This week should be a very exciting time for thoroughbred fans, but some of the luster is gone from the Travers Stakes, also known as the “Mid-Summer Derby”, as yet another top colt in the division has retired. The race usually features the best of the best in the three-year-old division, but 2012 has been tough on its biggest stars. Already this season, we have seen Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner I’ll Have Another retired, along with Belmont champion, Union Rags. Now, two more prominent colts are going to be retired. Bodemeister, the speedster who finished just behind I’ll Have Another in the first two legs of the Triple Crown, was taken to Lexington, Kentucky for a complete evaluation and was found to have a major injury to a shoulder muscle. Bodemeister is expected to rehabilitate the shoulder in expectation of a breeding career. Just three days before the Travers Stakes, two-year-old champion and Eclipse winner Hansen was pulled due to a tendon injury and his owner, Dr. Kendall Hansen, revealed that the white colt will be retired. Hansen concludes his career having won three graded stakes races, including the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
Frankel continues to wow European race fans, as he stepped up in distance to run over a mile for the first time in his career. In the 1 5/16 mile Juddmonte International, Frankel faced top notch competition, but once again was able to prove that he doesn’t have an equal. The colt continues to remain unbeaten in a 13 race career and is likely to have only one more contest in front of him, before he retires to what will certainly be a lucrative breeding career.
Early August marked the return of the 2011 Eclipse Award winning filly, My Miss Aurelia. She hasn’t been able to race since last year’s Breeders Cup due to a shin injury, but she came back strong, winning the $100,000 Mandy’s Gold Stakes at Saratoga.
Alpha is the early favorite for the Grade I, $1 million Travers Stakes to take place this weekend at Saratoga Race Course. Alpha is one of only four graded stakes winners in the 11 horse field. He most recently won the Jim Dandy Stakes and will start out of the 6th position on Saturday. The early odds for the Kiaran McLaughlin trained Alpha is at 5-2, with Nonios at 4-1 and Street Life at 5-1 rounding out the top three favorites.