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Published on Aug 25, 2012
In an electrifying finish, favored Alpha came back to hit the wire alongside 33-1 shot Golden Ticket Saturday afternoon at Saratoga Race Course, resulting in the first dead heat in the Grade 1, $1 million Travers since 1874.
The 2-1 favorite off his victory in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy earlier in the meet, Alpha ran third on the outside behind pacesetter Speightscity and Stealcase through opening fractions of 23.51, 48.06, and 1:12.62 while Golden Ticket, who had only a maiden victory in nine previous starts, was tucked in fourth along the rail.
With Speightscity clinging to the lead as the field of 11 3-year-olds rounded the far turn, jockey Ramon Dominguez made a three-wide move with Alpha and gunned for the lead approaching the quarter pole. At the same time, jockey David Cohen sent Golden Ticket rocketing through an opening along the rail left by the flagging Speightscity and swiftly assumed command straightening for home.
Seemingly beaten as Golden Ticket began edging away inside the eighth pole, Alpha dug in through the final yards and, with his last lunge, hit the finish line in tandem with Golden Ticket.
At the wire, neither jockey realized they had both won their first Travers.