Cross Traffic broke well from the gate and was allowed to set solid but uncontested fractions through the early parts of the race en route to a wire-to-wire victory in the Grade 1 Whitney Invitational Handicap at Saratoga. Breeders' Cup Classic winner Fort Larned stalked the early speed with Mucho Macho Man to his inside but couldn't take command of the race after challenging the winner on the far turn. Cross Traffic, running around two turns for the first time of his career, drifted out in deep stretch but fought on gamely for the first graded stakes victory of his career.
Successful Dan ran a big race to finish second after a bit of a incident during his walk from the paddock to the track which saw him unseat jockey Julien Leparoux and fall on his side. Mucho Macho Man held on to finish third while Ron the Greek put in a late run to complete the superfecta.
The pace of the Whitney was a bit of a curious one; based on the relative speed of the track during the early races, you'd probably describe the early splits as SLOW early, FAST middle, SLOW late. It seems the third quarter internal split of 22.96 really burnt out the majority of Cross Traffic's rivals, which is why he could hold on through a final split of 13.09 seconds.
I have some serious concerns as to whether Cross Traffic wants any part of 10 panels but, and this is a big BUT, with the Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita Park, and the possibility of a fast, speed-favoring track in Arcadia, he might be able to stretch that speed out. But that's a long way off from now; we'll have plenty of time to assess his chances at the classic distance of a mile and a quarter. (Perhaps even a pedigree profile from Tribe.)
Cross Traffic is four-year-old colt by Unbridled's Son out of a Cure the Blues mare (Stop Traffic), trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by John Velazquez.
Below are the payouts for the Whitney Invitational:
|2-Mucho Macho Man||$5.20|
|Base||Bet||Combo||Payout||Pays to -|