What’s Next after the Triple Crown?

With a surprising finish in the Belmont Stakes (G1) at Saratoga, the Triple Crown came to a close with a different 3-year-old winning each race for the sixth year in a row.

Dornoch. NYRA Photo.

The Travers could be a next meeting for all three Triple Crown race winners

Dornoch, sent off at 17-1 on Saturday, won by a half-length over Mindframe. Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Mystik Dan was eighth; Preakness Stakes (G1) winner Seize the Grey was seventh.

It was in 2018 that Justify swept the Derby, Preakness, and Belmont to become the 13th Triple Crown winner.

Yes, this Belmont was unique – at the Spa for the first time and run at 1 ¼ miles rather than the traditional 1 ½ miles – but the field was topnotch with the Derby and Preakness winners in the race for first time since 2013.

So what happens next for these Triple Crown veterans? One thing is for sure: there will be rematches over the summer, from the Haskell Stakes (G1) on July 20 at Monmouth Park, to the Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) on July 27 and the Travers Stakes (G1) on Aug. 24, both at the Spa, and on to the Breeders’ Cup on Nov. 2 at Del Mar.

Here’s how things shook out on Sunday at Saratoga:

Travers could be a re-run of Belmont

 Danny Gargan, the trainer of Dornoch, said his Belmont winner was in fine form, and could run next in either the Jim Dandy or the Haskell, with the end-of-summer goal being the Travers.

“We will play it by ear and see what we think, just try to enjoy ourselves and see how the next week goes,’’ said Gargan, who won his first Grade 1 race as Dornoch (10th in the Derby) improved to 8-4-2-0 with earnings of $1.7 million.

Mystik Dan. Coady Photo.

Derby winner Mystik Dan, who ran in all three Triple Crown races, will get a break and prepare next for the Travers, said trainer Ken McPeek, adding that his Acorn (G1) winner Thorpedo Anna is likely to run next in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) on July 20 at the Spa.

“He’s doing fine. He scoped with a little bit of mucus, and on a scale of five it was probably a two,” McPeek said. “But he’s had a great spring, and obviously it was a small step backwards, but nothing we can’t fix.”

Plans for Pletcher colts uncertain

For Todd Pletcher, the trainer of Mindframe, fifth-place finished Antiquarian, and sixth-place finisher Protective, the plans are far from set. He also trains Fierceness, the Florida Derby (G1) winner who ran 15th in the Derby as the favorite. He said it’s unlikely Mindframe and Fierceness would run in the same race. All four could be in the mix to run in the Haskell or the Jim Dandy.

Another tough defeat for Sierra Leone

As for Sierra Leone, who finished third as the 8-5 favorite, trainer Chad Brown won’t commit to the Travers but if the horse is training well, it likely will happen. He was a bit discouraged with the Belmont result after an equipment change (a new bit to help keep him running straight) and a new rider in Flavien Prat.

“We got slammed at the start and he got far back. He had an opportunity to engage the bit and improve his position down the backside and he really didn’t do it,’’ Brown said. “At the quarter-pole, it looked like he wasn’t going anywhere, then he grabbed the bit late, and he came on. It’s a hard track today to close ground on.”

Travers the goal for Seize the Grey

Seize the Grey was headed back to Kentucky for, according to trainer D. Wayne Lukas, but will return to Saratoga and likely prepare for the Jim Dandy, with a goal of the Travers. Seize the Grey won the Pat Day Mile (G2) on Derby Day, so he, too, ran three times in five weeks.

Book’em Danno

Book’em Danno, the winner of the 7-furlong Woody Stephens (G1) for 3-year-olds on the Belmont undercard, is one to keep an eye on, too. Trainer Derek Ryan said the next target is 7-furlong H. Allen Jerkens Memorial (G1) on Aug. 24, but “we might do something silly in     between, who knows?”

What about Baffert?

Nysos. Benoit Photo.

And last, but certainly not least, is trainer Bob Baffert and his collection of 3-year-olds. Nysos, unbeaten in three starts, hasn’t had a posted workout in the past two months, while Muth, the Arkansas Derby (G1) winner, last worked on May 10. Both had minor setbacks, and their summer racing status is unclear.

Baffert missed the Derby for the third year in a row due to his suspension by Churchill Downs, Inc., following the 2021 disqualification of Medina Spirit, who finished first in the Derby but tested positive for an overage of a race-day medication. He also trains Imagination, who was fifth in the Preakness. Baffert did not have a horse in the Belmont, but Prince of Monaco ran second and Imagination seventh in the Woody Stephens.

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