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What Horses Should I Bet In the Travers Stakes at Saratoga?

Betting the 2018 Travers Stakes

A field of 11 sophomores will take aim at the robust, $1.25 million Travers S. (G1) at Saratoga on Saturday. And
what a field it is!

Morning-line choice GOOD MAGIC had an ideal prep for today when waltzing home a superb winner in the
Haskell (G1). Chad Brown pupil has never run a bad race and was second on this day a year ago in his debut
offering. Champion son of Curlin smoked a bullet five panels most recently and the Kentucky-bred will be
forcing the pace from the early stages. Regular rider Jose Ortiz will be in the saddle once again. He will be
formidable.

VINO ROSSO has been something of an enigma but could put it all together at a distance that is ideal for the
sophomore. Curlin colt, who bagged the Wood Memorial (G2) in the spring, finished a fast-closing third in
the Jim Dandy (G2) most recently. Chestnut ran in spots in his local debut but was full of run late, and he will
have the chance to rally into a swift and contested pace today. John Velazquez, the only pilot to ride the Todd
Pletcher trainee, has the assignment.

Grade 1 victor MENDELSSOHN was last in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and a distant third in the Dwyer (G3)
coming into this event. UAE Derby (UAE-G2) romper is given another try by conditioner Aidan O’Brien and we
are intrigued by the half-brother to champion Beholder coming to the states for another run at the top level. $3
million yearling is gate quick and could try to take the field all the way on the front end. The price will be right
with money rider Ryan Moore coming back to guide him.

Canadian dual Classic heroine WONDER GADOT, Preakness (G1) and Haskell (G1) runner-up BRAVAZO,
Belmont S. (G1) second GRONKOWSKI and recent Belmont Derby (G1) victor CATHOLIC BOY, add to the
awesome depth of the field.

Download the full, free, 2018 Travers Stakes Tipsheet for more bets!


Travers Stakes Betting General Overview

The $1 million Travers Stakes is an important race for three-year-olds in late August. Held at the famous Saratoga Racecourse in upstate New York, the 1 1/4-mile event is known as the “Midsummer Derby” and was first held in 1864, making it one of America’s oldest stakes races for Thoroughbreds.

Travers Day offers many opportunities for horses players. Betting handle totaled a record $49,668,753,760 in 2015, with 13 races offered in recent years, including several major stakes supporting the main event on the undercard.

The Travers features a large and competitive field in most years, with horses from the Triple Crown races and up-and-coming members of the division.

Don’t be afraid to back a horse with odds -- Saratoga is called the “Graveyard of Champions” due to its history of great upsets. Man o’ War and Secretariat, generally considered the two greatest Thoroughbreds in North American history, were both upended at the venue.

The 1930 Travers featured a memorable result when Triple Crown winner Gallant Fox, a towering figure of the era, was defeated by 100-1 longshot Jim Dandy. Triple Crown hero American Pharoah was upset by Keen Ice in 2015.

Four runnings of the Travers have featured Keen Ice (16-1 in 2015), V.E. Day (19-1 in 2014), Will Take Charge (9-1 in 2013) and Golden Ticket (33-1 dead-heat winner in 2012).


Travers Betting Archive

Who to bet in the 2017 Travers Stakes

This is the 148th running of The Travers (G1) at the historic Saratoga race track.  The Travers (G1) is restricted for 3-year-olds with a purse of $1,250,000.00.  This years running of the Travers has a very tough act to follow from last years’ edition as the winner Arrogate blazed the main track and set a new track record and the fastest running of the Travers. Arrogate stopped the clock at 1:59.36.  We will be breaking down each runner below for this years’ running of the Travers.

1. Cloud Computing (8-1)
Jockey: Javier Castellano
Trainer: Chad Brown
Owners: Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence
Career record: 5 starts – 2 firsts – 1 second – 1 third
Career earnings: $1,089,000
Pedigree: Maclean’s Music – Quick Temper, by A.P. Indy

Cloud Computing broke his maiden at 1st asking going 6 furlongs over the inner track at Aqueduct. Cloud Computing connections were so impressed with this maiden win, that they entered him in the Gotham (G3) over the inner track at Aqueduct for his second start.  Cloud Computing gave a very good account of himself as he finished 2nd to J Boys Echo and was 7 ½ lengths ahead of the show runner.  His connections wheeled him right back into the Wood Memorial and he was disappointing as he only could muster a show finish.  Cloud Computing connections decided to skip the Kentucky Derby after his effort in the Wood Memorial.  Cloud Computing would show up next in the entry box for The Preakness.  Cloud Computing drew post 2 at Pimlico for The Preakness, he rated in 2nd the entire trip as he let the Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming and Classic Empire battle it out on the front end.  Cloud Computing was tuned loose on the turn for home and he closed with authority to nip Classic Empire at the wire by a head. Cloud Computing’s last start was in the Jim Dandy and this time he went head to head with Always Dreaming and that effort didn’t do him well, as he finished dead last in a 5 horse field.  We feel Cloud Computing will perform better in the Travers, and his jockey will have to push him early from the rail to get a good stalking position. We consider him a major exotic contender.

