G1 Kentucky Derby Hopeful Ny Traffic, G1 Winner Math Wizard Work At Saratoga

August 13, 2020

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr. worked two of his stable stars, Math Wizard and Ny Traffic in company over a fast Saratoga Race Course main track on Thursday morning with both horses covering five furlongs in 1:00.38, which were the fastest of eight recorded works at the distance.

Owned by John Fanelli, Cash is King Racing, LC Racing and Paul Braverman and bred in the Empire State by Brian Culnan, Ny Traffic has not finished off the board in five starts this year, which began with an allowance optional claiming victory at Gulfstream Park, where Joseph is primarily based. He then followed up with a third-place finish in the Grade 2 Risen Star on February 15 at Fair Grounds before returning to the New Orleans oval for a runner-up finish to Wells Bayou in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby. His last two starts also were second-place effort, starting with the Grade 3 Matt Winn at Churchill Downs and continuing in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park.

Ny Traffic is pointing towards the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby on September 5 at Churchill Downs. The son of Cross Traffic will give Joseph his first starter in the “Run for the Roses” and is fifth on the leaderboard with 110 qualifying points.

“Math Wizard is a good work horse and with Ny Traffic, we wanted something not speedy but more for endurance. It was a steady work, but next week will probably be his stiffest work,” Joseph said.

Ny Traffic joined Joseph’s barn after making his first four starts for former trainer Harold Wyner.

“From the first time we got him, he just improved steadily,” Joseph said of Ny Traffic, who has raced over six tracks in nine starts. “He’s shipped all over and each time, he’s shown up. That’s a quality of a really good horse, he doesn’t need to take his track with him. Obviously, he’s been over Churchill’s track already so that makes us feel comfortable.”

Despite the presence of New York-bred Tiz the Law, the dominant frontrunner of the 3-year-old division who won last Saturday’s Grade 1 Runhappy Travers, Joseph feels confident in Ny Traffic heading into the Kentucky Derby.

“I think he’s gotten better and better,” Joseph said. “Early in the year if you asked, I never thought he would be one of the leaders in the crop, but as time has gone on, I think we have a legit chance. Obviously, Tiz the Law ran impressively the other day, but I think we have a good chance.”

Math Wizard will likely point to the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic on August 28, with the Grade 1, $500,000 Woodward at Saratoga as a “slight possibility.”

“He’s trained well over this track, but I would say the Charles Town Classic is the leader at the moment,” Joseph said. “Since he’s come here, he’s trained really well. That was his second breeze here today and I thought he looked exceptional.”

The winner of last year’s Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby, Math Wizard was second to Global Campaign in the Grade 2 Monmouth Cup on July 18. The 4-year-old son of Algorithms is owned by John Fanelli in partnership with Khalid Mishref, Cash Is King Racing, LC Racing, Collarmele Vitelli Stables, Ioannis Zoumas and Bassett Stables.

Joseph also reported that Tonalist’s Shape will train up to the Grade 1, $1 million Kentucky Oaks on September 4 at Churchill Downs, with the Grade 2 Eight Belles on the same day, remaining a possibility as well.

“She’ll work Sunday and more than likely go straight to the Oaks, as a backup plan maybe the Eight Belles,” Joseph said.

Joseph said he is relishing his first summer of having a string of horses in Saratoga.

“I love it. It’s beautiful, the weather is amazing for horses. It’s tranquil. We got our winner quickly off the bat so that helps. We hope to be up here every year continuously,” Joseph said. “Thankfully, we have a lot of good owners and a great team of assistants, foremen, grooms, exercise riders, hotwalkers. They’re highly instrumental to all of the success.”

NYRA Press Release

Photo: Ny Traffic (inside) and Math Wizard put in a work for Saffie Joseph, Jr. August 13 on the main track at Saratoga. Credit: Coglianese Photos/Susie Raisher

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