Coil On Track For Travers
Sharp work puts Coil on track for Travers
COIL (Point Given) had been on the fence for Saturday's $1 million Travers (G1), but a half-mile work on Tuesday morning at Saratoga Race Course appeared enough to persuade Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert to send him to the 'Midsummer Derby.'
'Coil, if he looks great tomorrow, he is definitely running in the Travers,' Baffert declared after the work.
The Haskell Invitational (G1) winner sped in :46, the fastest of 32 moves at the distance.
Coil was sent out immediately after the renovation break on the main track in company with stablemate and West Virginia Derby (G2) winner PRAYER FOR RELIEF (Jump Start), who is also under consideration for the 1 1/4-mile Travers. Stepping onto the oval shortly after 8:45 a.m. (ET), the duo jogged counterclockwise past the finish line before picking up the pace on the backside.
Prayer for Relief broke off ahead of his stablemate, but Coil easily drew on even terms and finished in front. He was clocked galloping out five furlongs in :58 2/5 under jockey Martin Garcia.
'I liked his work today,' Baffert said. 'He showed a lot of energy going to the pole. Martin said he hasn't felt that great in a while. I was looking for something like that.
'Prayer for Relief is a really nice horse and he gave him a big head start, and (Coil) came to him the way he usually does like he's not moving. I can't believe he worked as fast he did, but he's just a really good horse. So right now, all systems go.'
Coil, who scratched his right eyeball last week, breezed with a protective cup shielding that eye from dirt and debris.
'I was having a little problem with the eyeball, but I worked him with a protective cup that he could see through and I'm glad I did because he had a lot of mud on it,' Baffert noted. 'He came back and it looks like he's cooling off like it wasn't really hard on him. The last few times we've worked him here he's come back here and wanted to step on his tongue coming off the track because it was really deep. But the track was pretty fast today, (NYRA) had it in great shape.'
Owned by Mike Pegram and Karl Watson, Coil is a son of 2001 Preakness (G1), Belmont S. (G1), Haskell and Travers winner Point Given, whom Baffert also trained.
'Point Given had more of a foundation,' Baffert said. 'This horse doesn't have that foundation. He is doing things right now because of raw talent. He is fast, and he is rateable. It's not like he is one dimensional. I am happy the way he looked. It looked like he was just cruising. That's what really good horses do.'
Among others, Coil is expected to meet Preakness winner and Haskell runner-up SHACKLEFORD (Forestry), as well as Jim Dandy (G2) winner and Belmont runner-up STAY THIRSTY (Bernardini), in the Travers.
'Stay Thirsty, his last two races have been really big races,' Baffert said. 'The Belmont he ran great and the Jim Dandy, too. He is the horse to beat. Shackleford always shows up. And the other horses I really don't know that much about. I think that if your horse is doing well you have to give him a chance to run in the Travers, it is such a prestigious race. His daddy (Point Given) won it, I don't know why he can't.'
Baffert did not rule out the possibility of a Travers start for Prayer for Relief, who was clocked in :47 1/5.
'I have until tomorrow (to decide what to do with Prayer for Relief),' Baffert said. 'I have nothing else to do here but to lay around and think about it.'
The provisional Travers field grew by one as trainer George Weaver said he is likely to enter recent allowance winner MALIBU GLOW (Malibu Moon).
'We're taking a shot,' Weaver explained. 'We've looked at the numbers on the race, the Ragozin figures and so forth. We want to give it a shot. We feel like we're not that far off some of these horses. The horse likes the track. He had a nice workout a couple of days ago.'
In his first two starts in stakes, Malibu Glow finished third in the Spend a Buck on May 22 at Monmouth Park and fifth in the Dwyer (G2) on July 2 at Belmont Park. He'll enter the Travers off a three-quarter-length victory in an entry-level allowance on July 30 at Saratoga.
'The Dwyer, I thought we were compromised a little bit by a slow pace,' Weaver said. '(The winner) Dominus kind of walked the dog up there, and I thought we were compromised by that a little bit. It was a race that I didn't think was a bad race. He wasn't embarrassed. He just didn't make as much of a kick as I thought he would. We just got to hope he keeps improving.'
Another possible addition to the Travers line-up, Dwyer winner and Jim Dandy third-placer DOMINUS (Smart Strike), breezed four furlongs in :50 1/5 on Tuesday.
Trainer Steve Asmussen would not comment on the status of Dominus, who is owned by George Bolton, Stonestreet Stables and Spendthrift Farm.
'(Dominus) went good,' Asmussen said. 'We'll talk to the owners later in the day.'
At least 11 three-year-olds are expected to be entered on Wednesday. The other probables are BOWMAN'S CAUSEWAY (Giant's Causeway), J W BLUE (Sky Mesa), MOONSHINE MULLIN (Albert the Great), RAISON D'ETAT (A.P. Indy), RATTLESNAKE BRIDGE (Tapit) and RULER ON ICE (Roman Ruler).
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