2. Giuseppe the Great (20-1)
Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione
Trainer: Nick Zito
Owner: Mossarosa
Career record: 6 starts – 1 win – 3 seconds – 1 third
Career earnings: $287,500
Pedigree: Lookin At Lucky – Shawnee Moon, by Forestry

Giuseppe the Great only has a Maiden Special Weight win in his 6 career starts.  But he has run well in 2 of his 3 last starts.  But we feel he’s way over his head this Saturday in the Travers. He’s picking up 9 pounds from his last start and also running at the highest weight of his career.  It would be a shock, if Giuseppe the Great hit the board this coming Saturday. He’s a toss on our wagering platform.

3. West Coast (4-1)
Jockey: Mike Smith
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Owners: Gary and Mary West
Career record: 6 starts – 4 wins – 2 seconds – 0 thirds
Career earnings: $323,800
Pedigree: Flatter – Caressing, by Honour and Glory

West Coast is this year runner from Bob Baffert.  He enters the Travers on a 3 race win streak and has showed in his last two races that he doesn’t need the lead to win.  One thing to note, is that he had a different jockey up in the saddle during this 3 race winning streak.  But this Saturday he will have Money Mike Smith back in the irons for a second straight time.  But from our point of view, his winning streak will come to a halt today, as this is by far the toughest competition he’s faced to date. We consider him a minor exotic contender.

4. Tapwrit (7-2)
Jockey: Jose Ortiz
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Owners: Bridlewood Farm, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Robert LaPenta
Career record: 8 starts – 4 wins – 1 second – 0 thirds
Career earnings: $1,143,90
Pedigree: Tapit – Appealing Zophie, by Successful Appeal

Tapwrit comes into this race off an 11 week layoff off his win the Belmont Stakes.  But one thing to note is the Saratoga morning line maker, installed him the lukewarm favorite at 7/2.  This shows how confusing the 3 year olds have been this year.  Tapwrit’s only poor effort came in the Lexington at Keeneland.  We feel he just didn’t like the surface that afternoon. His last effort in the Belmont was his best race to date, and he was placed closer to the pace that afternoon. He doesn’t possess that quick turn of foot like most closers, but he has a relentless grinding style and it will pay off this Saturday at Saratoga. We feel Tapwrit is a win contender off the bench.

5. Good Samaritan (5-1)
Jockey: Joel Rosario
Trainer: Bill Mott
Owners: WinStar Farm, Head of Plains Partners, China Horse Club, and SF Racing Group
Career record: 7 starts – 3 wins – 2 seconds – 1 third
Career earnings: $767,616
Pedigree: Harlan’s Holiday – Pull Dancer, by Pulpit

Good Samaritan enter the Travers off a fast closing upset win in the Jim Dandy.  He’s actually bred better for the main track than his prior 6 starts over the turf.  Many feel he will be compromised as he’s a closer in a field lacking speed.  We totally disagree and think he rates as the strongest win contender in this field of under achievers. We were all over him in the Jim Dandy and he didn’t let us down that afternoon, He made a 5 wide move on the turn for home and swooped by the remaining of the field like they were tied to the rail. He’s our pick to win the Travers.

6. Girvin (10-1)
Jockey: Robby Albarado
Trainer: Joe Sharp 
Owner: Brad Grady 
Career record: 7 starts – 4 firsts – 2 seconds – 0 thirds
Career earnings: $1,574,400
Pedigree: Tale of Ekati – Catch the Moon, by Malibu Moon

Girvin has been treated like the Rodney Dangerfied of the 3 year olds.  His lone poor effort came in the Kentucky Derby, and he should have never been in the gate on the 1st Saturday of May. He was battling a quarter crack right after his win in the La. Derby. But his connections were hell bent on running him in the Kentucky Derby.  After the Kentucky Derby, they gave him a 7 week freshening and he showed back up in the Ohio Derby.  He ran well that afternoon, only to lose the bob at the wire to Irap. His connections wheeled him right back in the Haskell at Momouth.  This time he was on the right side of the nose bob as he nailed McCraken right on the wire.  We feel he will have a say so down the lane, but he’s picking up 8 pounds off his last effort and going a 1 ¼ this time. He’s a minor exotic contender.

