Caracaro has connections Derby dreaming ahead of Travers

Caracaro has connections Derby dreaming ahead of Travers
Photo: Courtesy of Gulfstream Park

Caracaro has alternated wins and losses in his brief career, and trainer Gustavo Delgado is hoping that pattern continues as he points the lightly raced colt to Saturday's Grade 1, $1 million Travers.

Caracaro ran second in his unveiling last December at Gulfstream Park, returning to the South Florida track with an impressive six-length maiden triumph four weeks later. He exited that race with a minor injury that needed time, and he went unraced until finishing second by a neck to fellow Travers aspirant Country Grammer in the Peter Pan (G2) on Saratoga's opening day July 16.

For the first time this year, the Travers will offer 100-40-20-10 qualifying points to the Kentucky Derby, postponed from May 2 to Sept. 5. Caracaro earned 20 points for his Peter Pan effort, and Delgado is looking to ensure the son of champion Uncle Mo's spot in the Run for the Roses.

"We have the chance to run in the Derby. He came here to win," Delgado said. "It's only three weeks back from the Peter Pan, but we have to take the chance. The horse is doing very good. He came back very good, and he likes the track. The horse is very talented, but we need to have good luck."

Delgado's 31-year-old son and assistant, Gustavo Delgado Jr., has been with Caracaro since they arrived in Saratoga from South Florida last month. His father, one of Venezuela's most successful trainers who won his country's Triple Crown a remarkable four times before moving to the U.S. in 2014, joined him this week.

Delgado Jr. said the turnaround from the Peter Pan to the Travers is a concern, particularly with their main goal, the Derby, looming in another four weeks. The final leg of the Triple Crown, the Preakness, will be run Oct. 3 at Pimlico Race Course.

"He's doing really good, actually. After the last race we were concerned about running him back after three weeks, but we went easy on him. We only made him gallop," Delgado Jr. said. "We did a couple open gallops, nothing with time, and he seems to have accepted that. I think he's ready to run a nice race. We like what we see. The last couple of days he's doing really good. We always wanted to get the points. The horse is good, we're here in Saratoga and he likes the track, so let's do it."

Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano, aboard in the Peter Pan, gets the return call in the 1 1/4-mile Travers, a race the fellow Venezuelan has won a record six times, most recently with Catholic Boy in 2018. They will break from post 7 in a field of eight led by even-money program favorite Tiz the Law.

The Delgados were entered to run once before in the Travers, but Majesto had to be scratched after spiking a fever the morning before the 2016 race. They have been to the Derby twice, running 18th with Majesto and 13th with Bodexpress in 2019, and are looking forward to making a third trip.

"The only good thing about the virus is that we have a shot now to make the Derby," Delgado said. "Since he got in the barn last year, we always considered him a nice horse. We're not a big barn where we get a quantity of nice babies every year. We went to the Derby with Majesto and Bodexpress, and you can tell this horse is doing things that the other two didn't do. He's in another category than them."

2020 Travers Stakes (G1)

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