Jessica Chapel / Railbird

Beta

Mike Watchmaker on the Travers:

Alpha looked like he was going to win a few strides before the wire, but he was unable to completely close the deal. It was almost as if no one really wanted it.

That’s the trouble with Alpha (from this handicapper’s perspective). He’s a beautifully made and classy horse — and his exquisite pedigree and innate talent have carried him a classic distance — but he lacks the heart to live up to his name. Alpha is a yielder: Challenged, or facing a horse who wants the lead more, he hangs back. To watch the 2012 Wood Memorial, for instance, is to see a horse capable of more, but perfectly happy to run second.