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Video still of Travers & Whitney winner Will’s Way, who showed a surprising docile side to me and my camera. From his earlier antics, I feared he would grab either me or my camera from my position on the fence!

Video still of Travers & Whitney winner Will’s Way, who showed a surprising docile side to me and my camera. From his earlier antics, I feared he would grab either me or my camera from my position on the fence!

Post-Travers feels: It was a year for believers

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Palace Malice breaking his maiden at Saratoga last year.

I entered this year’s 3-year-old crop analysis full of skepticism and without enthusiasm. Compared to last year, we had a plate full of pretenders and early worms who were bound to get injured or go lame before long. Even more frustrating, it felt like every Triple Crown prep was laced with bias and poor trips by the better horses.

But once the Kentucky Derby rolled around, we all found a horse to believe in with Orb, who got good late and led us all on a thrill ride of big performances leading into the muddy Derby. I’m not much of an Orb fan; I knew he had the best chance to win, but I am too incorrigible to not back a horse I truly go gaga for simply because of bettors’ parlance. Some would say a loss by Orb in the Preakness would kill spirits, but it did not.

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Will Take Charge takes the Travers in a photo over Moreno

SO PROUD OF MY BABY MORENO! He almost did it. And Orb was beautiful up for third. So. Happy. My value pick Will Take Charge at 8-1 without blinkers with new rider Saez proved to be the perfect potion. Congrats to anyone who had him!

Verrazano conked out and fell back in the stretch, no real excuse.

Yeah…

Between Joel Rosario being out and those sprint races where 5 or 6 them have a shot to win, I probably won’t be doing the pick 4 today.

Ehhh… Travers All-Graded Stakes Pick 4

I say “ehhh” because there’s too many dang horses and not a lot of singling opportunity. I get a gold star for trying anyway:

The A column are horses I am definitely/almost definitely using in the event I bet. B are ones that I might use and in this case, the ones my brain liked but I’m still trying to weed out… like I said, too many gaw dang horses.

R9: Test Stakes - #2 Baby J and #9 Lighthouse Bay are capable horses who should be able to attack a rapid pace, which I am expecting with the shipment of #5 Sweet Lulu the heavy favorite who is making a first dirt start here and other speedballs. #4 I’m Mom’s Favorite had a super fast workout and gets long odds because of her bad clunker last out despite beating Lighthouse Bay in the past. #8 My Happy Face is consistent and cuts back in distance and #9 Wildcat Lily is another fast worker who has been generating some buzz and will [probably] try to wire the field.

R10: Ballston Spa - Feel pretty good about my top pick #4 Centre Court, a past G1 winner who will definitely benefit from a faster-than-normal pace, which she often just sits right behind. #1 Laughing [IRE] cannot be disregarded with Lezcano up and a recent G1 win here, and beating Dayatthespa to set a track record isn’t too bad either. #5 Hungry Island was 2nd in this race last year to BC Filly & Mare Turf champ Zagora [FR], and will look to close in. #6 Somali Lemonade has won under similar conditions and had a sharp breeze 2 workouts ago.

R11: King’s Bishop - Annoying race, likely to culminate in a sputtering speed duel won by a closer. #2 Forty Tales will be the horse to beat here, and I’ve also included #8 Declan’s Warrior who is always tough. Others to consider: #3 Capo Bastone, who has some back-class closing in on Forty Tales but is disregarded after a bad last start. #5 Majestic Hussar logged some progress in an allowance race here should closers fail to get the jump, #7 Mentor Cane… I forget why I liked him oops… I’M TIRED… and #12 Central Banker I added here off a sprinting win [on turf] purely because he’s a Speightstown. So sue me.

R12: Travers - Derp-free race, single at your own doom. I like #2 Orb best… hopefully Joel Rosario is ok to ride on Saturday… #3 Verrazano will try to stick to his hype and #8 Palace Malice should be around all day.

I’ll poke at this a little more, but I may or may not actually wager on this card. Sunday may or may not be better than Saturday with Royal Delta coming to town…

It’s a Sophomore Showdown in the Travers

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The last time many of the top horses in the Travers (I) met, it was a muddy, crappy day in early May, and Orb took advantage of a stir-crazy Palace Malice and unhappy Verrazano to race wide down the stretch to win the Kentucky Derby by daylight. A sunny Saturday months later and over a thousand miles away on a dry track could spell differently for these three and six others lining up to win the Midsummer Derby.

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I dreamt Verrazano won the Travers

But keep in mind I also dreamed Stay Thirsty and Alpha won their Breeders’ Cup Classics and both came in last.

I also had a heartbreaking dream that I had Cap’n Crunch cereal to eat when I woke up, but alas, no such luck.

Do you know what post time is for the Travers? I'm trying to figure out if I can watch it live or if I have to wait for YouTube.

Asked by webuiltthepyramids

I waited until after the draw to answer this… and yup, as suspected, it is 5:46pm EST. If New York has a big to-do stakes going on on a Saturday, you can pretty much bet it’s going to be at 5:45 or about that time. Not too early, not too late in the day.

Travers Shaping Up to Be a Wide Open Kind of Race

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And it’s not so much for reasons due to questionable quality. We have a few *consistently* good three-year-olds this year, each with his own set of pros and cons which could make for a really interesting Travers Stakes, which looks to be more and more of the deciding factor in who gets the three-year-old colt Eclipse.

  • Verrazano - Obviously going to be a big favorite after his Haskell (I) win. He’ll have 3 G1 wins if he wins the Travers, but the big questions are whether or not this colt will bounce off two romp-style victories (akin to how he almost lost the 9-furlong Wood after 2 similar wins) and if he can even get 10 furlongs on Saratoga’s testing main. He has always struck me as a potentially good miler type, but there seems to be plenty of speed in this race to complicate matters.
  • Power Broker - I’m still high on him. He looked rarin’ to go on the turn of the Haskell but it just wasn’t his day to win. He ran well and probably needed the race and is built to go 10 furlongs.
  • Orb - Big class edge and setup is going to favor Orb’s running style, and naturally, I like going with a horse who has favorable prior experience at Saratoga, which is a track that is naturally kinder to its local horses. But closers don’t have it easy and especially not here, and Orb will be trying to get his groove back in his first start in more than two months.
  • Palace Malice - He looked like the real deal with his Belmont and Jim Dandy victories, and obviously digs Saratoga a lot and will be tough based on just those two things. Very favorable off-the-pace runner should be taken seriously.

If I had to pick someone today, it would probably be Palace Malice. There are some other interesting “probables,” but these four stand to have the kind of class needed to win the Travers.

Good ol’ Buckpasser (Photo by Claiborne Farm)

Good ol’ Buckpasser (Photo by Claiborne Farm)

Going to the Thoroughbred races, keeping "track" of the memories. Obsessively providing a comprehensive and personal glance at the sport of kings through original photography, handicapping analysis, editorials, and much more.

Tracks visited: Calder, Saratoga, Belmont, Suffolk, Aqueduct.


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