Masqueparade

Champ Tops 'Quality' Travers Field

Eclipse winner Essential Quality (Tapit) headlines a strong field of seven in Saratoga's prestigious GI Runhappy Travers S. Saturday evening. Should he succeed he would be the second colt in as many as years to complete the GI Belmont S./Travers double and the first juvenile champion to take the Midsummer Derby since Street Sense won the 2007 renewal. Opening his sophomore account with wins in the GIII Southwest S. Feb. 27 and GII Toyota Bluegrass S. Apr. 3, the Godolphin homebred was fourth as the favorite in the GI Kentucky...

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Masqueparade Adds NOLA Flavor to Travers

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY--There's more than a casual connection between New Orleans, Masqueparade (Upstart) and Saratoga Race Course, where the colt will run Saturday in the $1.25-million GI Runhappy Travers. Trained by New Orleans native Al Stall for a group of New Orleans businessmen and pals headed by Wilbur "Bill" Babin called FTGGG Racing and whose name references the masks worn during the city's signature Mardi Gras festivities, Masqueparade was purchased with Saratoga in mind. Babin made his first visit to Saratoga in 2003; has come for the entire meet since...

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Essential Quality Leads Runhappy Travers Breezers

It was a busy morning at Saratoga for 3-year-olds headed towards next Saturday's $1.25-million GI Runhappy Travers S. at Saratoga, headed by GI Belmont S. hero and reigning champion juvenile Essential Quality (Tapit). The 'TDN Rising Star,' ridden by leading jockey Luis Saez, worked outside of stablemate Bonny South (Munnings) and the duo covered five furlongs in 1:01.58 (10/18). The Godolphin homebred was caught in fractions of :11.40, :23.22 and :47.81 before galloping out three-quarters of a mile in 1:15 flat. Juddmonte's enigmatic Bonny South is also scheduled to race...

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Essential Quality Lays Over Rivals in Jim Dandy

As the leader in a contentious 3-year-old division, all eyes will be on Godolphin's champion Essential Quality (Tapit) Saturday at Saratoga, but the race itself may lack for drama, as the gray lays over his five rivals in the GII Jim Dandy S., the Spa's traditional prep for the Aug. 28 GI Runhappy Travers S. Then again, stranger things have happened at the "Graveyard of Favorites". Sewing up his Eclipse Award as the top 2-year-old male via a three-for-three campaign that culminated with a score in the GI TVG Breeders'...

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Masqueparade Preps for Jim Dandy

FTGGG Racing's graded stakes-winner Masqueparade (Upstart) breezed a half-mile in :47.59 in company over a fast main track Friday in preparation for Saratoga's GII Jim Dandy S. July 31. The bay enters this year's Jim Dandy off a trio of wins for trainer Al Stall, Jr., including the GIII Ohio Derby most recently June 26. "We're happy with the breeze. He's right on track," Stall, Jr. said. "We'll give him a chance to see how far he can take his talent. We were patient getting to where we got to...

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Spa Notebook: Maxfield Breezes Towards Whitney

Godolphin's once-beaten Maxfield (Street Sense), the impressive 3 1/4-length winner of Churchill's GII Stephen Foster S. when last seen June 26, tuned up for his next appearance in the Aug. 7 GI Whitney S. with a half-mile breeze over the Oklahoma training track Friday morning that was timed in :49.09 (14/46). Working in the company of stablemate Longpants Required (New Year's Day), the son of Velvety (Bernardini) covered his first two furlongs in :25.3 and was out five-eighths of a mile in 1:01.1 according to NYRA clockers. "I just wanted...

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Two Fresh Forces For The Next Cycle

Every year, like the fireflies, they emerge with the gathering heat of summer. Even as the more established sophomores hobble out of the Triple Crown series--many requiring rest or recuperation, some even menaced by retirement--a second wave reliably reinvigorates the crop. Sure enough, in recent days a couple of new names have volunteered themselves to test the resilience of those Classic protagonists who do persevere to Saratoga and beyond. But while both share a fresh, progressive profile, in other respects they could scarcely be more different. 'TDN Rising Star' First...

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This Side Up: Fostering a Sense of Legacy

Ours is the most nostalgic of sports, sustained by trusted cycles. And if the calendar pauses somewhat, between the end of the Triple Crown and the renewal of beloved summer rituals at Saratoga and Del Mar, that won't preclude an evocative resonance in some of the things we can enjoy Saturday. True, the idea that Letruska (Super Saver) is any kind of throwback, just because she is managing a second start in three weeks, is a measure of how effete the modern Thoroughbred has become. I've drawn attention previously to...

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