By Dan Illman
At 5:37 pm on Saturday afternoon, 10 minutes before post time for the
Grade 1 Whitney Handicap, I received a text from DRF Handicapper Mike
“Cross Traffic is the best looking horse I’ve ever seen.”
Cross Traffic ran to his looks in the Whitney and finally achieved a well-deserved graded victory. In his two prior races, the Grade 3 Westchester Stakes at Belmont on April 27 and the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap on May 27, Cross Traffic ran his eyeballs out only to be denied in the shadow of the wire. This time, in his first start around two turns, Cross Traffic would not be outfinished. As usual, the son of Unbridled’s Song showed good early pace and he scooted around a Saratoga main track that favored speed. After a first quarter in 23.11, Cross Traffic ran his interior fractions in 23.11 and 22.96. Despite drifting out a bit in the stretch, Cross Traffic had enough to fend off a game SUCCESSFUL DAN.
“This was a real quality-filled race,” Pletcher explained to NYRA Communications after the Whitney. “To beat the Breeders’ Cup winner and runner-up from last year and some really good horses speaks volumes about his quality. It was great to see him [win]. He certainly deserved a Grade 1 after the Met Mile. I know we’ve had a couple of tough beats over the years but that one kind of stands out as one of
A tilt in the $750,000, Grade 1 Woodward Stakes on August 31 seems likely for the 4-year-old colt gray, a lightly-raced performer with only five starts on his record.
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