In recent history, there hasn't been a more influential horse in the Grade 1 Travers than Bernardini. The son of A.P. Indy won the “Mid-Summer Derby” in 2006 and has gone on to sire two winners, Stay Thirsty in 2011 and co-winner Alpha in 2012.
While 14 Travers winners have had offspring duplicate the feat, only Bernardini and Hall of Famer Man o' War have produced more than one.
Man o' War won the race in 1919, and sired subsequent winners Mars (1926) and War Hero (1932).
On Saturday, Bernardini will have two Godolphin Stable-owned sons in the 1 ¼-mile Travers: Transparent, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, and Romansh, from the barn of trainer Tom Albertrani.
“It's great,” said McLaughlin, who trained 2012 co-winner Alpha. “Bernardini's had not a great year [as a sire], but I have to say there's not been that many of them in America. A lot of them went overseas, so everybody's being a little hard on him. But, he's a great sire and a wonderful horse. To think that he won it and two of his sons won it, and now he has two more in it, obviously he's an outstanding sire. We hope one of us wins.”
A Travers victory would be particularly satisfying for Albertrani, who trained Bernardini to the 3-year-old male championship in 2006, his only season of racing.
“If I look at [Romansh] at certain times, I see a little resemblance, especially his head. He has that same portrait of him in certain angles,” Albertrani said. “Not only was it an honor to have the horse in my barn a few years back, and now having some offspring, it would be very rewarding if I could win it with one of his own myself. It would be a great accomplishment.”
Bernardini won the Travers by 7 ½ lengths, four weeks after rolling by nine in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy. Albertrani still remembers the stretch call by New York Racing Association track announcer Tom Durkin that day:
“Javier Castellano is like a statue in the stirrups aboard Bernardini, and they glide past the eighth pole with a five-length lead! Effortless performance by Bernardini. Look at this! He didn't break a sweat, and it's 90 degrees! Bernardini runs huge!”
“That was just a great race call,” Albertrani said. “He dominated this track. I feel good the way [Romansh] has been making steady progress. Like Bernardini, who only raced four times going into the Preakness, that's when he started hitting his best stride. I think this horse is doing the exact same thing. He's just training so well. It's all about timing, and this could be the right time for him.”
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