The 142nd running of the Travers Stakes, the "Summertime Derby", takes place on Saturday and drew a field of ten that includes two of the three Triple Crown race winners from the spring, as well as the Haskell winner from earlier this summer and the Jim Dandy winner from the beginning of the Saratoga season. It is a very high-quality field that promises to give us a Travers Stakes to remember. Here is the analysis:
#10 Shackleford will be my top pick, as I anticipate him going to the front directly out of the gate and staying there until the end. There doesn't appear to be much speed that will go with him, which should allow Jesus Castanon to dictate the pace as he likes and conserve some of Shackleford's energy for the late stages when the closers make their moves. Shackleford displayed plenty of heart throughout the early part of the year when he made it nearly impossible to get past him if he was right. The horse that vanquished the Preakness winner in the Haskell Invitational, #7 Coil, is my second choice in the Travers. Check out that workout on August 23, a half-mile in 46 seconds flat. That is some moving, if you ask me. Martin Garcia and Coil have been a match made in Heaven for trainer Bob Baffert. The results speak for themselves, two graded stakes win and a graded stakes place since Garcia took over the ride. The Sire is the great Point Given, who should've won the Triple Crown ten years ago. The longshot to like in the Travers is #5 Malibu Glow. He is 20-1 on the morning line and seems live on Saturday after the Allowance win over the Saratoga surface on July 30. He is one of just two horses in this race with a win over the track (Stay Thirsty being the other). His recent speed figures are comparable with most of the contenders in here, so the value at 20-1 is hard to ignore. #9 Stay Thirsty will round out my top four in this race, although I am hard-pressed to understand why he is the 5-2 favorite over some of this stout competition. He has not been worse than second in three tries at the track and gets Javier Castellano aboard. Castellano just might be the best rider in the business right now. If he does come through and win this, it might just complete a Repole-Pletcher double, as stablemate Uncle Mo will be going postward in the King's Bishop in the preceding race. Here is the play for the 142nd Travers Stakes:
$20 WIN #10
$5 EX BOX #7+ #10
$1 TRI 7-10 with 7-10 with ALL
Remember, They Are Off accepts no responsibility for any wagers placed in conjunction with these selections. They are merely suggestions. Tune in again next week for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!