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Travers Weekend Roundup

Hard Spun and Street Sense both stepped up to the plate this weekend and proved they could win in a situation where they were truly challenged. I was also pleased that I’d picked Shakis to win the Bernard Baruch and was a little surprised to see he returned as much as he did.

Despite somewhat low expectations for Travers weekend this year, I admit that Hard Spun and Street Sense both put in great efforts that were well worth watching. My cynicism was not entirely dispelled, though as I reflected that we will likely never get to see either horse really display their full potential — I would still love to see Hard Spun race on grass or consistently in dirt miles, and of course I’d like to see Street Sense in a real rivalry with his peers, not a one-off swan song at the Breeders’ Cup.

Street Sense did run an exciting race in the Travers; he may not have looked quite as beaten as Hard Spun did a few times, but Grasshopper certainly made him work for the win. One does hope that Grasshopper’s late emergence onto the scene means that we will see a lot more of him next year, since the prospect of continuous Street Sense/Curlin/Rags to Riches/Hard Spun face-offs at four will never happen — after all, someone’s got to get to work as a stud to make up for all the money that Darley and Coolmore are currently losing in Australia with everyone (Elusive Quality, Bernardini, Holy Roman Emperor et al.) in quarantine. Of course, there’s always the possibility that The Green Monkey will blow away everyone in some allowance race at Belmont this fall that indicates he is a true champion who must be retired at once to preserve his bloodline — would that let someone else off the hook?

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