Afleet Express - 2010 Travers Stakes (G1)

Galloping out after the oh-so-close finish of the Grade 1, $1 million Travers at Saratoga Race Course, jockeys Javier Castellano, aboard Afleet Express, and Jose Lezcano, riding Fly Down, looked questioningly at each other. "What do you think?" asked Lezcano. "Either way," replied Castellano. It took a photo to decide, and at the very end of the 1 ¼ miles it showed the Jimmy Jerkens-trained Afleet Express had gotten a sliver of a nostril in front of Nick Zito's late-running colt in one of the closest finishes in the 141 runnings of the Mid-Summer Derby. Cleverly ridden by Castellano, who tucked the son of Afleet Alex into the middle of the pack as Miner's Reserve led through fractions of 23.42, 47.25 and 1:11.39, Afleet Express began picking off rivals with a half-mile to go in the 1 ¼-mile race. Moving up along the inside on the far turn, Afleet Express swung out at the top of the lane into the lead even as Fly Down came barreling widest -- and fastest -- of all to hook up as they headed to the eighth pole. Battling saddlecloth-to-saddlecloth through the final 200 yards, with the crowd of 45764 on its feet, Afleet Express somehow managed to prevail by less than an inch, hitting the wire in 2:03.28. It was the ninth time the Travers had been decided by a nose, and the closest finish since Colonel John nipped Mambo in Seattle in 2008.

 

Tags: travers, stakes, afleet, express, nyra, horse, racing, james, jerkens, jaview, castellano, fly, down, first, dude

 



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