Saratoga: Recent trends in Week 7 Saturday stakes

August 21st, 2023

The biggest Saturday of the Saratoga season this week features five Grade 1 stakes, led by the $1.25 million Travers (G1), a race which could go a long way towards determining the leading three-year-old male of the year.

Here are a few notable trends over the past decade regarding some of those top-level fixtures.

Travers (G1)

Saratoga is well known for being the "Graveyard of Favorites," but that hasn't applied to the Travers over the past three years, with Tiz the Law and Essential Quality winning at odds of 1-2 or thereabouts, and Epicenter scoring gracefully last year at even-money.

However, in the preceding seven years, favorites fared rather poorly, in general. American Pharoah was the notable scalp, but at least he finished second. Other favorites, like Verrazano, Bayern, Exaggerator, and Good Magic, finished well up the track.

Speaking of those four, the Haskell (G1) has really become a negative prep for the Travers. In the last 10 years, only Keen Ice (2015) has emerged from the Haskell to win the Travers, when he upset his Haskell conqueror American Pharoah.

Forego (G1)

Although post-time favorites have a strong record in the Forego over the past decade (five have won), odds-on favorites have been relative poison. Of the five favorites to have started at odds-on since 2013, only Mitole (2019) emerged as the winner. 

Among the vanquished were the entry of Fast Bullet (7th) and Justin Phillip (3rd) in 2013, Clearly Now (8th) in 2014, City of Light (2nd) in 2018, and Jackie's Warrior (2nd) in 2022.

H. Allen Jerkens (G1)

When it comes to where a Jerkens entrant last ran, keep all options open. In the past decade, three winners of the race prepped at Saratoga, two each at Belmont and Monmouth, and one each at Santa Anita, Ellis Park, and Laurel.