Virginia Rapids held out of Travers Stakes

August 19, 1993|By Joseph Durso | Joseph Durso,New York Times News Service

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- Allen Jerkens broke his own chance for a historic streak at Saratoga yesterday when he withdrew Virginia Rapids from the $1 million Travers Stakes on Saturday because the colt "just wasn't 1,000 percent."

It was the second time in three weeks that Jerkens had withdrawn a star from a major race because he wasn't satisfied with the horse's sharpness. He took Classy Mirage out of the Test Stakes for fillies July 31, and said then: "I don't know what's wrong, but she's not at her best."

He did the same yesterday morning with Virginia Rapids, who won the Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park in May, ran fifth in the Belmont Stakes in June and ran second in the Jim Dandy at Saratoga on Aug. 1. But the colt turned in a dull workout on Tuesday, going one mile in 1 minute, 47 seconds, and Jerkens began to wonder about the Travers, "the summertime Kentucky Derby."

"He's not going," he announced yesterday at Barn 3. "It wasn't just the work. It's just that he's not 1,000 percent. I thought it would be better for him to run in a race like the Jerome."

The Jerome Handicap will be run at Belmont Park on Sept. 6 at one mile. The Travers is run at the Derby distance of a mile and a quarter, and every horse must carry the Derby weight of 126 pounds.

Virginia Rapids carried 12 pounds less and ran an eighth of a mile less while winning the Peter Pan, although he did carry 121 pounds a mile and an eighth in the Jim Dandy and lost by only a neck to Miner's Mark.

Jerkens also surrendered any chance for his unusual "triple" on consecutive weekends. He won the Alabama Stakes last Saturday with his prize filly Sky Beauty; he had Virginia Rapids poised as one of the favorites for the Travers this Saturday, and he will saddle the favored Devil His Due in the Whitney Handicap one week later.

"They've all been racing in top form," he said. "But you've still got to keep them in top form."

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