SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) The Travers Day undercard produced four automatic qualifers for races in the Breeders' Cup in two months.
In the hours leading up to American Pharoah's run in the $1.6 million Travers, Sheer Drama started off Saturday's stakes program with a well-timed stretch run and 1 1/4-length win over Got Lucky in the $750,000 Personal Ensign for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up.
Ridden by Joe Bravo, Sheer Drama stalked leaders Stopchargingmaria and Untapable and forged her way to the front for the victory.
The 5-year-old mare won for the third time in seven starts with four second-place finishes. Sheer Drama, who returned $8.80 for a $2 win bet, qualified for the Breeders' Cup Distaff. Winning time for the 1 1/8 miles was 1:49.05.
With morning-line favorite La Verdad scratched, Unbridled Forever won the $500,000 Ballerina by one length over Kiss to Remember for a spot in the field for the BC Filly & Mare Sprint. The 4-year-old filly ridden by John Velazquez is 2 for 2 this year. She returned ($8.20).
Runhappy ($24.60), with Edgar Prado aboard, pulled an upset at 11-1 odds in the $500,000 King's Bishop, defeating Limousine Liberal four lengths. Favorite Holy Boss was third.
Private Zone easily won the $700,000 Forego by 3 3/4 lengths over The Big Beast, and returned $5.20 as the 8-5 favorite. Private Zone earns a place in the BC Sprint.
Flintshire, in his first start in the U.S. this year, swept into the lead around the turn and won the $1 million Sword Dancer by 2 1/2 lengths over Red Rifle to earn a spot in the BC Turf.