Saturday’s Travers Stakes from Saratoga has drawn
a field of 10 contenders, who look for their share of the contest’s $1,000,000
purse. NBC will provide national television coverage of the annual
battle, which is scheduled for 5:45 p.m. (ET).
Top four challengers meet again after recent
No. 9 Stay Thirsty and No. 7 Coil have been
listed as the race’s top morning-line favorites, with odds of 5/2 and 3/1,
respectively. Stay Thirsty won Saratoga’s Jim Dandy Stakes last month,
capturing the duel by four lengths, following a second-place finish in June’s
Belmont Stakes. Coil traveled east to Monmouth Park, four weeks ago,
after a 3-for-4 run at Hollywood to give trainer Bob Baffert his fifth Haskell
No. 10 Shackleford and No. 4 Ruler On Ice have
been familiar foes, clashing once again in Saturday’s showdown as 9/2 and 6/1
choices, respectively. Both rivals finished in second and third place behind Coil in
the Haskell, and will look for revenge as the top trio heads north to the
Spa. Shackleford previously captured May’s Preakness Stakes at
Pimlico, while Ruler On Ice cashed as a 24/1 long shot on sloppy dirt at the
Six-pack of outsiders look for a Spa upset
No. 2 Rattlesnake Bridge (8/1) and No. 6 Raison
d’Etat (10/1) represent two of the field’s greenest entries, with just five and
four starts, respectively. Rattlesnake Bridge is switching riders after last month’s win
in Monmouth’s Long Branch Stakes to John Velazquez, who presently has a
meet-leading 41 victories at Saratoga. Raison d’Etat hit the board in his last three outings, most
recently notching a second-place check in Saratoga’s Curlin Stakes, last month.
No. 1 Bowman’s Causeway invades the Spa from
north of the border as a 12/1 choice. The Ontario-bred challenger is 1-of-9 lifetime, hitting
career-high speed in last month’s $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie
No. 3 Moonshine Mullin, No. 5 Malibu Glow and No.
8 JW Blue round out the field as 20/1 long shots. Moonshine Mullin was second best in the Jim
Dandy, hitting the board at 37/1. Malibu Glow has come in the money with 4-of-5 starts,
including an allowance win at Saratoga, four weeks ago. JW Blue has picked up speed in his last two
starts at Delaware Park, resulting in place payday’s as part of the Barbaro and
Floor Show Stakes.
Overlays apparent in wide-open battle
Stay Thirsty had a career-best outing in the Jim
Dandy, but will face tougher foes here and is not worth taking as
‘chalk.’ Shackleford’s front-running style has not held on to hit the
board at greater than 1 3/16 miles, and should get outfinished again by closers
ready to strike past the Preakness champ here.
Ruler On Ice presents the most value out of
lower-paying choices, and will be included in my betting arsenal for
Saturday. Kelly Breen’s colt closed nicely in the Haskell and the extra
¼-mile here should give an edge against the rivals who outfinished him last
Moonshine Mullin and Raison d’Etat are long shots
that I will put pieces of my remaining bankroll on, with each having the
capability to hit the board here. Moonshine Mullin performed well in his switch to dirt for the
Jim Dandy and should be even more dangerous from there in this next spot at the
Spa. Raison d’Etat has come along nicely as a late-bloomer, with
speed in his last two outings that is hard to ignore against this crop of foes.
Selections: Ruler On Ice, Moonshine Mullin, Raison d’Etat.