For a printable, PDF version of the graded line for Travers Stakes 148 by The Green Sheet, click HERE.
National weather service forecast for Saratoga Springs, New York:
Saturday, August 26: Sunny with a high near 73 degrees. Calm wind
RACE ELEVEN–The Travers Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G1)
Post time: 5:35 P.M. Eastern
Television coverage: NBC from 4:30-6:00 P.M. (Eastern)
The bay colt GOOD SAMARITAN was always a nice turf horse, but the son of Harlan’s Holiday really came to hand when he tried the dirt—a surface that he is bred top and bottom (he’s out of a Pulpit mare) to relish—for the first time in the local prep for Travers Stakes 148 (G1), the Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) at Saratoga on July 29. He not only beat fellow Travers entrants and grade one winners ALWAYS DREAMING and CLOUD COMPUTING, but also left them in his wake in the stretch after demonstrating an eye-catching turn of foot from off the pace to win his main track debut going away by four and three-quarter lengths. He seems to be rounding into form for Hall of Fame conditioner Bill Mott and if he pairs up his big effort in the Jim Dandy (G2), he’ll take all the beating in this spot. The early pace should be reasonable, he rallied into a moderate pace in his last start, and has fired from off the pace in all seven of his previous races on turf and dirt. His price figures to be in the 5-1 range in a great betting affair—one of the most competitive races of 2017 to date; choice.
2017 Belmont Stakes (G1) hero TAPWRIT has legitimate excuses in both his off-the-board efforts this year, as his chances were severely compromised in the Kentucky Derby (G1) when he was forced in at the start, and even more so in his penultimate effort in the Blue Grass Stakes (G2), where he broke flat-footed and spotted the field several lengths in a race that didn’t have a lot of front-running types over a racetrack that favored speed. $1.2 million son of Tapit should get a great stalking trip breaking from the four-hole under jockey Jose Ortiz, Jr., the meet’s leading rider who had a five-bagger on Monday’s card at The Spa. He can stay a 10-furlong trip, comes into the race fresh, and has run well in all three of his previous starts off the shelf; formidable.
The consistent GIRVIN is less than a length from being a perfect six-for-six over “fast” racetracks and, like many, was the recipient of a rough trip in the Kentucky Derby (G1) back in early May—the only the race in which the son of Tale of Ekati has finished out of the money. He’s a handy horse that is capable of winning on the front end or by closing from off the pace and that versatility will certainly serve him well in this spot. He has been in fine fettle since he got some time off after his Kentucky Derby (G1) effort, a race he went into battling a quarter-crack issue. He gamely beat a good field including fellow entrant MCCRAKEN in the Haskell Invitational (G1) in his last start and was unlucky to lose the Ohio Derby (G2) to IRAP. He still has room in the tank for improvement making his third start off the shelf and is sitting on a sharp :59 4/5 “bullet” move over the Oklahoma strip since his win in New Jersey. His 10-1 morning line only adds to his appeal; contender.
In a year which the sophomores have beaten up on one another, the Tiznow colt IRAP in an interesting hors that could be considered the three-year-old divisional leader by virtue of his wins over TAPWRIT and MCCRAKEN in the Blue Grass Stakes (G2), and over GIRVIN in the Ohio Derby (G2). The West Coast invader comes into the 2017 Travers Stakes (G1) off an impressive five-length score in the Indiana Derby (G3) where he beat Colonelsdarktemper, who came back to win the West Virginia Derby (G3) on August 5, and he’s another handy horse that is just as effective on or near the lead as he is from off the pace. Throw out his effort in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and his form is very salty, as he has won his past three starts over a “fast” surfaces, all in graded stakes races. His versatile running style will help him overcome the wide post draw, and Southern California shipper Arrogate won this race last year. His price figures to be in the 5-1 to 8-1 range; foolish to slight his chances.
Header image: “Walking Ring, Greentree Stable, Saratoga,” oil on panel by Vaughn Flannery (American, 1898 – 1955)