SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- The "graveyard of favorites," as Saratoga Race Course is often called, more than lived up to its reputation in Saturday's Travers Stakes.
Not only did favored Strike the Gold fall flat, but the race may also have cost second choice Hansel his racing career.
Speaking yesterday from his headquarters at Arlington Park in suburban Chicago, trainer Frank Brothers said a racing future for Hansel, the Preakness and Belmont winner, was "possible but not probable."
"He's probably finished racing for the year, and the decision about his career will be made shortly," Brothers said.
Hansel finished second by only a neck to Corporate Report in the Travers despite tearing his left front tendon with about an eighth of a mile remaining. Jockey Jerry Bailey immediately got off the colt after galloping out, and a horse ambulance took Hansel back to his Saratoga stall.
The injury is not life-threatening. Brothers said that not only wasn't the colt in distress when he returned to his stall but that he also cooled out normally and was able to walk about without any noticeable strain.
"I think yesterday's performance was as gutsy a performance as he has ever run," Brothers said.
Hansel, named for the fairy-tale character, vanned out of Saratoga yesterday afternoon to return to his stall at Arlington.
During his 14-race career, Hansel has earned more than $2.9 million by winning seven races and finishing worse than third only twice -- in the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park in February, when he bled, and as the Kentucky Derby favorite in May.