Photo: Hodges Photography
Calumet Farm’s 2018 Travers Stakes-bound Bravazo was feeling fine following morning’s breeze, Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said. The son of Awesome Again worked a half-mile in 51.60 seconds over the Oklahoma training track. Lukas said the time wasn’t exactly what he had in mind, but the 82-year-old conditioner said he will rebound with a sharper plan for next week’s breeze en route to the Kentucky-bred’s start in the Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers on .
“Slow, not what I wanted, but slow is better than fast,” Lukas said. “I was looking for a little bit more, but he went by himself. I drilled on him [the exercise rider] that this work was not the one; next week is the one I want to be sharper. I told him don’t overdo it. He went too slow, but by a jump or two.
“The easiest thing for a trainer to do is to take a slow work and correct it, but when you get a fast one, a bullet work, boy, you lay awake a little bit. How do you get them back? You left him out there in the morning, and you know it. Now, you’ve got to really make an adjustment when they go too slow. I’ll probably work him back , cut him back where normally I work in seven or eight days.”
The work was the first since Bravazo’s runner-up finish to Good Magic in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational on July 29. His lone win this year came in the Grade 2 Risen Star on at Fair Grounds before starting in all three Triple Crown races, where he finished sixth in the Kentucky Derby, second in the Preakness and sixth in the Belmont Stakes on .
Lukas, who added that jockey Luis Saez will remain aboard Bravazo in the Travers, said his colt will be a much better horse when he leaves the gate in the Mid-Summer Derby. He compared Bravazo’s growth to 2013 Travers winner Will Take Charge, who finished out of the money in all three legs of that year’s Triple Crown before running second in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy and winning the Travers the following month. He eventually fell a nose behind Mucho Macho Man in that year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic.
“Well we might have to change our strategy in the race a little bit, depending on who goes,” Lukas said. “The thing about this horse is he’s developing a lot like Will Take Charge. He started getting good at this time of the year. He started developing and started getting stronger. That’s what I see happening here, so I’m hoping that’s what’s going to happen. We may have to change our strategy a little bit. Chad Brown’s horse [Good Magic], from where I’m sitting, I think that’s a good horse. It’s going to be a damn good Travers.”