SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — V.E. Day caught Wicked Strong late to take the 145th running of the Travers Stakes by a nose Saturday over an impressive field that included Belmont champion Tonalist and favorite Bayern.
Ridden by Javier Castellano, V.E. Day beat out the co-second choices after going off at nearly 20-1 and returning $41.00, $13.20, and $7.30 in the $1.25 million Grade 1 stakes race.
Trainer Jimmy Jerkens swept the top two spots in the 1-1/4-mile Grade 1 stakes for three-year-olds, with the more well-regarded Wicked Strong coming second and retuning $4.40 and $3.10.
“I wasn’t absolutely sure it was V. E. Day because he had so much mud on him, until they got a little closer and I saw the silks and then I knew it was him,” Jerkens said. “I said, ‘Man, what a feeling. I know I’m going to win the Travers. I just don’t know with who.’”
Bayern, trained by Bob Baffert, had nothing to give after winning the Haskell Invitational in his most recent start and ran out of steam approaching the quarter pole. Mr. Speaker, who won the Grade 1 Belmont Derby on the grass in July finished fifth. Tonalist paid $3.40 to show.
“I’m happy for Jimmy,” Castellano said. “He’s a great horseman. He does such a good job.”
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