Prep Season

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Preps for next month’s $1.25 million Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course are seemingly everywhere these days.

The Iowa Derby, Indiana Derby and Ohio Derby were run in late June or this month and could produce a starter or two or three. A two-turn allowance went Wednesday and might yield a starter in Fayeq. Saturday’s Jim Dandy – featuring the heavyweight showdown between Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming and Preakness winner Cloud Computing – will not doubt produce some entries. Same for Sunday’s $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park and possibly next Saturday’s West Virginia Derby.

Then there’s today’s ninth edition of the $100,000 Curlin Stakes, like many of the above-named preps and run at 9 furlongs but unlike them as it’s restricted to 3-year-olds without a graded stakes victory over a mile in 2017. The Curlin remains a viable prep for the Aug. 26 Travers, producing 11 starters for the race since 2012 including 2014 winner V. E. Day.

The last five winners of the Curlin went on to the Travers, after the race’s first three winners – Blame, Winslow Homer and Turbo Compressor – did not.

Exactly who emerges from the 2017 edition of the Curlin and goes on to the 1 1/4-mile Travers won’t be known until after the ninth races of 10 races goes at 5:40 p.m. today. Most likely even beyond that with the possibility of butting up against the likes of Always Dreaming, Cloud Computing, Tapwrit, Irish War Cry, Lookin At Lee, Hence, McCraken, Timeline, Battle Of Midway, Irap or Girvin looming.

To read the rest of the Curlin Stakes preview, download Friday’s digital edition of The Saratoga Special.