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HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

The Travers will Crown a Champion

 

Of the last dozen winners of the Mid-Summer Derby, only two went on to be crowned American Champion Three-Year-Old Male. I’m willing to bet that number will change to three at the end of 2013. How can I feel so confident of a race that is neither part of the Triple Crown nor the Breeders’ Cup? Simple, this year’s Travers is shaping up to be the defining race of the division. Let’s take a look at the division’s top contenders as they stand today.


Clearly, each of the three winners of the Triple Crown series deserve to be rated near the top. Orb’s rousing win in the Kentucky Derby, coupled with solid wins in the Florida Derby and Fountain of Youth, leave him with solid credentials. Despite defeats in the Preakness and Belmont, the son of Malibu Moon is one big win away from an Eclipse Award. Palace Malice, meanwhile, is the now horse. After being a ‘watch out for him’ type all spring, the Dogwood runner has stepped up in a big way in his last two starts. An easy victory in the Belmont Stakes was followed by a fast winning performance in the Jim Dandy. Another big win in a few weeks would probably be too much for his year-end competition to overcome. Finally, there is Oxbow. The Preakness victor has been a dogged performer this year, but his absence from the Travers will likely be too much for his 2-of-8 seasonal record, including four out-of-the money finishes, to overcome.


The other two sophomores with the talent to crack my Top 5 rankings of three-year-old males are Verrazano and Departing. While Departing is a horse who I believe will prove to be belonging with the other four, the truth is dominating victories in the Illinois Derby and West Virginia Derby are not important enough to be considered a serious candidate for an Eclipse Award. A Travers victory could have placed him in the discussion, but his connections are not looking that way at this time. Verrazano, on the other hand, has done enough to merit consideration. With a 6-of-7 mark, including four graded stakes wins, and most recently a tour-de-force in the Grade 1 Haskell, the son of More Than Ready only needs to beat top competition on the big stage of Saratoga to move to the top of the class.

 

 

Even without Oxbow and Departing, a showdown between Orb, Palace Malice and Verrazano in the Travers is mouth watering. A win by any of the three  at ten furlongs will make them the king of the hill, and in my opinion, on the fast track to a championship. In fact, I only see three reasonable scenarios in which the winner of the Travers and the winner of the Eclipse Award will not be the same horse.

 


-A big upset in the Travers will leave the division in disarray. Will Take Charge anyone?


-A three-year-old, that is not the Travers winner, goes on to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic. You just know Lukas and Oxbow will give it a try.


-A decisive reversal of fortune in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. Say if Orb’s rally in the Travers is too late, but then he returns to beat his slayer in strong fashion in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, it could be a case of last one standing gets the spoils.


While each scenario is possible, with probably the last being the most buyable, I’m sticking with my original statement … The Travers winner will be crowned American Champion Three-Year-Old Male. 

 

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Older Comments about The Travers will Crown a Champion...

I think the race is up in the air.
What will happen when Will Take Charge wins the Travers.I seriously doubt thathe will be given the honor.To many assumptions are being made that this is a 3 horse field and the rest are extras like in the movies to fill out the cast.The race is run at 1 1/4 miles. it is a different tactical race then the recent preps at 1 1/8th of a mile. forget that PM won at a longer distance.At that distance hoses either like it or they don't,there is no middle ground.Orb winning at this distance was not a true test of his love for the distance.the terrible track conditions that day compromised the chances of almost half of the field. so who will be the pacesetter in this.Are the connections comfortable that their charge will negotiate the extra distance,will someone make a premature move.If this were at 1 1/8th,my pick would either be Verrazno or Palace malice. i would lean to Verrazano because he seems to have the most natural ability of all the name horses. But this is at 1 1/4 miles. That will be the great equalizer.
IF Orb is half the colt he has the potential of being, this super charging time off will really help
Thanks Mary..lol. He could be right.
The Haskell and Travers double is rare just like The Belmont and Travers Double, So I'll take PB and WTC as of right now.
EP, I'll take a crack at the translation. Either Oxbow should have or has to be refreshed/rested to the TRavers. Maybe he meant that Oxbow shouldn't have run in the Haskell not sure. Also not sure if he's calling D.Wayne Lukas John Wayne. The rest is pretty clear. Looks like he's saying while Palace Malice will be the favorite and as a son of Curlin should like the 10f, Orb could win(could surprise?). He says that the Haskell is not the Travers and that Verrazano could take third. The numbers mean 10f and the total purse.
I would love to know what Toni is posting. He always writes up big posts, and seems to have a good opinion. I just can't understand. Google translate doesn't help...lol.
it very well could be a determining factor for 3 y/o colt. I am really excited for this, as of now I would say Orb/Verrazano
Orb’s on a two race losing streak and had to freshen for the Travers. It seems like he’s regressing while Palace Malice is coming into his own, and the same can be said for WTC. Both have stronger 10 furlong pedigrees as well. The triple crown can take a toll on a horse and maybe Orb is just the latest victim. To me he’s a definite play against.
el haskel no es lo mismo... y oxbow era un caballo cansado..hay que dar descanso sobre todo a ese tipo de caballos..preakness y travers... "hay que ansiarlos"..hoy a jhon wayne un "0"...un caballo con mucha chance estando bien en el travers..
oxbow... tenia que haber descansado y esperar al travers... mal para jhon wayne...mejor descansar y correr travers... 2.000 y 1.000.000 $... "favorito palace malice"..pero posiblemente gane orb.. puede ser sorpresa..para 2.000 m peor que el hijo de curlin.. "pero está muy fuerte y en casa"... verrazano no lo veo..sinceramente..puede ser tercero
Regardless of the outcome, This in my opinion, is going to be the Race of the Year!
I so Love Verazanno but its very hard to go against Orb in the 1 1/4 race! If Todd has Verazanno ready for the xtra distance I look for Verazanno to do it but Orb the stalker scares me to death!
Big fan of Orb and PM, my favorite has been Oxbow, but I think Verrazano looked like a world beater in the Haskell.
just about the time that LOGIC dictates a single contest will add clarity to a championship division, real life comes along randomly and alters that plan!
my pick will have to be palice malice a horse that is still improving . he has speed an stamina a rare quality in horses so thats why i think he my be a really nice horse im looking for a big effort in the travers go dogwood and cot campbell hes a class act
guys i agree this could be a classic race .
My gut tells me that Orb will return fresh and will be hard to beat. Sure, he might lose but it's going to take a huge effort. Top choice to get by Orb would probably be Verrazano if he runs
This could be the best Travers since Alysheba, Bet Twice, Java Gold. Just hope the weather is better this time. That is one thing about Saratoga, the weather and track condition can always be a factor.
All reports are that Orb is thriving at Fair Hills. Will the move back to the race track be a factor?

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing since birth. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 
  
As Managing Editor of Horse Racing Nation, Brian authors a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and adds his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Brian also serves on the the Board of Directors of ReRun Thoroughbred Adoption and is a Vox Populi committee member. 
  
A graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives in Suburban Chicago with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra, where he is a professional golf instructor when he is not following the horses.