Connections Pondering Breeders’ Cup Classic Or Dirt Mile For Travers Runner-Up Cyberknife

Brad Cox didn’t win the Eclipse Award as North America’s leading trainer the past two years by settling for second, but he couldn’t have been more pleased with multiple Grade 1 winner Cyberknife’s runner-up effort in Saturday’s Runhappy Travers (G1).

Cyberknife set a demanding pace for six furlongs in the 1 1/4-mile Travers before being overtaken by eventual winner and race favorite Epicenter leaving the far turn, then dug in and fended off both Zandon and Grade 1 Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike the length of the stretch to hold second by a nose.

“It was a super race. We don’t run second very often and we’re content, but I was fairly content with his performance,” Cox said. “There could be some what-ifs, but he had the one-hole. There was no one looking for the lead, and I thought [jockey] Florent [Geroux] gave him every opportunity to win. The winner sat right behind us on the rail and kind of got the same trip as us. I watch a lot of races and I could tell at the quarter pole we were in for a battle, and he fought on very, very well.

“I’m very proud of him,” he added. “He’s come a long, long way in a year. He was up here training last year and we didn’t know where he was going to end up or what kind of horse he was going to be. [Owner] Al Gold has been patient with him. It wasn’t the result we were looking for, but we cannot be disappointed in his effort. He fought very hard.”

Cox was pleased with the way Cyberknife exited the Travers, and he and Gold have begun discussions about what the plan is for the rest of the year including the Breeders’ Cup in November at Keeneland.

“He came out of it very good and looked fantastic this morning. I’m very happy with the way he looked,” Cox said. “Al Gold and I talked about it this morning. We may look at the Dirt Mile (G1) and the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) as well. If we have a race in between, I don’t know what race it would be, if we feel like we need one.

“He’s been non-stop. He hasn’t missed any training at all since we’ve started with him,” he added. “We don’t feel like we have to have a race. We’ll kind of see how things play out over the next couple weeks and we ship him back to Kentucky in probably a week or so.”

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