The 145th running of the $1,250,000 Travers drew
a field of 10 three-years-old to run the mile and a quarter. Bayern, the front running winner of the
Woody Stephens (G2) and the Haskell Invitational (G1), was named morning line
favorite [2-1] after drawing the #2 post position.
Interestingly only one jockey in this year’s field has ever
won the Travers. Javier Castellano has three previous victories in the Mid-Summer
Derby with Stay Thirsty in 2011, Afleet Express in 2010, and Bernardini in
2006. Castellano has the mount on 15-1 longshot, V.E. Day.
There are three trainers who have registered an earlier
Travers victory. Jimmy Jerkens won in 2010 with Afleet Express. Bob Baffert
scored in 2001 with Point Given. Shug McGaughey has won the Travers three
times, but not since 1998 with Coronado’s Quest. His other wins came in 1990
with Rhythm and 1989 with Easy Goer.
Commanding Curve [ML
15-1] – Dallas Stewart – Shaun Bridgmohan - Trainer Dallas Stewart, "We just need to be seven or eight lengths better than we were the last time."
Bayern [ML 2-1*]
– Bob Baffert – Martin Garcia - Trainer Bob Baffert, "The Haskell was pretty impressive. Will he take a step backward? I don't know, but he looks good. He's not a really big horse, but he's fast. He's a handy horse, and he's got a lot of speed. I'm not totally convinced he can go a mile and a quarter, but he's pretty fast. You just have to let him go and what happens, happens. You can't worry about it. When you have a horse with that kind of brilliant speed, you have to use it."
Charge Now [ML 15-1] – Bill Mott – Junior Alvarado - Trainer Bill Mott, "I thought Travers six months ago. I think he's got a lot of stamina to him. I think he keeps coming. There's some good horses in there and I'm sure there's some that will get the distance, as well, but I think he ran well enough the other day and is one that just keeps coming. I'd like to give him a try, anyway."
V. E. Day [ML
15-1] – Jimmy Jerkens – Javier Castellano - Trainer Jimmy Jerekns, "V. E. Day is really bred top-heavy for turf on both the sire and dam side, but he worked so good on the dirt, I thought I had to give him a good shot on the dirt."
Viva Majorca [ML
20-1] – Ian Wilkes – Julien Leparoux - Trainer Ian Wilkes, "He has been running in sprints; we couldn't get a race and I didn't want to leave him in the barn. I think he can run all day. With Viva we've given up a lot of seasoning for this race, but he's a very talented horse."
Tonalist [ML 3-1]
– Christophe Clement – Joel Rosario - Assistant Trainer Christophe Lorieul, "We didn't want to get stuck on the inside. He has tactical speed, but it really is his game being close up and behind horses. He wants to be in the clear. He has a very long stride. The No. 6 is a pretty good post. [Bayern] probably will go for it. We've got Wicked Strong outside of us, and he might go a little bit, too. It could be a good set-up. We don't want to be as wide as we were in the Jim Dandy, so [jockey Joel Rosario] will have to tuck him in a bit more. It's an extra furlong [compared to the Jim Dandy], but I think the horse needed the race last time. He's had two good works since then."
Wicked Strong [ML
7-2] – Jimmy Jerkens – Rajiv Maragh - Jockey Rajiv Maragh, "We're posted outside most of the speed horses, and it seems like a very ideal situation. I would think that Tonalist might show a little more speed; he was pretty close to the lead in the Belmont. The No. 7 post gives me a lot of options to see how the race unfolds and pick a good spot. We'll play it by ear and see how the race is going. The great thing with Wicked Strong is you can adjust with him; he doesn't have one specific running style. He's won close to the lead like last time and also has won from pretty much off the pace. Our hands aren't tied to doing anything specific."
Kid Cruz [ML
12-1] – Linda Rice – Irad Ortiz Jr. - Trainer Linda Rice, "He's a bit lazy and a stretch runner so I hope we have a pace in front of him to make it work. [Jockey] Irad [Ortiz, Jr.] was on the horse earlier at Aqueduct and when we came back to New York and needed a rider he was there, and he had done such a great job on him. I'd rather have things turn out poorly in the Jim Dandy than the Travers, so we hope it works out better this race."
30-1] – Ian Wilkes – Brian Hernandez - Trainer Ian Wilkes, "In his last race, I got the ride I wanted, but my horse doesn't like to be up that close. We'll take him back and make one run with him."
Mr Speaker [ML
10-1] – Shug McGaughey – Jose Lezcano - Trainer Shug McGaughey, "I'm fine with the outside. The speed is on the inside of him. Bayern being in the No. 2, Tonalist and Wicked Strong in the middle, it's fine. It will be interesting to see what they do. Bayern is a speed horse and someone has to go with him, so I'm fine with it. We can break and keep him outside of trouble, get him back and go from there."