Trainer Rick Violette continues to do his Hamlet impression regarding Upstart’s status for the Travers (G1). After expressing doubt last weekend about running his charge against American Pharoah, the horsemen entered Upstart, and is now playing the waiting game before a final decision.
“My horse continues to do great. He’s not telling me not to run. I really keep waiting for some pivotal moment that will push me either way, and it hasn’t happened yet. Right now, I’m preparing him like we’re going to run,” Violette said.
Upstart drew the rail in the Travers, but that’s not a hindrance to Violette.
“I actually like it,” the trainer said. “If we had drawn the 10-hole, that would have been a significant negative.
“I don’t think any of us can overcome a less-than-perfect trip. The only horse that can is American Pharoah. He can have less than a perfect tour around there and probably still beat us, and the rest of us need to have everything go our way. The one-hole helps. We’ll save ground the first turn, and who knows what happens second turn.
“It’s the real paradox. You’re supposed to run horses when they’re doing great, when they’re moving well, eating well, happy, sound – and he’s all of that. He’s also run well over this racetrack and he’s trained well. But the other axiom is you win a lot more races when you’re 4-1 or less, and in three weeks (in the September 19 Pennsylvania Derby [G2] at Parx) we’ll be a lot less than 4-1 for a million dollars.
“If that race wasn’t there it’d be a no-brainer to run here, but it’s also a business. It’s a lot of money. We could run back in that spot but it wouldn’t be like pointing for that spot; there’s a difference.
“That’s the internal battle I’m still having.”
Photo courtesy of Natalie Fawkes/Adam Coglianese Photography.