Travers Stakes: Saturday at Saratoga Picks and Analysis

Chris Adams

Saturday will mark the running of the “Midsummer Derby.” Essential Quality looks to add to his impressive career with a win in the Travers Stakes.

Watching the Travers

The Travers card will be covered from start to finish on the Fox family of networks. Players watching on TV will have to do a little jumping around as the coverage is on three different networks throughout the day.

This includes the Travers Stakes which will air on Fox. Most other races will be on Fox Sports 1 and 2. Check the NYRA TV schedule for details about when the coverage changes networks.

Handicapping the Travers Stakes

When making your selections for the Travers here are some helpful tips. NYRA updates jockey standings, trainer standings, and post position stats daily. Players can use these resources to help finalize any picks.

Players may also find it helpful to know that for seemingly the first time all meet Saratoga will remain dry Wednesday-Sunday which should allow for all races to stay on their intended surfaces.

Race 1

Post: 11:35 AM ET; Purse: $100,000 Maiden Special Weight, 1 1/16 Miles on Inner Turf; Entries: 12

Kicking off the Travers card is a maiden special weight on the inner turf. #10 SWEEPING GIANT has experience in this spot and of the ones with experience holds the edge in a lot of key handicapping factors. #5 MARTINI’NMOONSHINE and #4 SPIN WHEEL are prices, but have breeding to suggest this spot could fit them nicely. #7 DOCTOR DAVIS will look to get the lead early. If no one wants to pass it could be a wire job. Finally, #8 SPEAKING SCOUT has competitive numbers to the other experienced horses in this spot and is definitely worthy of inclusion.

  • Selections: 105-4-7-8

Race 2

Post: 12:08 PM ET; Purse: $100,000 Maiden Special Weight, 6 Furlongs on Dirt; Entries: 7

The two year olds continue in the 2nd race. #4 HOIST THE GOLD holds an edge in a lot of key categories. If the horse doesn’t go cold on the board most of my play will go through him. #1 BACK TO NORMAL currently holds the best record at the distance in his young career while #2 DR. PERRY boasts the top breeding rating. Both are worth a look. #6 ILLUSTRIOUS has the human connections on his side and that can often have a huge influence on how quickly horses can reach their potential.

  • Selections: 4-1-2-6

Race 3

Post: 12:44 PM ET; Purse: $103,000 Allowance, 1 1/16 Miles on Turf; Entries: 9

#3 GOLDEN PLUME is a midpack runner with great connections and the best record on the surface and distance. Meanwhile #5 TRINNI LUCK will be much more forwardly placed and could get the first jump on the leaders making her tough to pass. #1A SPARKLING SKY is rounding into form beautifully and may be sitting on a big one.#8 LOVE AND THUNDER will be coming late which is far more effective on turf than dirt. With so many good late runners in front of her I worry she may come up just a hair short today.

  • Selections: 3-5-1a-8

Race 4

Post: 1:17 PM ET; Purse: $400,000 Ballston Spa S., 1 1/16 Miles on Inner Turf; Entries: 6

As we roll into Travers day Chad Brown has surpassed Mike Maker as the leading trainer and will look to add to that here. #3 VIADERA and#6 KALIFORNIA QUEEN both go out for his barn and look formidable. If Brown’s runners don’t win I like #4 NEW YORK GIRL to get the best of the race flow and score the upset. Another potential upsetter is the #5 PLATINUM PAYNTER who boasts the best pace numbers in the field.

  • Selections: 3-6-4-5

Race 5

Post: 1:54 PM ET; Purse: $85,000 Maiden Special Weight, 6 1/2 Furlongs on Dirt; Entries: 9

My best bet of the day comes in the 5th on Travers day as the #4 WHITTINGTON PARK grades out highest in 6 of the 9 key handicapping factors I look at. Underneath I will use the classy #5 RAW COURAGE and the co-top rated horse by Brisnet, #7ERIDROMOS.

  • Selections: 4-5-7 (Best Bet #4)

Race 6

Post: 2:26 PM ET; Purse: $103,000 Allowance, 5 1/2 Furlongs on Turf; Entries: 12

The 6th race is a pretty wide open affair. Overall, I prefer #5 STAGE LEFT who has a good combination of stamina and class. Equally prominent on my tickets will be #11 BIG PACKAGE who has the best form of late and looks to get the best race flow based on how the track has been playing. This combination of factors has been deadly on the turf of late. #4 BABY YODA has the best speed numbers and is proven in turf sprints. With an outsiders chance #9 SHIRAZ will go here for good connections.

