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Top US 3YOs Clash For Category Bragging Rights
America's top 3YO males will face off this weekend in the 144th running of the US$1 million Gr1 Travers Stakes (10 furlongs) at Saratoga Race Course, reports bloodhorse.com. Kentucky Derby winner Orb (Malibu Moon-Lady Liberty, by Unbridled), Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice (Curlin-Palace Rumor, by Royal Anthem) & Haskell Invitational hero Verrazano (More Than Ready-Enchanted Rock, by Giant's Causeway) dominate a field of nine which could decide which horse is crowned the Eclipse 3YO male of the year. With the notable exception of Preakness winner Oxbow who is absent through injury, these three brilliant colts have been the headline acts throughout the triple crown season and after the weekend one will have bragging rights to being the best. More Than Ready colt Verrazano, whose only defeat in 7 starts was on a bog track in the Kentucky Derby, has been installed as 2-1 favourite ahead of stablemate Palace Malice. The duo's trainer Todd Pletcher reports he is pleased with both colts leading into Saturday's big race. "Ideally they're horses that want to stalk an honest pace, and I think we should get an honest pace in here," Pletcher said. "Both horses are training probably better than they have at any stage of their career." Pletcher also dismissed concerns about Verrazano's ability to extend his brilliance to 10 furlongs, citing the horse's strong closing sectionals in his Haskell triumph. "The track was very demanding that day, probably the slowest Monmouth track I've ever seen, and for him to draw away the way he did at the end of a mile and an eighth (9 furlongs) put away any concerns I ever had." The other Travers protagonist, Orb, has not raced since June 8 when third to Oxbow in the Belmont Stakes but trainer Shug McGaughey holds no concerns about the gap between races.