The post position draw for the 147th edition of the $1.25 million Grade I Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course was held at Druthers Brewing this evening and a full field of 14 for the first time since 1977. Exaggerator was made the 3-1 morning line favorite by oddsmaker Travis Stone off his win in the slop in the Haskell Invitational four weeks ago.
Laoban, the winner of the traditional prep race at the Spa, the Jim Dandy Stakes, drew post No. 13 and was assigned morning line odds of 15-1, much to the surprise of trainer Eric Guillot. The Cajun trainer loves to play the underdog and Saturday’s big race will be no different.
The race will be televised live on NBC Sports (Ch. 2) from 4:30 - 6:00 p.m. and post time for the Travers is slated for 5:44 p.m.
Some tidbits and fun facts related to Travers are noted below:
- Exaggerator becomes the 31st Preakness winner to run in the Travers Stakes. He’ll attempt to become the ninth to win it. He’ll also try to become the 6th horse to complete the Haskell-Travers double, the last being Point Given in 2001.
- The Belmont Stakes winner will run for the 63rd time when Creator (15-1) leaves the gate on Saturday afternoon. There have been 29 horses that have won both races.
- There have been 10 horses in history that have completed the Jim Dandy-Travers double, a club Texas Laoban will be attempting to join on Saturday afternoon.
- Javier Castellano will be looking to ride a record sixth Travers winner in Destin (10-1) for two-time Travers winner Todd Pletcher. Last year’s win on Keen Ice breaking a five way tie.
- The last favorite to win the Travers was Alpha in 2012, who dead heated with Golden Soul.
- The fastest opening quarter time by a winning horse was 22 4/5 by Holy Bull in 1994. The fastest winning time in Travers history was by General Assembly in 1979 when he completed the 10 furlongs in 2:00 flat.
- Post position No. 4 has yielded the most winners with 21 since 1901. Post positions 12 through 14 have never had a winner start from those outside posts. Posts 10 and 11 have had one winner each.
- Two horses will have equipment changes on Saturday, American Freedom will take the blinkers off and Majesto will add blinkers.
- Chad Brown entered three horses for the Travers looking for his first win in the Midsummer Derby with Connect (4-1) and Gift Box (12-1), two horses coming out of the Curlin Stakes and My Man Sam (20-1).
- Bob Baffert drew the two inside posts with his west coast duo of Arrogate (10-1) and Haskell runner-up American Freedom (6-1).
The field for 147th running of the Travers Stakes (1 1/4-miles):
|3||My Man Sam||Brown||Franco||20-1|
|12||Creator||Asmussen||I Ortiz Jr.||15-1|
The News will have coverage of the Travers in Saturday and Sunday’s print editions and the usual online coverage of the undercard races here on the Sports, Ink blog.
Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, tweets @EquiSpace.