Cox: Owendale 'on top of his game' for the Travers Stakes

NYRA Press Office
August 18, 2019 03:30pm
Trainer Brad Cox confirmed Sunday that Rupp Racing's Owendale is on target for Saturday's Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers Stakes after his four-furlong workout at Churchill Downs in 48.80 seconds a day prior. The 3-year-old son of Into Mischief will arrive at Saratoga on Tuesday.

"Our horse is doing really well," Cox said. "He breezed great yesterday at Churchill and galloped out well and looked great this morning. He is coming into the race as well as we could ask or expect. He's on top of his game. He will gallop out on the track Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday."

Owendale has won two of his last three starts with the Ohio Derby (G3) at Thistledown his most-recent effort on June 22. Owendale made a nice off-the-pace move to beat Math Wizard by a half-length, but Cox suggested his colt wasn't at his best.

"It was a good effort at a mile and an eighth," Cox said. "I think he might have struggled a little bit with the track and Florent (Geroux) thought the same thing. But he got the job done."

Cox originally had not considered the Travers for Owendale, who has won 4-of-10 races while earning $668,725 in a career that includes a victory in Keeneland's Lexington (G3) and a third in the Preakness Stakes.

"The more we thought about it, the more we thought this," he said. "There is a bigger purse. It is a more prestigious race. It is a mile and a quarter. He runs like he is a mile and a quarter horse. If it is a good set up, it is possible. The numbers suggest our horse is a bit fast or just as fast any of these. If he can run his Preakness race or the Lexington race, he is going to be in the mix."

After the horse's two solid races at Fair Grounds over the winter, Cox thought Owendale could be a candidate for the Triple Crown trail. Connections entered him in the Risen Star (G2) to sub-par results, finishing eighth.

"We thought he was horse who would get better with time," Cox said. "Over the winter, he was training really well and we did a lot with him. He ran really well and beat a good group of horses. Then we went right back with him in the Risen Star and we were doing too much with him too quickly.

"Obviously, we were chasing the Derby dream. He was a touch light and we were asking a lot of him. We slowed down with him and took a deep breath."

Cox said Owendale is coming into the Travers as he did for top performances in the Lexington and the Preakness.

"We expected a big effort out of him in the Preakness," Cox said. "He's a horse who appreciates time in between starts. Probably his best race this year has been the Lexington. He had time between the Risen Star and the Lexington."


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