Orb takes on Powerful Pletcher Pair in Travers Stakes
Orb stamped himself as leader of the three-year-old division with an easy win in the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May, but subsequent losses in the Preakness and Belmont saw the Malibu Moon colt slip in the ranks as other sophomores threw their hat in for an Eclipse Award.
On Saturday, the bay colt has the perfect opportunity to reassert his claim on championship honors when facing eight rivals in the Grade 1, $1 million Travers (click for free pp's) going the Derby distance of 1 1/4 miles at Saratoga. Standing in Orb's way are the Todd Pletcher-trained powerhouse duo of Palace Malice and Verrazano.
While most of the attention will be focused on the top trio, trainer D. Wayne Lukas could provide an upset in the form of Will Take Charge. The veteran conditioner did just that in the Preakness, saddling Oxbow to a 1 3/4-length triumph at 15-1 in the Preakness. Will Take Charge sandwiched a seventh-place effort in that race between an eighth in the Derby and a 10th-placing in the Belmont.
Kentucky Derby runner-up Golden Soul, Romansh, a troubled winner of the Curlin S. last time, Virginia Derby (G2) star War Dancer and the very talented Transparent, who won but was DQ’d in the Curlin, add to the incredible depth of this field.
The Travers Stakes will be the 12th race on an 13-race card Saturday at Saratoga with a special first post of 11:35am ET. Post time for the Travers should be approximately 5:56pm ET. NBC coverage of the Travers Stakes starts at 4:30pm ET.
The field for the Grade 1, $1 million Travers
|C R. McGaughey III
|J R. Velazquez
|T A. Pletcher
|Will Take Charge
|D Wayne Lukas
|J L. Ortiz
|E J. Guillot
|K G. McPeek
|M E. Smith
|T A. Pletcher
|I Ortiz, Jr.
|K P. McLaughlin
Travers Stakes Undercard
The Travers card will be complemented by three additional graded stakes: the Grade 1, $500,000 King's Bishop for three-year-olds; the Grade 1, $500,000 Test for three-year-old fillies, and the Grade 2, $250,000 Ballston Spa for fillies and mares.
In the seven-furlong Foxwoods King's Bishop, Forty Tales will attempt to win his fourth straight stakes, having already captured the Derby Trial, Woody Stephens and Grade 2 Amsterdam, all at margins between a neck and three-quarters of a length. Salutos Amigos and Declan's Warrior, third and fifth, respectively, in the Amsterdam, also are probable for the King's Bishop, as are Quick Call top-two finishers Central Banker and No Distinction, and Let Em Shine and Majestic Hussar. Bad Hombre and Mentor Cane are possible.
The Test, also at seven furlongs, will serve as a rematch between Prioress top-three finishers Lighthouse Bay, Wildcat Lily and Irish Lute. They'll face Victory Ride heroine Baby J, I'm Mom's Favorite, My Happy Face, So Many Ways, and Sweet Lulu. Ju Ju Eyeballs is possible.
The Ballston Spa at 1 1/16 miles on the turf is expected to attract Laughing, who won the Diana on July 27 for owner Richard Santulli, as well as Diana fourth- and fifth-place finishers Samitar and Centre Court. Also probable are Better Lucky, Hessonite, Hungry Island, Miz Ida, and Somali Lemonade. Embarr is possible.
On Sunday, Saratoga will present the Grade 1, $600,000 Personal Ensign Invitational Handicap for fillies and mares. Two-time champion Royal Delta, who won the Delaware Handicap by 10 3/4 lengths on July 20, will attempt to make amends for her runner-up performance as the odds-on favorite in last year's Personal Ensign. The provisional field also includes Authenticity, who captured the Shuvee Handicap on July 20 at the Spa, Centring, Flashy American, Apple Blossom Handicap heroine On Fire Baby and Open Water.
Saratoga Race Course 2013 Summer Wagering
The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) will present a $500,000 Guaranteed Late Pick 4 every Saturday at Saratoga Race Course and a $1 Million All Graded Stakes Pick 4 on Travers Day, August 24.
Although NYRA offers daily Pick 4’s on races 2 - 5 and the final four races of the day, the $500,000 guarantee applies only to the Late Pick 4 on Saturdays at Saratoga Race Course. The Late Pick 4 is a 50 cent minimum wager in which the bettor must correctly pick the winners of the last four races on the card, usually beginning with race eight.
On Travers Day, August 24, the guarantee will rise to $1 million in conjunction with the 144th running of the Grade 1, $1 million Travers Stakes. The Travers is supported by three additional graded events: the $500,000 Grade 1 Test, the $500,000 Grade 1 Foxwoods King’s Bishop, and the $250,000 Grade 2 Ballston Spa. The Late Pick 4 is scheduled to begin with Race 9 on Travers Day.
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Travers Stakes Information
When: Sat, Aug 24, 2013
Where: 267 Union Avenue Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
Post Time: First post-time is 11:35am ET.
Travers Stakes History
The Travers creates memories every year, for thousands of people. Too many wonderful experiences to recount here, but some of those memories that have been shared by large numbers of race fans:
- In 1941, Whirlaway became the only horse ever to win the superfecta: he'd won the Triple Crown, then went on to take the Travers, as well.
- In 1962, Jaipur won by a nose-bob in track record time over Ridan, who was considered to be more talented. The long battle (the entire 1 ¼ mile) saw the two horses duke it out the entire distance of the race.
- In 1982, Runaway Groom (Champion Canadian three-year-old), who was trained by John DiMario, arrived at the Saratoga backstretch after a very long and exhausting season. He'd competed in the Canadian Triple Crown: he won the Prince of Wales Stakes, the Breeders' Stakes, and finished second in the Queen's Plate. Runaway Groom's Travers victory made him the only horse in racing history to beat the winners of that year's American Triple Crown in the same race. (Kentucky Derby winner Gato Del Sol; Preakness Stakes winner Aloma's Ruler and Belmont Stakes winner, Conquistador Cielo.)
- Point Given, a gorgeous, big, 17th monster, won the Travers on August 25, 2001. That day, Point Given drew a record Travers Stakes Day crowd, 60,486 fans. The race brought in a total betting handle of $34,529,273. This was also a Saratoga record to that date.
The Travers Trophy is known as the Man O'War Cup, and was designed by Tiffany & Co. The trophy was named for Samuel Riddle's great Champion: Mr. Riddle donated the trophy as the permanent award for winning the race. A gold-plated replica is presented to the winner every year, by a member of the Riddle family.
The Travers Canoe
The Travers Canoe has been a lovely tribute to the winners of the Travers, every year since 1961. Every year, the canoe is painted in the colors of the silks of reigning Travers winner. A canoe has been a fixture in the infield pond since 1926, but it wasn't until 1961 that the canoe became affiliated with the Travers.
The Travers always has been a race that sets the blood to flowing, whether you're a fan whose favorite horse is running; an owner or trainer, who's entered your prize horse or a handicapper whose reputation hangs on the line. The Travers has earned its nickname, the Midsummer Derby, because truly, this oldest of stakes races for Thoroughbreds is a test of the mettle of a horse. He-or she-who trots off the legendary track at Saratoga with the Travers flowers about his/her neck is a Champion, indeed-and a horse whose name is permanently part of the lore and history not only of Saratoga, but of horse racing, itself.