Up-and-coming sophomores ARCH TRAVELER (Sky Mesa) and LEFT (Arch) cleared their entry-level allowance conditions on Saturday and likely punched their tickets to stakes company.
Centennial Farms' Arch Traveler captured the 3RD race at Gulfstream Park, contested over the same track and 1 1/8-mile trip as the April 3 Florida Derby (G1). Sent off as the slight 2-1 favorite in the wake of his sharp maiden score here going seven furlongs, the Jimmy Jerkens trainee broke alertly from the rail, but jockey Jose Lezcano restrained him. By conceding the early lead to Private Prize (Pure Prize), Lezcano was able to angle off the fence and secure a favorable outside stalking spot for the colt's two-turn bow.
As Private Prize carved out slow fractions of :23 4/5, :49 and 1:14 1/5 on the fast track, Arch Traveler kept close tabs in second, while impressive debut winner Nacho Business (Rahy) was tugging in midpack. Arch Traveler struck the front at the top of the stretch and edged clear through one mile in 1:39, but Nacho Business commenced a steady rally inside the furlong. Although Nacho Business kept chipping away at the margin, Arch Traveler had three-quarters of a length to spare at the wire. The final time was 1:52 1/5, well off the 1:50 1/5 clocked by Soldat (War Front) in the Fountain of Youth S. (G2) later on the card.
Bred by Monticule in Kentucky, Arch Traveler was purchased by his current connections for $260,000 as a Keeneland September yearling. The bay is out of the winning Silver Deputy mare Mettle, who is herself a full sister to Japanese Grade 3 victor Atago Taisho. Arch Traveler finished a troubled second in his debut at Aqueduct on December 11, and held on for a stubborn third after setting a pressured pace at Gulfstream on January 15. He had better fortune as the hunter next time out on February 6, driving to a 2 1/2-length decision, and Saturday's tally moved his mark to 4-2-1-1, $60,250.
At Fair Grounds, Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider's homebred Left turned back a challenge from his entrymate Sour (Lemon Drop Kid) in the 5TH race, spearheading the exacta for trainer Al Stall Jr. Left, a debut maiden winner on the turf last out on January 29, is now a perfect two-for-two.
Stretch-out sprinter Hydro Power (Aptitude) led the way through steady splits of :24 2/5, :48 2/5 and 1:13 2/5. The two stablemates, favored at odds of 4-5, came next in intent pursuit. Left was poised on the outside for Jesse Campbell, while Sour traveled comfortably in the pocket along the rail. Turning for home, Left launched his bid, leaving an inviting seam that Sour duly took. But that was the extent of Left's hospitality to his entrymate, for he kept on relentlessly and rebuffed Sour down the lane. Left remained firmly in command by a length, negotiating the mile and 70 yards in 1:43 on the fast track. Lumberyard Jack (Bellamy Road), the 6-5 second choice, brought up the rear after racing wide throughout.
The Kentucky-bred Left has now bankrolled $54,000. The bay gelding is the first foal from Leave (Pulpit), a full sister to multiple stakes scorer Laity and a half-sister to multiple stakes victress Joke (Phone Trick), herself the dam of multiple Grade 1 sprint star Zensational (Unbridled's Song). Leave is also closely related to stakes winner Passport (Pulpit), who is out of Leave's multiple Grade 3-winning half-sister Trip (Lord at War [Arg]). Interestingly, Leave's winning full sister Guide is the dam of another promising three-year-old, Escort (First Samurai), who broke his maiden impressively at Gulfstream Park last Saturday.