2009 Travers Stakes Results, Recap and Payoffs

2009 Travers Stakes Results, Recap and Payoffs
by Kenneth Strong of Predictem.com

Summer Bird flies home to win 2009 Travers Stakes with something left, Favorite Quality Road finishes tired third

August 29, 2009 - Summer Bird flew to the lead turning for home in the 140th running of the Travers Stakes at Saratoga on Saturday and never looked back, leaving tired 3/2 favorite Quality Road in his wake and winning by 3 -lengths over 17-1 longshot Hold Me Back.

He had something left at the wire.

Pressing 3-4 wide on the sloppy track just back of fractions of 23.19, 46.88 and 1:11.12, Summer Bird moved to challenge leader Kensei late on the final turn, disposed of that one quickly and opened up into the stretch, getting the mile 1:36.61. When jockey Kent Desormeaux asked Summer Bird for more he responded to open up a couple more lengths in mid stretch, but nearing the wire it was clear he wouldnt need any more. The job was done, and he had at least three more lengths in the tank if needed. The final time for the mile and a quarter was 2:02.83. Summer Bird paid $7.80 $4.30 $2.70 as the second choice in the wagering.

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Hold Me Back, who trailed for most of the race, advanced wide on the final turn and rallied past all those who had taken their shots at the winner from early to mid stretch, including favorite Quality Road. The latter tracked pacesetter Our Edge from just back and inside, moved off the rail to go by that one when he stopped early on the final turn and found himself in striking position just back of new leader Kensei late on the final turn as Summer Bird was making his move outside Kensei and inside Warriors Reward.

Quality Road came into the stretch just back of Summer Bird and between Kensei and Warriors Reward. He managed to shake those two rivals by mid stretch but the winner was already gone. Quality Road had little left for the final sixteenth, tiring to finish 1 -lengths behind Hold Me Back and 2 -lengths in front of Charitable Man, who came from the back to make an inside bid for the place to mid stretch before tiring to finish fourth. Warriors Road ended up fifth, 3 -lengths back of Charitable Man, and it was a surprising 14 -lengths further back to a very tired Kensei in sixth. Pacesetter Our Edge, who had given way to Kensei early on the turn for home, was eased in the stretch.

Considering that Quality Road was making only his second start off a four-month layoff he actually ran very well. His class showed up in the drive, allowing him to shake fitter horses, but it was clear he was just plain tired in the final sixteenth. If he has truly overcome his earlier quarter crack problems we can expect him to move forward in his next start, but that might not be good enough to beat the improving Summer Bird, who now has to be considered the leading candidate for the Eclipse Award in the 3-year-old male division.

Trained by Tim Ice, the Belmont Stakes winner was winning the second stakes of his career in the Travers and improving his lifetime record to 3-1-1 from seven starts for earnings of $1,573,040. Summer Bird had numerous angles going for him heading into the Travers (all mentioned here on Predictem.com before the race), including a running-style change and a big effort against superstar filly Rachel Alexandra in his previous start, the Haskell Invitational.

By 2004 Belmont Stakes winner Birdstone out of Hong Kong Squall by 1990 Preakness Stakes winner Summer Squall, we have a feeling we may not have seen the best of Summer Bird quite yet.

2009 Travers Stakes Results and Payoffs

6 Summer Bird $7.80 to win, $4.30 to place $2.70 to show.

1 Hold Me Back $12.40 to place, $5.30 to show

4 Quality Road $2.50 to show

$2 Exacta 6-1 paid $115.50

$2 Trifecta 6-1-4 paid $343.50

$2 Superfecta 6-1-4-2 paid $1,139.00

$2 Pick 3 1-3-6 paid $276.00

$2 Pick 4 8-1-3-6 paid $8,546

$2 Daily Double 3-6 paid $39.20