7. Always Dreaming (6-1)
Jockey: John Velazquez
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Owners: MeB Racing, Brooklyn Boyz, Teresa Viola, St. Elias, Siena Farm, and West Point Thoroughbreds
Career record: 8 starts – 4 wins – 1 second – 2 thirds
Pedigree: Bodemeister – Above Perfection, by In Excess
 
He’s been labeled as the golden rail Kentucky Derby winner off his last two starts.  But he needed his last race in a big way. He came into the Jim Dany off a 10 week layoff and went straight to the front and was collard by Cloud Computing the entire way and once they turned for him he was all out to finish 3rd.  Always Dreaming will have a big shot to win this Saturday as he’s the lone speed of the race.  It will take either Irap, Fayeq, or Cloud Computing to put some pressure on him early and if they don’t Always Dreaming will be galloping on the front end and he will have plenty left in the tank once they real running commences down the lane. We feel he’s a legit win contender.
 
8. Lookin At Lee (30-1)
Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Owner: L and N Racing
Career record: 13 starts – 2 wins – 3 seconds – 3 thirds
Career earnings: $1,052,795
Pedigree: Lookin At Lucky – Langara Lass, by Langfuhr
 
We won’t be long winded on this one, as he’s a stone cold closer.  This race doesn’t shape up for him at all. We feel his connections should scratch from this spot and find a much more sensible race for him. He’s a complete toss on our end.
 
9. McCraken (12-1)
Jockey: Brian Hernandez Jr.
Trainer: Ian Wilkes
Owner: Whitham Thoroughbreds
Career record: 8 starts – 5 wins – 1 second – 1 third
Career earnings: $672, 228
Pedigree: Ghostzapper – Ivory Empress, by Seeking the Gold
 
He’s consistent as they come, he’s only finished out of the money one time in 8 career starts and that was in the Kentucky Derby.  His past two races have been very impressive and he was on the losing end of a nose bob in the Haskell at Monmouth Park last out.  Many of the speed pundits feel he’s not fastest enough to beat this group.  We agree with them, but we wouldn’t be surprised if he hit the board.  Look for McCraken to take up a nice stalking position in the early stages of the race. One thing we know for sure, is that McCraken will have on display his closing kick through the lane.  Look for him to hit the board on Saturday afternoon.  
 
10. Irap (8-1)
Jockey: Mario Gutierrez
Trainer: Doug O’Neill
Owner: Reddam Racing
Career record: 11 starts – 3 wins – 3 seconds – 1 third
Career earnings: $1,357,600
Pedigree: Tiznow – Silken Cat, by Storm Cat
 
Irap comes in as the now horse as he won 3 of his last 4 races all in graded stakes company.  We feel if anyone is going to be on the flank of Always Dreaming, it’ll be Irap.  Look for Mario to keep him within a length of Always Dreaming from the break, but that’s when it will all change for Irap. He’s facing the toughest competition to date and it will show down the lane this Saturday afternoon. He’s a complete toss on our wagering platform.
 
11. Gunnevera (20-1)
Jockey: Edgard Zayas
Trainer: Antonio Sano
Owners: Margoth
Career record: 12 starts – 5 wins – 2 seconds – 1 third
Career earnings: $1,277,200
Pedigree: Dialed In – Unbridled Rage, by Unbridled
 
Gunnevera peaked before the Kentucky Derby and wasn’t carrying good flesh when he entered the gates in the 1st Saturday in May. He’s another one is the field today like Lookin At Lee with no early foot. He’s very dependent on the pace and that will hamper his chances in a big way this Saturday. We feel, the only chance he has to hit the board is to run back to his Delta Jackpot race or the Fountain of Youth. Still, he’s a minor exotic contender at a price.
 
12. Fayeq (30-1)
Jockey: Luis Saez
Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin
Owner: Shadwell Stable
Career record: 4 starts – 2 wins – 0 seconds – 1 third
Career earnings: $99,520
Pedigree: Malibu Moon – Lotta Kim, by Roar
 
Fayeq is the new kid on the block. Fayeq comes into the Travers on a two race win streak, he’s only had 4 career races and has plenty upside.  Fayeq has showed more speed in his last two starts, prior to his 1st to career races.  He will have to go early as he’s parked the widest of this field. This is a huge jump in class and it will take more than a career effort from him to win this race. We feel Fayeq is in to deep this Saturday and is a complete toss from our wagering platform.
 

Wagering Strategy:

#5 – Good Samaritan – Win and Place
Exacta Key - #5 over 1-3-4-6-7-9-11
Exacta Key – 1-4-6-7-9 over #5

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