John Fanelli, Cash is King, LC Racing and Paul Braverman’s multiple graded-stakes placed New York-bred Ny Traffic breezed five-eighths in company on the Saratoga main track Friday in preparation for the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby.
The Cross Traffic grey, bred in the Empire State by Brian Culnan, went to the track with jockey David Cohen aboard and tracked a stablemate before taking command to cover five furlongs in 59.45 seconds over the just-harrowed track at 8:45 a.m.
“I thought he went super. It’s what we wanted,” said trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr. “I got him in 59 and change and out in 1:12 (for six furlongs). I just wanted to see him cool out good and scope good. With our fingers crossed and with a good eight days (before the Derby), we have a very good chance. Today was important. I just wanted to see him come out of the work good.”
Since winning a Gulfstream Park allowance race in January by a sharp 6 3/4 lengths, Ny Traffic has finished second or third in all four stakes races, including a narrow nose defeat to Authentic in the Grade 1 Haskell Stakes at Monmouth Park on July 18, which garnered a career-best 101 Beyer Speed Figure.
While Ny Traffic continues to show improvement, Joseph said Grade 1 Belmont Stakes and Grade 1 Runhappy Travers winner Tiz the Law – who is stabled across from him – is the horse to beat.
“He’s earned that. He’s the champ right now and everyone is trying to beat him,” Joseph said. “We’re going to give it a try.”
Joseph, Jr. will be well represented at Charles Town on Saturday when he sends out Tonalist’s Shape in the Grade 3 Charles Town Oaks and Math Wizard in the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic. He will also saddle Overdeliver in the Russell Road and Queen Nekia in the Dance to Bristol on the undercard.
Ny Traffic, along with Tiz the Law, is expected to fly from Albany to Louisville on Monday for the Kentucky Derby.