The post position draw for the 149th edition of the Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course was held at the Adelphi Hotel in downtown Saratoga this evening and a field of 11 will tackle the Midsummer Derby.
Good Magic was made the 2-1 morning line favorite by oddsmaker David Aragona off his win in the Haskell Invitational four weeks ago. Trainer Chad Brown also will train the second choice, Gronkowski (4-1) in seeking his first ever Travers victory. Joel Rosario will get the mount on the Gronk, as his Belmont Stakes rider Jose Ortiz will ride Good Magic.
He's yet to hit the board in his six career Travers — Gift Box was fourth in 2016. Having the top two choices gives the current meet’s leading trainer high hopes for Saturday’s mile-and-a-quarter trek. "I've been trying to win this race for a little while and having the top two choices in the race is a good spot to be in," said Brown.
Tenfold, the winner of the traditional prep race at the Spa, the Jim Dandy Stakes, drew post No. 10 and was assigned morning line odds of 8-1.
Some tidbits and fun facts related to Travers are noted below:
- Good Magic will try to become the sixth horse to complete the Haskell-Travers double, the last being Point Given in 2001. He'll break from post No. 9 for Brown who was happy with the draw and is less concerned with the distance. "I'd say mile and a quarter would be his limit, but he's certainly bred for it. I thought he ran a great race in the Derby. If he runs that mile and a quarter race back on Saturday, he'll be tough."
- Wonder Gadot will attempt to become the eighth filly to win the Travers (and first since 1915) and will break from post No. 2 for trainer Mark Casse. The Queen’s Plate and Prince of Wales winner skipped a chance at the Canadian Triple Crown to face the boys once again in the Travers with history beckoning. She’ll get a five pound weight break and should be well-rested off the win at Fort Erie on July 25.
- There have been 10 horses in history that have completed the Jim Dandy-Travers double, a club Tenfold will be attempting to join on Saturday afternoon.
- Javier Castellano will be looking to extend his record with a sixth Travers winner in Catholic Boy. His 2015 upset win on Keen Ice over American Pharoah broke a five-way tie.
- John Velazquez will ride Vino Rosso in his 18th Travers, one short of the record held by Pat Day and Angel Cordero Jr.
- Bravazo will become D. Wayne Lukas' 20the career starter in the Travers. He has three career wins in the race.
- The last favorite to win the Travers was Alpha in 2012, who dead heated with Golden Soul.
- Post position No. 4 has yielded the most winners with 21 since 1901. Post positions 12 through 14 has never had a winner start from those outside posts. Posts 10 and 11 have had one winner each.
The field for 149th running of the Travers Stakes (1 1/4-miles):
|2||Wonder Gadot||Casse||Ortiz, Jr.||5-1|
The News will have coverage of the Travers in Saturday and Sunday’s print editions and the usual online digital coverage of the undercard races..
Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, tweets @EquiSpace.