SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.— Grandview Equine and Don Alberto Stable’s Gilded Age, runner-up in the 1 1/8-mile Curlin here last month, will get more distance to work with as he attempts to give Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott his first victory in the Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers.
Gilded Age drew post position 4 and is the longest shot on the morning line at 30-1 for the 153rd Travers topped by 7-5 program favorite Epicenter, the Kentucky Derby and Preakness runner-up and winner of Saratoga’s Grade 2 Jim Dandy July 30.
Among the competition in the 1 1/4-mile Travers for 3-year-olds are the winners of the first two legs of the Triple Crown – Rich Strike, who captured the Kentucky Derby at odds of 80-1, and Preakness winner Early Voting – as well as Cyberknife, winner of the Grade 1 Haskell July 23 at Monmouth Park and Zandon, who took the Grade 1 Blue Grass April 9 at Keeneland.
Adonis was the highest-priced Travers winner of the modern era at $53.50 in 1945, the last of three straight years when the race was run at Belmont Park due to travel restrictions during World War II. The richest Travers winner at Saratoga was Willow Hour ($50.20) in 1981.
“It’d be a huge upset if he won,” Mott said of Gilded Age. “The Travers is a tough race, tough competition in there. Our horse ran pretty well over the racetrack here. He was second and he was closing, and we’re hoping that a mile and a quarter suits him well and we can pick up some of the pieces.”
Gilded Age went off at 10-1 in the July 29 Curlin and raced near the back of the pack before closing with a run on the outside to get up for second, beaten 4 3/4 lengths by Artorius, the Chad Brown-trained stablemate of Early Voting and Zandon. In his eighth career start, Gilded Age will stretch out beyond nine furlongs for the first time.
“Had he not run well in the Curlin, we probably wouldn’t have given it a chance,” Mott said. “But, he did run well in the Curlin and the timing of the [Travers] was good. There’s really nowhere else to go so we thought, ‘Let’s give him a shot in the Travers.’”
Gilded Age is a son and a grandson of Travers winners. His sire, Medaglia d’Oro, swept the Jim Dandy and Travers in 2002 and returned to Saratoga to win the Grade 1 Whitney in 2003. Grandsire Bernardini is also a member of Jim Dandy-Travers club, and was named Champion 3-Year-Old Male of 2006. Gilded Age’s dam, Angela Renee, won the Grade 1 Chandelier going 1 1/16 miles in 2014.
“There’s certainly nothing in his pedigree to discourage you from trying, that’s for sure,” Mott said.
Mott has started horses in nine Travers since 1991, running second with Vision and Verse at odds of 14-1 in 1999, Hold Me Back (17-1) in 2009 and 2-1 favorite Tacitus in 2019. South Bend ran fourth at 32-1 in 2020, and Good Samaritan was fifth as the 7-2 favorite in 2017.
NYRA Press Office
Photo: Gilded Age breaks his maiden at Churchill Downs on November 19th, 2021 (Coady Photography)