran (in the Jim Dandy) we would probably be stretching him a mile and a quarter in the Travers,” Jerkens said in his barn on Friday.

The draw for the Travers will take place on Wednesday morning.

The Skidmore

When the seventh race of the $ 120,000 Skidmore moved from Mellon’s turf course to the main track on Friday, it was bad news for eight 2-year-olds. This is because the filly, Averly Jane, was only going to run if the race was on clay.

She played with the seven foals and one filly who tried her out in the 5 1/2 stage race. Ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, Averly Jane went undefeated after three starts with a dominant win of 7 1/4. She has won all of her starts by a total of 19 1/4 lengths.

“She’s a nice filly,” said trainer Wesley Ward. “We were going back and forth with the Spinaway (Grade I, $ 300,000). We were seriously thinking about it, but I was questioning my ability to coach a licensee in the seven eighths.”

Instead of running the closing weekend in the Spinaway, Ward will likely take Averly Jane to Keeneland in Lexington, Ky., For the Grade I Alcibades on October 8.

Averly Jane, the 8-5 favorite, was clocked in 1: 03.79 and paid $ 5.20, $ 3.90 and $ 2.70. Pure Panic finished second for head coach Mike Maker and head rider Luis Saez and Overbore, also coached by Ward and ridden by Joel Rosario, finished third.


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