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The NYRA's crowd cap was wise idea

Spectators gather to view American Pharoah, right, in

Spectators gather to view American Pharoah, right, in the paddock before the Travers Stakes horse race at Saratoga Race Course on Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015, in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Credit: AP / Will Waldron

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - At 9 Saturday morning, there was little traffic on the main and side streets leading to Saratoga Race Course. Worry about the likelihood of gridlock was wasted energy.

The New York Racing Association's proactive move to cap the crowd at 50,000 proved wise. The backyard looked like a typical Travers day, packed but far from impossible to navigate. Walking sideways in tight quarters often was necessary, but predictions that "It's going to be a zoo" were wrong.

Twenty-six of the previous 38 Travers drew between 40,000 and 50,000 fans, with a high of 66,122 in 2003 and a low of 31,754 in 1979.

Star-studded pick six

The pick 6 featured a parade of top-class thoroughbreds, with five Grade I events leading up to the $1.6-million Travers.

Sheer Drama ($8.80) took the $750,000, 11/8-mile Personal Ensign for fillies and mares by 1¼ lengths for jockey Joe Bravo and trainer David Fawkes . . . Unbridled Forever ($8.20) rallied under John Velazquez for a length victory in the $500,000, 7-furlong Ballerina . . . Ellis Park shippers ran 1-2 as Runhappy ($24.60) beat 15-1 shot Limousine Liberalin in the $500,000, 7-furlong King's Bishop for 3-year-olds. The time of 1:20.54 set a stakes record . . . Private Zone ($5.20) scored by four lengths in the $700,000, 7-furlong Forego . . . French shipper Flintshire ($4) dominated the $1-million, 1½-mile Sword Dancer by 2½ lengths on the turf.


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