Game Winner on Track for Travers


Game Winner | Benoit

Gary and Mary West's Game Winner (Candy Ride {Arg}) exited his effortless win in Saturday's four-horse GIII Los Alamitos Derby in fine shape and remains on target for the Aug. 24 GI Runhappy Travers S.

“We were lucky the race even ran, but he's been really well,” trainer Bob Baffert said of Game Winner's Los Alamitos Derby effort. “I expected a big race out of him and a real positive race. He went along there with the blinkers and when he asked him to go, he took off that last eighth of a mile. He got something out of it and we're happy with that. We did the same thing with West Coast and took the same route.”

The Wests and Baffert teamed up with West Coast (Flatter) to win the Travers two years ago en route to earning the 3-year-old championship.

Game Winner capped an unbeaten championship 2-year-old season with a win in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile. He was second in both the Mar. 16 GII Rebel S. and Apr. 6 GI Santa Anita Derby and had been off since finishing sixth in the GI Kentucky Derby.

Another Baffert trainee with a Saratoga assignment is McKinzie (Street Sense), who is expected to start in the Aug. 3 GI Whitney S. The 4-year-old was a troubled second in the June 8 GI Runhappy Metropolitan H. last time out.

“He just had a little tough spin there on the inside, but we put that behind us. It's on to Cincinnati, as Belichick would say,” Baffert quipped. “I was always really high on him as a 2-year-old. He was immature, but now he's starting to put it together. I don't think distance will be a problem. He just has to be ridden the right way and I think that [jockey] Mike [Smith] has him figured out now.”

In other Saratoga news, GI Kentucky Oaks winner Serengeti Empress (Alternation) worked four furlongs in :47.69 (9/90) over the main track Sunday in preparation for the Aug. 3 GI Longines Test S.

“Serengeti Empress had a very good workout today,” trainer Tom Amoss said. “It was her first time over the Saratoga course. We went right after the break, which is a very busy time and there was a lot of traffic throughout her workout. She handled it fine and she was a pro when it comes to that, so I was very happy with how she did.”

Serengeti Empress was most recently second behind Guarana (Ghostzapper) in the June 8 GI Acorn S. at Belmont Park.

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