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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Has the Travers Jumped the Shark?

The Saratoga Resident and I were walking through the backyard on Saturday afternoon when he turned to me and asked "Do you think the Travers has jumped the shark?" What he really meant to ask was, "Has the Haskell overtaken the Travers as the premier 3yo race of the summer?"

Now I am a relative newbie to these types of things so don't crucify me for bringing it up, but if you look at the past few years of races, you can make an argument that the top notch horses have entered the Haskell, as opposed to the Travers. Case in point, Rachel Alexandra, Big Brown and Curlin are three that come to mind in the last three years. The Travers seems to always fall on the odd weekend, wherein the Haskell seems to fit perfectly four weeks after the Belmont and seven weeks after the Preakness. The attendance this year at the Travers was 34,000 under rainy conditions, wherein the Haskell drew 38,000 under monsoon conditions. To say the least, 34,000 had to be a major disappointment for NYRA on its biggest racing day of the summer. I'm not sure why the big name horses have skipped the Travers, or maybe Monmouth just does a better job luring them to the Shore. I don't know, but I sure hope NYRA does a better job in the future recruiting the premier horses to the Travers.

They missed a golden opportunity to showcase the three triple crown race winners last Saturday on national television, which would have been truly special. Of course, Mine That Bird's situation was out of their control, but I just can't get all that excited about Rachel running against older males in the Woodward, history or not. College football takes over on Saturday in the mainstream, opportunity lost if you ask me. Anyways, I just throw it out there as food for thought.

2 Comments:

dana said...

I was thinking about that too during Haskell weekend. My guess is that Monmouth is just doing a better job of luring talent and good for them, but I agree, I wish NYRA would get on the stick. It would be a shame to see the Travers become less relevant.

On another note, I'm totally excited about seeing Rachel in the Woodward (from the comfort of my home) although I would have to agree that from an overall marketing standpoint it was a lost opportunity. I would have made the same move though.

Ernie said...

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