Triple Crown competitor Stay Thirsty won the 2011 Travers Stakes in resounding fashion beating out Rattlesnake Bridge and J W Blue in the stretch as his rivals the whole way around the track challenged him.
Triple Crown rivals Shackleford and Ruler on Ice held the early pace while Stay Thirsty stalked from behind. Jockey Javier Castellano would keep Thirsty close down the backstretch and then the tandem began their move at the start of the far turn on a fast Saratoga track.
Stay Thirsty took the lead at the top of the stretch and drew off in the final furlong as the early pace setters faded back into the middle of the pack.
It was an impressive run by Stay Thirsty and an equally impressive ride for Castellano in terms of patience and timing.
With this exciting win, Stay Thirsty plants himself near or at the top of the three-year old division with his defeat over Preakness champion Shackleford and Belmont winner Ruler on Ice. Stay Thirsty is headed toward the Breeder’s Cup where he and some of his other classmates look to challenge older horses in the Breeder’s Cup Classic.
Just by watching the Travers and examining Stay Thirsty’s impressive run at the SPA would be enough consider him a contender in the lucrative November race that will be held at Churchill Downs this year.
The last time Stay Thirsty saw Churchill Downs was for the Kentucky Derby, a race in which he finished 12th. Animal Kingdom, who is being mentioned as one of the top three-year-olds heading into the Classic, won this year's addition.
Animal Kingdom leads Shackleford and Ruler on Ice in the three-year old column for the Breeder’s Cup Classic, and now Stay Thirsty looks to throw his hat into the mix as we run toward November.
With a three-year old class that is as wide-open as this one, any of the aforementioned colts could put up a great performance on November 5. Stay Thirsty’s performance on Saturday afternoon should put him into the discussion, and maybe even at the head of the class.
What these four have going against them is that they will be facing older horses for the first or maybe second time (The Jockey Club Gold Cup being a prospective race where they could face older competition). The Classic especially has been unfriendly to the young ones with only four winning in this millennium.
What remains to be seen is if any of these four can make a better performance this time out given the fact the disputes regarding the three-year old class this year. We will see if one of these horses can claim their spot as one of the years best at the Classic.