Two years in a row, a son of Bernardini has walked into the winner's circle after the Travers. As YNN's Matt Hunter Reports, this Saturday the stallion has a chance to equal a feat that hasn't been accomplished since 1865.
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- Bernardini had his first dance with Travers history in 2006 when he blew away the field by more than seven lengths.
"It was really a nice horse and one of the best horses I've ever ridden in my career," said jockey Javier Castellano, who earned his first Travers win with the colt.
"They only come around once every so often and we were very lucky to have him in our barn," trainer Tom Albertrani said Wednesday.
Seven years later, Bernardini is still leaving his mark on the Midsummer Derby. In each of the past two years, one of his sons has walked into the winner's circle; Stay Thirsty in 2011 and Alpha after last year's dead heat.
Bernardini became just the fourth stallion in history to sire consecutive champs and the first since Fair Play sired Man o' War and Sporting Blood in 1920 and 1921.
"They've just been an amazing crop," Albertrani said of Bernardini's progeny.
"Alpha was pretty special because it was the Travers, Grade 1," said Kiaran McLaughlin, who trains Alpha. "He was a homebred for Godolphin and Darley, Sheikh Mohammed, so it was a very special win."
This Saturday, Bernardini has a chance to breathe even more rarified air. If either of his sons entered in this year's race, Romansh or Transparent, cross the wire first, he'll join the great Lexington as the only stallions to sire three consecutive winners.
Lexington sired nine of the first 15 Travers champs and the first three, starting with Kentucky in 1864.
"Hopefully he's as fast as his daddy was," Albertrani said of his colt, Romansh, at Wednesday's Travers draw.
"His father won the Travers, so he definitely has the pedigree," said McLaughlin, who will saddle Transparent on Saturday.
Set to run in Godolphin silks, Romansh and Transparent are both owned by Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai, the same man who owned Bernardini.
It doesn't hurt that Romansh's trainer and jockey make up the rest of the connections behind the 2006 champ.
"We work for we feel like one of the best teams in professional sports in Godolphin and Darley," said McLaughlin, whose horse will break from the far outside. "It would be great for Bernardini to have another Travers winner."
"I'm very proud to ride his son and hopefully he'll get it done also," said Castellano, who will ride Romansh.
"Maybe it's a good sign, same owner, trainer, jockey," Albertrani said of Romansh. "It'd be pretty amazing if we could pull that one off."
Romansh, who will break from the rail, is 12-1 on the morning line while Transparent's odds are set at 10-1.
The 144th running of the $1 million Travers Stakes is the 12th race on Saturday's 14-race card. Nine horses are entered.