Travers Stakes Day Bettors Preview

Travers Stakes Racing during 2019 Saratoga Meet

2019 Saratoga Stakes Racing Photo via: DONNA ABBOTT-VLAHOS / ABR

It’s finally here! The Travers Stakes week at Saratoga Racecourse. This Saturday Saratoga Racecourse will be flocked with fans as six major stakes races happen that day. The Travers Stakes, the largest of the stakes races on Saturday, will run with a field of 8 with multiple major stakes winners including both Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike and Preakness Winner Early Voting both racing in the Travers.

Also in the mix is Jim Dandy winner and the favorite for both of the first two legs of the triple crown Epicenter who looks to take his second major stakes to win this summer following his impressive performance in the Jim Dandy. However for racing fans and bettors, the Travers is not the race to keep an eye on this Saturday, Saratoga Racecourse will also host the Resort World Sword Dancer Stakes, and the H Allen Jerkens Memorial. Here’s a look at the best bets for the Highlight of the Saratoga Meet.

Ballston Spa

The G2 Ballston Spa Stakes will open the Stakes racing at Saratoga this Saturday with Trainer Chad Brown’s Fluffy Socks leading the field at 7-2 odds. This year Fluffy Socks hasn’t won a race but has finished second in three of his four current starts. Here’s the thing to watch for in this race. Fluffy Socks last ran in the Winstar Matchmaker Stakes at Monmouth Park during the Haskell Stakes race day facing off against another Chad brown trainee Lemista who won the race by half a length. Lemista is also running in the Ballston Spa which is something to keep in mind before making your bet. Furthermore, the field has some other talented horses like Technical Analysis who stands at 1-1 odds. 

Forego Stakes

The second graded stakes race on this upcoming Saratoga Saturday is the grade one Forego Stakes. Steve Asmussen’s Jackie’s Warrior stands at 2-1 on the program. Jackie’s Warrior has had a huge year in racing wins including his most recent win in the Alfred G Handicap at Saratoga this past June. Some of his other major wins come from the G2 True North and the G1 Churchill Downs stakes coming from Belmont Park and Churchill Downs. Now the field is challenging in the Forego Stakes but I’d take Jackie’s Warrior as the winner. However, if you are picking your bets based on names there are some pretty good names in this race. Kneedeepinsnow and for our star wars fans Baby Yoda both will be racing in the Forgeo. 

Jack Christopher before racing in the Travers Stakes 

Photo via Emmitt Davis
Jack Christopher before Haskell Stakes Photo via: Emmitt Davis

H Allen Jerken Memorial Stakes

Race number 8 on the program is the grade 1 H Allen Jerkens Memorial Stakes with a strong field of nine racing. Congaher sits first in the post at 7-2 odds and most recently won the Housebuster Overnight at Colonial Downs. The thing to watch out for before betting on Congaher is that he most recently raced on August first which is a slightly quick turnaround for this race, but I’d still consider him when picking contenders.

Jack Christopher hopes to win his first racing following his defeat in the Haskell Stakes at Monmouth park this past July in this G 1 Stakes race and enters the program with 6-5 odds. Jack Christopher has blown away his competitors in his racing wins with his huge win in the Woody Stephens Stakes on Belmont Stakes day. Before racing in the Haskell where he lost to Cyberknife, who’s running in the Travers, with a combined winning margin of 25 ¼ lengths. Furthermore, Jack Christopher won the Woody Stephen’s Stakes by 10 lengths in 1:21 at Belmont Park. Though he lost at the Haskell Stakes I’d bet on Jack Christopher winning the grade 1 H Allen Jerkens Memorial Stakes. 

Personal Ensign Stakes

A small grid in the grade 1 Personal Ensign Stakes as only five is on the program. Ogden Phipps Stakes winner Clairiere, a Steve Asmussen Trainee, will battle it out against Molly Pitcher Stakes winner Search Results. However, one thing that needs to be noted in this race is that Clairiere has already faced off against all of her competitors. Clairiere just races at the grade 2 Shuvee Stakes at Saratoga beating Crazy Beautiful, who is racing in the Personal Ensign Stakes, by a length in 1.51.9. She also faced off against Malthaat, Search Results, and Letruska in the Ogden Phipps at Belmont Park. That will play a key in the Personal Ensign as a horse who already has proven better than all her competitors faces off against them again. 

Travers Stakes action from Saratoga during the mid summer derby. 

Photo via Erica Miller
Stakes racing during Saratoga Mid Summer Meet Photo via Erica Miller

Resort World Sword Dancer Stakes

The last race before the Travers is the Grade 1 Resort World Casino Sword Dancer Stakes with a field of 10. The favorites Gufo, who sits at 9-2, and Adhamo, who sits at 7-2, look to battle it out following their run in the G1 United Nations Stakes at Monmouth Park. Adhamo won the United Nations Stakes over Tribhuvan, who placed fourth, and Gufo, who placed fifth, and looks to do so again in the Sword Dancer. One thing to look out for is some of the international racers in the race. Broome sits in at 3-1 odds and comes from Ascot Racecourse making his first American start that wasn’t a breeders cup race. I’d take this into consideration as he is a horse that none of the other competitors have seen before which could play key in the Grade 1 Resort World Casino Sword Dancer Stakes. 

Travers Stakes

The final Graded race and the race that everyone has been looking forward to is the Runhappy Travers Stakes. A smaller field than other major stakes races with only eight on the program but a strong card of contenders. Epicenter looks to win his first G1 stakes race following his most recent G2 Jim Dandy Stakes win over Preakness Stakes winner Early Voting. However, Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike looks to rally once more following his poor finish in the Belmont Stakes. Unlike some of the other races where there is a real stand-out racer, the Travers has all 8 standouts.

Cyberknife just won the Haskell Stakes in Monmouth, Epicenter win the Jim Dandy, Rich Strike won the Kentucky Derby in a thriller, and Early Voting rallied to win the Preakness. Not to mention some of the other entries like Atorious who won the Curlin Stakes and Zandon who won the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland this spring. But if I had to make a pick for the Travers I would choose Kentucky Derby and Preakness favorite Epicenter to win.

Epicenter had two poor runs in both the first and second leg of the triple crown but made a great run in the Jim Dandy beating Early Voting. Sure he may have fallen to Rich Strike but judging on Rich Strike’s latest performance in the Belmont, Epicenter shouldn’t have any problem against him. Now I wouldn’t rule out Early Voting or Rich Strike they are still top contenders but will need to have strong workout runs before the Travers. 

Final Thoughts

So there you have it, a huge card for a great Saratoga Saturday. As we finally get back to normal times I’ll be looking forward to seeing everyone there. As we inch closer to the start of the Travers make sure to look out for our final Travers Stakes Preview. Good luck to all! 

To bet use NYRABETS for all up-to-date odds.

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