Let’s look at the contenders, the odds, two live longshots and Travers Stakes picks.
Date and Time: Saturday, August 26, 2017, 5:44 p.m. ET
Location: Saratoga Race Course, Saratoga Springs, NY
Favorite on Travers Stake Odds: Tapwrit (7/2)
Travers Stakes TV Coverage: NBC
2017 Travers Stakes Field
#1 Cloud Computing, Chad Brown, Javier Castellano, 8-1
#2 Giuseppe the Great, Nick Zito, Tyler Gaffalione, 20-1
#3 West Coast, Bob Baffert, Mike Smith, 4-1
#4 Tapwrit, Todd Pletcher, Jose Ortiz, 7-2
#5 Good Samaritan, Bill Mott, Joel Rosario, 5-1
#6 Girvin, Joe Sharp, Robby Albarado, 10-1
#7 Always Dreaming, Todd Pletcher, John Velazquez, 6-1
#8 Lookin At Lee, Steve Asmussen, Ricardo Santana Jr., 30-1
#9 McCraken, Ian Wilkes, Brian Hernandez Jr., 12-1
#10 Irap, Doug O’Neill, Mario Gutierrez, 8-1
#11 Gunnevera, Antonio Sano, Edgard Zayas, 20-1
#12 Fayeq, Kiaran McLaughlin, Luis Saez, 30-1
Tapwrit is the Belmont winner and he is the morning line favorite for trainer Todd Pletcher. The concern with this horse is that he has had no prep race between winning the Belmont and the Travers. It is hard to be too confident in a horse with no recent races as the favorite.
West Coast is trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Mike Smith. He is listed as the 4-1 second betting choice. He has two impressive stakes wins but the field in the Los Alamitos was weak. I think he is overvalued at odds of 4-1.
Good Samaritan is trained by Bill Mott and will be ridden by Joel Rosario. He is listed at 5-1. You can make a case that he should be favored to win this race. He beat Always Dreaming and Cloud Computing in the Jim Dandy. Why not a Spa Double for Good Samaritan?
Always Dreaming is trained by Pletcher and ridden by John Velazquez. He won the Kentucky Derby and the Florida Derby but he is 0-for-2 at Saratoga which is definitely a concern. Pletcher said recently he believes Always Dreaming is ready for a big race. “We’ve done a better job with him coming into this race,” he said. “Honestly, I think we probably left him a little short for the Jim Dandy. I wasn’t anticipating quite as demanding of a racetrack that it turned out to be at that time.”
Cloud Computing is listed at 8-1 and he finished last in the Jim Dandy so it is hard to get too excited about his chances. The horse got a perfect trip to win the Preakness and other than that race has done nothing in stakes races.
I think there is a ton of value in Girvin at odds of 10-1. He suffered a quarter crack before the Kentucky Derby. He looked good in winning the Haskell and the Ohio Derby. I think he can be right there for the win on Saturday. Another horse to consider at big odds is Gunnevera who won the Fountain of Youth. The horse loves Saratoga and could be a late threat.
The 148th edition of the Travers Stakes will be run at a mile and a quarter at Saratoga Race Course. The record time is 1:59.36 which was set last year by Arrogate. This will be just the third time in history that all three Triple Crown race winners will meet in the Travers. Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellanos holds the record for most jockey wins with five. He has won two of the last three Travers. The best post position in this race is No. 4, as that post has won 21 times. The betting favorite in the Travers has won this race 43.8% of the time but in the last 20 years, the favorite has won just 30% of the time.
Travers Stakes Picks
This field is loaded with talent, as any number of horses could win. I will take Good Samaritan as my top choice at the best sportsbooks and Girvin as my longshot.