Jockey Mike Smith had one of the best spots in the house for the furious finish to the $750,000 Travers Stakes on Saturday at Saratoga, but it wasn’t good enough to know if Coronado’s Quest had won as they crossed the wire.
“I was just hoping I held on,” Smith said.
Hold on was what Coronado’s Quest did, defeating Victory Gallop and Raffie’s Majesty by a margin of two noses after taking the lead with a half-mile left and leading by two lengths at the eighth pole.
“I knew Victory Gallop was coming,” Smith said. “I didn’t see Raffie’s Majesty. He [Coronado’s Quest] gave me his all.”
It was the fifth consecutive victory for Coronado’s Quest, who lost his first three starts this year when he acted up badly while being saddled before each race. The colt had surgery to relieve a breathing problem after the Florida Derby on March 14 and has not participated in a post parade during his win streak.
Coronado’s Quest, carrying 126 pounds and racing 1 1/4 miles for the first time, was timed in 2:03 2/5 and paid $4.90 as the second choice in the betting. The victory was worth $450,000, bringing his career total to $1,910,700.
Trainer Shug McGaughey said Coronado’s Quest will run next in the Super Derby at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 27.