With all-sources handle exceeding $45 million each of the last two years, Travers Day at Saratoga is one of the more popular betting cards of the year. Don’t miss a minute of the action this Saturday, August 25.
The highlight, of course, is the $1.2 million Travers (G1), headlined by reigning juvenile colt champion Good Magic. The nation’s leading turf three-year-old male, Catholic Boy, is also in the mix, as are Triple Crown series veterans Bravazo, Vino Rosso, Gronkowski, and Mendelssohn.
The Travers has extra appeal this year due to the presence of the filly Wonder Gadot. Winner of the first two legs of the Canadian Triple Crown — the Queen’s Plate and Prince of Wales — Wonder Gadot is the first filly to compete in the Travers since 1979 and seeks to become the first to win the Midsummer Derby since 1915.
Four “Win & You’re In” Breeders’ Cup Challenge races highlight the undercard. The $700,000 Personal Ensign (G1) features a showdown between two of last year’s leading three-year-old fillies, champion Abel Tasman and recent Delaware H. (G2) winner Elate. A victory by either will make them the leading older contender for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1).
The $1 million Sword Dancer (G1), a prep for the Breeders’ Cup Turf, features the return of Manhattan (G1) winner Spring Quality. Also pointing to the 1 1/2-mile grass fixture are Grade 1 winner Hi Happy, recent Bowling Green (G2) dead-heat scorer Channel Maker, and Sadler’s Joy.
The $500,000 Ballerina (G1), a preview of the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1), will have as its solid favorite Finley’sluckycharm, with Lewis Bay potentially formidable off a dominating score in the Bed o’ Roses H. (G3).
There are two Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile “Win & You’re In” preps on Saturday. At Saratoga, the $600,000 Forego (G1) over seven furlongs will have a competitive field that includes Limousine Liberal, Whitmore, City of Light, Awesome Slew, C Z Rocket, and Warrior’s Club.
Del Mar will host the other Dirt Mile prep, the $200,000 Pat O’Brien (G2) also at seven furlongs. Likely favored is the John Sadler-trained Catalina Cruiser, impressive winner of last month’s San Diego H. (G2) in his stakes debut.
International “Win and You’re In” races this week:
In addition to the racing action on Saturday, the weekdays hold key Breeders’ Cup Challenge races at York as part of the York Ebor Festival. Watch and wager on the Juddmonte International (G1), Nunthorpe (G1), and Yorkshire Oaks (G1) here on TwinSpires.com.
To learn more, check out this highly informative piece by Kellie Reilly: