News and STORIES

Ny Traffic, Shirl’s Speight Look Toward Kentucky Derby

Author: Clint Goodman
Published: Friday August 14, 2020
Two of Saddie Joseph, Jr.'s top stars, Math Wizard and Ny Traffic, worked in company on Aug. 13 over a fast Saratoga Race Course. Both of the runners covered five furlongs in 1:00.38, which was the fastest of eight recorded works at the distance. 

Ny Traffic is owned by John Fanelli, Cash is King Racing, LC Racing, and Paul Braverman and bred in New York State. He has finished on-the-board in five starts this year, and he is coming off a second-place finish in the TVG Haskell Invitational (G1) at Monmouth Park. 

He is pointing toward the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) at Churchill Downs, and the son of Cross Traffic will be Joseph’s first starter in the event.  He is fifth on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 110 points.

"Math Wizard is a good work horse and with Ny Traffic, we wanted something not speedy but more for endurance. It was a steady work, but next week will probably be his stiffest work," Joseph said.

Ny Traffic went to Joseph’s barn after starting four times for former trainer Harold Wyner.

"From the first time we got him, he just improved steadily," Joseph said of Ny Traffic. "He's shipped all over and each time, he's shown up. That's a quality of a really good horse, he doesn't need to take his track with him. Obviously, he's been over Churchill's track already, so that makes us feel comfortable."

Joseph still believes Ny Traffic can come out on top even with the presence of New York-bred Tiz the Law, the frontrunner of the 3-year-old division.

"I think he's gotten better and better," Joseph said. "Early in the year if you asked, I never thought he would be one of the leaders in the crop, but as time has gone on, I think we have a legit chance. Obviously, Tiz the Law ran impressively the other day, but I think we have a good chance."

Math Wizard

Math Wizard is looking toward the Aug. 28 Charles Town Classic (G2), and the Sept. 5 Woodward Stakes (G1) at Saratoga is a “slight possibility.”

"He's trained well over this track, but I would say the Charles Town Classic is the leader at the moment," Joseph said. "Since he's come here, he's trained really well. That was his second breeze here today and I thought he looked exceptional."

Math Wizard won last year’s edition of the Pennsylvania Derby (G1), and he was second to Global Campaign in the July 18 Monmouth Cup (G2). The 4-year-old son of Algorithms is owned by John Fanelli in partnership with Khalid Mishref, Cash is King Racing LC Racing, Collarmele Vitelli Stables, Ioannis Zoumas, and Bassett Stables. 

According to Joseph, Tonalist’s Shape will train up to the Sept. 4 Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs, and the Eight Belles Stakes (G2), which runs on the same day, is also a possibility. 

"She'll work Sunday and more than likely go straight to the Oaks, as a backup plan maybe the Eight Belles," Joseph said.

Shirl’s Speight 

Another runner pointing toward the Kentucky Derby is Chales Fipke’s homebred Shirl’s Speight. He turned in his second bullet work in the same amount of weeks on Aug. 13 at Woodbine.

He worked over Woodbine’s dirt training surface on Aug. 13 for trainer Roger Attfield. He breezed five furlongs in :57 flat under jockey Rafael Hernandez, which was the fastest of seven at the distance. 

The son of Speightstown, just one week earlier, worked four furlongs in :47 3/5 on Aug. 6, the fastest of 14 at the distance.

Shirl’s Speight is out of the Perfect Soul mare Perfect Shirl, a multiple graded stakes winner. His best performance was a victory in the 2011 Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1T) at Churchill Downs.