SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- Street Sense will enjoy a few more days at the spa, then it's back home to Kentucky to begin training for the next race of an already exceptional career.
Just when and where that will be remained the biggest question a day after the Kentucky Derby winner's hard-fought, half-length victory over Grasshopper in the $1 million Travers Stakes.
Trainer Carl Nafzger says he's looking at five possibilities that could serve as a tuneup for the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic on Oct. 27 -- Street Sense's grand finale before being retired to stud at Darley Stable.
"There are lots of different things to consider," Nafzger said Sunday morning. "Then again, there's the possibility we go straight to the Breeders' Cup."
Nafzger and owner James Tafel will make a decision when the time is right, and that usually occurs when Street Sense indicates by his training that he's ready to go again.
"The horse will tell us," Nafzger has said throughout the colt's campaign.
The choices are the Super Derby at Louisiana Downs and the MassCap at Suffolk Downs, both Sept. 22; the Hawthorne Gold Cup at Hawthorne Park in Illinois and the Kentucky Cup Classic at Turfway Park, both Sept. 29; and the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park on Sept. 30.
Meanwhile, Street Sense was "doing great" after a one-mile morning jog around the track -- about 12 hours after he "was a little stressed" in the winner's circle because of temperatures in the 90s.
"He's not showing any wear and tear," the 65-year-old Nafzger said while Street Sense munched on a patch of grass nearby. "He's an exceptional horse. He's met every challenge, and good horses do that."
Each race on Nafzger's list has an upside, but the trainer said his preference is a 1-mile race around two turns and a first test against older horses. The MassCap and the Kentucky Cup Classic -- run over a synthetic surface -- meet those conditions.
"Polytrack is not any disadvantage to this horse," Nafzger added. "It does work good and it is a very attractive deal to go right from your barn (at Churchill Downs) to Turfway Park."
Street Sense ran well over Polytrack at Keeneland in final preps before winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and the Kentucky Derby -- the dark bay colt was third in the Breeders' Futurity last year and was beaten by a nose in the Blue Grass three weeks before the Derby.
On the financial side, the MassCap has a larger purse than the Kentucky Cup, plus a bonus would be added if the winner of a Triple Crown race is entered.
The Super Derby also has a bonus, while Hawthorne is a home track for Tafel and the Jockey Club Gold Cup is the most prestigious race on the list.
Time will tell where Street Sense shows up next, but for now Nafzger is enjoying the moment.
"It's better tomorrow than it is today," he said, "and 10 years from now it'll be even better."
In his first extended stay at Saratoga in years, Nafzger almost can't believe his good fortune of sweeping the biggest 3-year-old races at the meet -- the Jim Dandy and the Travers by Street Sense and the Alabama Stakes for fillies by Lady Joanne. Jockey Calvin Borel has been aboard for all three winning rides.
"It's a story come true," said Nafzger, who teamed with Tafel to win the 2000 Travers with Unshaded. "It don't happen. It just doesn't happen. It happened, but it just doesn't happen."
Finish lines: In improving his chances to add the 3-year-old championship to his 2-year-old title, Street Sense ran his record to 6 wins in 11 starts and his earnings top $4 million. … Nafzger is the fifth trainer since 1901 to win the Alabama and Travers in the same year. … Helsinki, who finished third in the Travers nearly 11 lengths behind Street Sense, is set to run next in the Jockey Club Gold Cup.