Stephens laughed. "That's as shook up as he gets." the trainer said.
Late in the race, it was McCarron who was shaken. After a very slow early pace diminished the chances for Brian's Time, Seeking the Gold made his big move. But Forty Niner, as is his way, fought back. "I got to him, but couldn't get by him," Day said.
Forty Niner won by a nose, with Brian's Time three quarters of a length back in third. In the winner's circle, a jubilant McCarron looked over at Stephens, who has won more classics than any living trainer, and said, "I can't believe this is your first Travers win."
During his long career the 74-year-old Stephens has started six horses in America's oldest major stakes race, but this was his first victory. Moreover, Forty Niner's win propelled the colt into contention for the 3-year-old championship and. with an autumn of racing yet to come, into the Horse of the Year picture as well. "Forty Niner's as game as they come." Stephens said. "And you ain't seen the last of him yet."