Ticker
  • Untapable heads a field of nine in the $1 million Cotillion. Posted 12 hours ago
  • California Chrome draws the rail for the Pennsylvania Derby. Posted 12 hours ago
  • Sheikhzayedroad scoots up the rail for the Northern Dancer victory! Posted 2 days ago
  • Baltic Baroness wins the Prix Vermeille; Treve a disappointing 4th. Posted 2 days ago
  • Suntracer cashes in the Kentucky Turf Cup! Posted 3 days ago
  • Conquest Typhoon much the best in the Summer! Posted 3 days ago
  • Ball Dancing beats her stablemate to the wire in the Sands Point! Posted 3 days ago
  • 1st time Lasix and the U.S., Annecdote romps in the Noble Damsel! Posted 3 days ago
  • Conquest Harlanate rolls late in the Natalma! Posted 3 days ago
  • There will be a carryover of $59,132 when racing resumes Saturday at Los Alamitos.Posted 3 days ago
HRN Original Blog:
Saratoga Journal with Bill Heller

Tuesday, August 23rd - My Favorite Travers #4

10 August 28: Afleet Express (no. 7), ridden by Javier Castellano and trained by James Jerkens, wins the 141st running of the grade 1 Travers Stakes for three year olds at Saratoga Race Track in Saratoga Springs, New York.
No. 4 – 1994 – Holy Bull Has Cause for Concern
 

Saratoga’s reputation as “The Graveyard of Champions” is well-documented and the list seems to grow almost every couple years. But not every odds-on champion who races here goes down. Not when they simply refuse to lose.

 

Holy Bull arrived at Saratoga with a career record of 10 victories from 12 starts, the lone setback a sixth in the Fountain of Youth, and a 12th as the 2-1 favorite in the Kentucky Derby. Those two races were the only ones Holy Bull didn’t make the lead under Mike Smith, who rode Holy Bull in all but the first of his 16 career starts.

 

After the Derby, Holy Bull ripped off wins in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap against older horses by 5 ½ lengths, an even easier triumph in the Grade 2 Dwyer Stakes and a 1 ¾-length victory in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational. He would go off the 4-5 favorite in the field of just five in the Travers.

 

His four opponents included the late-running Arkansas Derby winner Concern and Preakness Stakes winner Tabasco Cat. Concern and Tabasco Cat would subsequently finish first and second that same year in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. To help Tabasco Cat’s chances, trainer D. Wayne Lukas entered a rabbit, Comanche Trail.

 

Holy Bull obviously had more class, but, given Holy Bull’s failure in the Kentucky Derby, the question lingered. Can he win at a mile and a quarter?

 

Comanche Trail did his job, sprinting past Holy Bull by a head through a torrid opening quarter of :22 4/5. Holy Bull responded immediately, but had to race a half mile in :46 1/5 to put away the rabbit. Then Holy Bull opened up a four-length lead through three-quarters of a mile in 1:10 2/5. And Jerry Bailey, riding Concern was getting his late-runner into gear.

 

They hit the head of the stretch with Holy Bull ahead by a length and a quarter after a mile in 1:35 4/5. Announcer Tom Durkin added to the drama with his call that Holy Bull led, “but there is cause for concern.”

 

At the sixteenth pole, Holy Bull was obviously giving everything he had, but his margin on Concern was shrinking. But not completely. Holy Bull held on by a neck. There was a chasm of 17 lengths back to Tabasco Cat in third.

 

Holy Bull made just one start after the Travers, whipping his elders by five lengths in the Grade 1 Woodward Stakes, cementing not only the three-year-old championship, but Horse of the Year honors as well. Concern showed his immense talent by capturing the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Nobody will forget the afternoon they met in the Mid-Summer Derby.


 

***************
 
(Check out Bill Heller’s new books at www.billhellerbooks.com 
 

 

comments powered by Disqus

Older Comments about Tuesday, August 23rd - My Favorite Travers #4...

I was there for that race. The call by Tom Durkin is indicative of my user name. It was a great moment, and I had been on Concern since he won the Arkansas Derby at long odds. I was glad to witness a race for the ages.
Holy Bull won a lot of races for fun, but this was the one that proved he had heart.

Categories

Meet Bill Heller
 
Multiple national award-winner Bill Heller, a member of the Harness Racing Hall of Fame Communicators Corner, has written 23 books including the biographies of Hall of Fame jockeys Ronnie Turcotte, Randy Romero, Jose Santos; Harness Hall of Fame legend Billy Haughton and NBA Coach Bill Musselman. His other books include “A Good Day Has No Rain,” documenting the radioactive fallout in the Capital District of New York State from an atom bomb test; “After the Finish Line; The Race to End Horse Slaughter in America,” and “Playing Tall, the Ten Shortest Players in NBA History.” Bill was presented the 1997 Eclipse Award for magazine writing about Thoroughbred racing; the William Leggett Breeders’ Cup Writing Award and three John Hervey Awards for magazine writing about harness racing.  

Bill is a regular contributor to Trainer Magazine and Canadian Sportswriter, while also serving as the Thoroughbred handicapper for the Daily Gazette in Schenectady, New York.