  • Selections: 5-11-4-9

Race 7

Post: 3:02 PM ET; Purse: $500,000 Ketel One Ballerina H., 7 Furlongs on Dirt; Entries: 7

The Travers card features 6 graded stakes races and this one gets it all started.

#1 GAMINE is ultra fast and may be lone speed. If she hits the lead without pressure, start lining up at the windows to cash your tickets. #7 CE CE has been an ultra hard trying horse for Mike McCarthy and has really good class figures. Finally, #4 TRUTH HURTS might be worth a flyer as her pace numbers are solid within the field.

  • Selections: 1-7-4

Race 8

Post: 3:37 PM ET; Purse: $600,000 Forego S., 7 Furlongs on Dirt; Entries: 8

#7 YAUPON could get the perfect trip in this spot and take down the purse. The #1 MISCHIEVIOUS ALEX is dangerous but probably can only win if he gets the lead and keeps it. #8 FIRENZE FIRE has the heart of a champion and I want him on my tickets. #3 LEXITONIAN surprised in his last race but showed he belongs in this type of company.

  • Selections: 7-1-8-3

Race 9

Post: 4:12 PM ET; Purse: $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial S., 7 Furlongs on Dirt; Entries: 6

Four races before the featured Travers Stakes players may be treated to an epic heavyweight match. #2 JACKIE’S WARRIOR and #6 LIFE IS GOOD may the two most brilliantly fast horses in the country. If the latter is back in good form after the long layoff these two should be throwing down on the front end. If they wilt in the late stages look for someone from off the pace such as #1 DRAIN THE CLOCK or #3 NEWBOMB.

  • Selections: 2-6-1-3

Race 10

Post: 4:47 PM ET; Purse: $600,000 Personal Ensign S. Presented by Lia Infiniti, 1 1/8 Miles on Dirt; Entries: 9

#6 LETRUSKA is a really impressive horse that often gets forgotten about because there have been some long layoffs between her starts, but she looks tough here. #1 DUNBAR ROAD has gone off form but was once among the top tier in this division. If she gets back on track she could upset at a huge price. #4 SWISS SKYDIVER always comes to the big dances and usually puts up a good performance. Finally,#2 AS TIME GOES BY holds the best record at the distance, but from an ability standpoint might be in too deep here.

  • Selections: 6-1-4-2

Race 11

Post: 5:25 PM ET; Purse: $750,000 Resorts World Casino Sword Dancer S., 1 1/2 Miles on Inner Turf; Entries: 7

Originally thought of as a rabbit for other Chad Brown horses the #1 TRIBHUVAN has since proven that he’s a top level runner in his own right. #2 GUFO is another in with a chance with great form of late and a run style that fits the track like a glove. #7 CROSS BORDER comes from a barn that has been extremely good this meet and gets the top jock on board. Finally, the other Chad Brown #3 ROCKEMPEROR has to be considered.

  • Selections: 1-2-7-3

Race 12- 2021 Travers Stakes

Post: 6:12 PM ET; Purse: $1,250,000 Runhappy Travers S., 1 1/4 Miles on Dirt; Entries: 7

Other than the Kentucky Derby,#2 ESSENTIAL QUALITY has been perfect. He had plenty of excuses in that race and has come back in great form since. His road to the three year old crown goes through the Travers and he should be ready to go. If not the champ, then maybe #1 MIDNIGHT BOURBON can finally live up to the wise guy hype he seems to get every race. More likely though if Essential Quality doesn’t win it will be because of a late developer such as #5 MILES D or #6 MASQUEPARADE.

  • Selections: 2-1-5-6

Race 13

Post: 6:51 PM ET; Purse: $50,000 Maiden Claiming, 1 1/16 Miles on Turf; Entries: 16

This race is extremely tough to discern with so many entries at such a low level. Players will be wise to cover as many as they can when wagering on this event. As for the horses I like #14 BELLA PRINCIPESSA who has good stamina and has been in the money at the distance. #12 SISTER LUCK is another turf runner who seems to have an edge in both race flow and form. Looking more to the inside of the track #6 CONSTITUTIONALRAGE has been keeping good company and maybe gets a bit of relief here. Finally, if the #15 KILLOEAN ROSE draws in, she is a definite pace player.

  • Selections: 1412-6-15

Good luck on all your Travers day wagers.

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