The Travers Stakes

The Travers Stakes is listed as race 12 on a marathon card of 13 at Saratoga Race Course, with a scheduled Post Time of 6:15.

Here is a look at the field for tomorrow’s feature event.

1. MIDNIGHT BOURBON [ML 9-2] Trainer: Steve Asmussen. Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.  In 10 career starts, he has hit the board in eight, with the exceptions coming in the Kentucky Derby and the controversial Haskell (G1). 6th in the Derby is not a negative and at Monmouth Park he was fortunate to avoid serious injury when he was cut off in the stretch by HOT ROD CHARLIE. He Won the Lecomte (G3) in January and has not found the Winner’s Circle since then. Like a couple others, there is no reason he shouldn’t run well again.

 ESSENTIAL QUALITY [ML 4-5] Trainer: Brad Cox. Jockey: Luis Saez. He is just one length shy in the Kentucky Derby from having a perfect 8-for-8 record. His seven Victories – which include three Grade 1s, two Grade 2s and a Grade 3 – tower over the rest of this field. He is the reigning 2-year-old champion, and a Win in the Travers would lock up the 3-year-old championship. ESSENTIAL QUALITY is not the kind of horse that racks up big Winning margins, he just keeps Winning races against the best of the division. 

3. KEEPMEINMIND [ML 6-1] Trainer: Robertino Diodoro. Jockey: Joel Rosario. He has earned $654,000 in 10 starts but he still has only a Maiden Victory to his credit. Since that first Win, he ran in nine Graded Stakes with five top three finishes, including the recent 2nd in the Jim Dandy (G2). He handled the 10-furlong distance in the Run For The Roses when he made up ground after a slow start. KEEPMEINMIND figures to be running down the stretch at Saratoga which cannot be said for many others in this field. 

4. DYNAMIC ONE [ML 6-1] Trainer: Todd Pletcher. Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr. Got his first Stakes Win when he rallied from 7th and last in the Curlin Stakes at Saratoga. In the Wood Memorial (G2), he had the lead but got run down by his long-shot stablemate. That qualified him for the Kentucky Derby (G1), where he was never comfortable in the large field or on the rail. Pletcher has two previous Winners of the Travers. His breeding says the 10 furlongs will not be a problem. 

 MILES D [ML 12-1] Trainer: Chad Brown. Jockey: Flavien Prat. This lightly raced colt earned a spot in the Travers when he finished 2nd in the Curlin Stakes in his third career start. However, this field is full of well-tested 3-year-olds with plenty of Graded Stakes experience. Even with all of his recent success, Brown would love to get his first Travers Victory. 

6. MASQUEPARADE [ML 8-1] Trainer: Al Stall Jr. Jockey: Miguel Mena. He burst onto the 3-year-old scene with his runaway allowance Win at Churchill Downs that served as a prep for his Victory in the Ohio Derby (G3). In the Jim Dandy, he was part of the early pace, raced gamely down the stretch, but could not match the top two finishers who went by him. That said, he is just as good as anybody here, except for #2.  

7. KING FURY [ML15-1] Trainer: Kenny McPeek. Jockey: Jose Ortiz. Has had three starts in 2021 – his exciting Victory in the Lexington (G3) at Keeneland in April, a 2nd in the Ohio Derby (G3), and then 10th in the Saratoga Derby (G1) when his trainer needed to get a race in him. His two dirt races this year make him a contender to beat the rest of the field. McPeek Won the Travers in 2012 with GOLDEN TICKET

Analysis: DYNAMIC ONE enters the Travers with strong Win in the Curlin Stakes earlier in the meet. He Won by 1 3/4 lengths over MILES D in a nine-furlong time of 1:49.36, which is faster than the 1:49.92 ESSENTIAL QUALITY posted when Winning the Jim Dandy Stakes one day later.

If not DYNAMIC ONE, KING FURY could also pull off the upset in his return to dirt if he can build on his close 2nd-place finish in the Ohio Derby in June.


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