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2010 Moments of the Year: Afleet Express noses out Fly Down in the Travers

I think most racing fans would admit that this year's crop of three-year-olds, outside of Lookin At Lucky, wasn't a group that really blew you away with big time performances.  There were some very solid sophomores but overall it was a group that was a bit thin on top level talent.  However, from the start of the prep season for the Kentucky Derby through the final three-year-old stakes races of 2010, this group provided some truly exhilarating racing, regardless of what the final times or the speed figures ultimately read.  It was a crop that essentially took turns beating up on each other; as soon as we pegged one 

This year's running of the Travers Stakes featured a thrilling stretch duel between Afleet Express and Fly Down, with Afleet Express ultimately prevailing in a head bob.  Afleet Express was retired shortly after the Breeders' Cup and won't be around to race in 2011, but Fly Down, who ran a solid 3rd behind Blame and Zenyatta in the BC Classic, will be back in the new season and should be one of the top horses in the handicap division.

A look at some of the other horses to run in the 2010 Travers Stakes:

First Dude (3rd) - Like he was apt to do all year long, First Dude ran a good race but was shut out of the top spot.  The common refrain from many in the industry now is that First Dude is the best horses still eligible for an N1X Allowance race.

Afleet Again (4th) - Afleet Again followed-up his 4th in the Travers with a disappointing 5th in the Pennsylvania Derby.

A Little Warm (5th) - As previously discussed, A Little Warm was injured and retired prior to the Breeders' Cup.

Ice Box (8th) - In what was a common trend following his win in the Florida Derby and his runner-up finish in the Kentucky Derby, Ice Box.  He got a bit of a pace to run at in the Travers but couldn't muster the closing kick he displayed earlier in the year.  Perhaps Ice Box can regain his spring of 2010 form after a nice long lay-off this winter.

Trappe Shot (9th) - Talk about a horse that skyrocketed to oblivion; Trappe Shot got a lot of pub as possibly being the "best 3yo in the country" after he burst onto the scene as a late bloomer at Belmont and Monmouth Park.  Then he stepped up to graded stakes competition and things became a bit more difficult.  He ran a good second to Lookin At Lucky in the Haskell and then he threw in a total clunker as the 7/2 favorite in the Travers.  He should be back in 2011.

Super Saver (10th) - If ice Box's performance was "disappointing", then the performance of the Derby winner was simply atrocious.  Not only was Super Saver never in the race from the outset but he didn't run a lick at any point during the mile and a quarter journey around Saratoga.  It would be the final race of his career.