by NYRA Press Release
August 23, 2017
Tapwrit (No. 4, 7-2 Morning-Line Favorite)
Always Dreaming (No. 7, 6-1 ML)
Trainer Todd Pletcher: "I'm not sure they [post positions] matter tremendously. I don't think we wanted to be way outside with either one of ours, so we're pretty happy with both.
On Always Dreaming: "We'll let him run to the first turn and see where that lands him. He's a horse who doesn't have to be on the lead but if he were to get there the right way, we wouldn't take it away.
"We've done a better job with him coming into this race. Honestly, I think we left him probably a little bit short for the Jim Dandy. I wasn't anticipating quite as demanding of a racetrack that it turned out to be at that time. We put four works in between the Preakness and the Jim Dandy. So, I think that race hopefully brings him forward, plus [he's had] two good works since then.
"It was a combination of a lot of things; just how slow the track was the first week of the meet and any times horses of that quality run 1:51-and-change, it indicates the track is pretty demanding. I think since then, it's tightened up. They've run the fastest mile-and-an-eighth they have so far at the meet yesterday, so I'm anticipating a different track on Saturday.
On Tapwrit: "Everyone was in agreement that the Travers was the race for him. We felt like if we ran in either the Jim Dandy or the Haskell, we'd leave a little something on the table that we wanted to save for the Travers. I think he's been training exceptionally well and has put in some good breezes and I feel good that we have him fit enough and fresh enough to fire his 'A' race."
West Coat (No. 3, 4-1 ML)
Jimmy Barnes, assistant to trainer Bob Baffert: "Going a mile and a quarter, No. 3 is fine. We were 1-2 last year. I think this horse really wants the distance. He looks like he wants the distance. He really doesn't have a lot of early speed, so [jockey] Mike [Smith] is going to have just play the break and put him in a comfortable position and he fires; he runs.
"We got in this afternoon and everything went very well. We left very early in the morning and got in not too late, around 3:30. He ships well. Shipping in to Belmont, same thing. He's a high-energy horse, and we're happy to be here. It should be a fun day.
"He's had plenty of time between races. In the Los Alamitos Derby he sat way off the pace and it's a long stretch there. He straightened out and [jockey] Drayden [Van Dyke] got him to the outside and he came firing home. I think he'll probably run similar to that, I would imagine.
"We try to keep everything the same and try not ot change much. Our shipping part of the game is really phenomenal. We win at a high percentage. It's all about keeping your horses happy and having them ready for that particular day. All three of the horses we brought shipped well and have had plenty of time between races."
Good Samaritan (No. 5, 5-1 ML)
Trainer Bill Mott: "I think we should be good. It seems like a good post for us. For us it really doesn't matter. I wasn't really concerned about the draw, but we're fine with that.
"You got horses from everywhere, all the best. You got the Derby winner, the Preakness winner, the Belmont; you've got everybody. It shaped up to be a really good field. So now, we've got to go out there and run our race. No issues at all. All is good up to this point."
Cloud Computing (No. 1, 8-1 ML)
Trainer Chad Brown: "We drew inside in the Preakness and it worked out. We're just looking to save some ground in this race. The track was very demanding [on Jim Dandy day]. This horse has never let us down in a workout or a race except that one day. [He was] very tired and just didn't come out of that race like we've normally seen. Since the race I've thought about the Travers a little bit, he's come back and worked great twice going to the [main] track and it's tightened up nicely and he's ready to run his race.
"This race is right at the top of the list [of ones I want to win]. Since I've began training if someone asked me what race I really want to win it's this one. My team feels the same way, and with a horse training as well as he is, it's hard to stay in the barn so we're going to run."
Girvin (No. 6, 10-1 ML)
Trainer Joe Sharp: "We couldn't be happier [with the post]. Obviously, 5-8 would be ideal and considering it's only a 12-horse field I think everybody has a pretty reasonable shot from any post.
"Coming to New York you're always nervous about adapting to a different surface. We're coming out of Kentucky and New Orleans which are stereotypically fast surfaces but he's really done well over the Oklahoma track and carried himself well over the main track, as well, so we're looking forward to it.
"He's past his issues and I think it was more the trip than anything that affected him in the Derby. He was doing well aside from some minor setbacks he had, but he's 100 percent."
McCraken (No. 9, 12-1 ML)
Trainer Ian Wilkes: "I have no problem [with the post position]. I don't think the distance will be a problem for him. I can make up a lot of excuses [in the Kentucky Derby]. He ran very good [in the Haskell]. We were pleased with him. He came out of that race going forward. I think he's on his game. I'm ready to run. The horse has such a fine turn of foot. Brian [Hernandez, Jr.] knows, and he knows what to do. I think the way the race set up and unfolded in the Haskell, he had to move. He made a great, long half-mile move. The horse can run a strong half mile."
Fayeq (half-brother to Hall of Fame mare Rachel Alexandra (No. 12, 30-1 ML)
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin: "I love the 12. He's had little issues at the gate but we're going to be last in and not be in there long. We wanted to have the speed inside of us and they're all inside of us, so hopefully it works out.
"We were talking about [the Travers] with this pedigree. He's going to be a graded stakes horse at some point. This might be a little soon in his schedule but we hope it's not too soon.
"I think there's 11 nice horses for us to try and beat. They're very nice horses, but we're doing well, we've won two in a row and we've won over the track. He's just doing great and with his pedigree, we wanted to give it a try."
Gunnevera (No. 11, 20-1 ML)
Trainer Antonio Sano: "I don't think the post is bad for my horse. My horse is a closer so it's good for my horse. [Jockey Edgard] Zayas is very quiet and very relaxed, so it's very good.
"My horse bled in the Preakness and he had never done that before. We gave him some rest and the time off for my horse did him very good. His comeback race he won very easily. This race, with 12 horses, is no easy race. It's a very solid race but my horse has a chance. My horse won here last year so we know he likes the track. We're very confident."
Giuseppe the Great (No. 2, 20-1 ML)
Trainer Nick ZIto: "As you can see he's a very consistent horse, hasn't let us down. That was a pretty big test for him: the Derby winner, the Preakness winner, obviously, he hung in there, so why not? [He] couldn't have had a better week - and couldn't have had a better week last week - so, that's what counts.
He's been doing very, very well since, I have to knock wood. He's very consistent. We saw what he could do in a race called the Jim Dandy, so that's pretty good.
Lookin At Lee (No. 8, 30-1 ML)
Scott Blasi, assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen: "It [the post] is great. With him, it really doesn't matter. It's fine."
Other entrants: Irap (No. 10, 8-1 ML, trained by Doug O'Neill).