Keys to cashing in DerbyWars' Travers day survivor contest

August 23, 2019 10:55am
Keys to cashing in DerbyWars' Travers day survivor contest
Photo: Courtesy of NYRA

On Saturday, is offering a $2,000 Saratoga Travers Day Survivor Contest running from Races 4-11, which includes seven graded stakes races -- six Grade 1s and one Grade 2 as the sequence ending with the Mid-Summer Derby.

A spot in this contest costs only $5.75, and every player has the option to purchase up to 12 entries.

Here, I'll focus on how important it is to handle the favorites properly if a player is going to make a big score as one of a few winners or, ideally, the sole survivor. You must strike the right balance of using short prices that are probable to the hit the board and avoid the ones that don’t allow you at advance. Typically, it is when those vulnerable favorites run out of the money that the field of survivors narrows significantly.

Race 4 –
Performer (5-2) comes from the team of Phipps Stable and Shug McGaughey with a debut third at Aqueduct and then a maiden score at Belmont off a six-month layoff. Steps up to face winners for the first time in a field of 12. Vulnerable.

Race 5 –
Mitole (4-5) has never run out of the money in his 12 career starts, and I don’t see it happening in this field of six. Solid.

Race 6 –
Come Dancing (6-5) won all four times that she returned from a layoff and cuts back to an ideal distance. Solid

Race 7 –
Shancelot (1-2) has a perfect 3-for-3 record including that blazing victory in the Amsterdam (G2) last month at Saratoga that earned a 121 Beyer Speed Figure. He faces a field of nine, but isn’t he just too fast? Solid.

Race 8 –
Secret Message (3-1) ran fourth last time, but that was behind Chad Brown's monster trio of Sistercharlie, Rushing Fall and Homerique. They are not in this race, although Brown sends in three others. But only one is a graded stakes winner. The Graham Motion runner is talented. Solid.

Race 9 –
Midnight Bisou (6-5) and Elate (7-5) are the two best older female runners in the country right now. Bisou is 16-for-16 in her career to hit the board and Elate is 13-for-16. Solid.

Race 10 –
Annals of Time (5-2) returned from an almost two-year layoff in June and has won two allowance races for Chad Brown. The Sword Dancer looks like a wide-open race, and it stretches him to 1 1/2 miles. Vulnerable.

Race 11 –
Tacitus (5-2) is a part of a Travers field in which at least five horses have a legitimate shot to win. The 10-furlong distance means anything could happen. Vulnerable.

The last two races have contentious larger fields and sure seem like the kind where Survivor contestants will need to spread and use a few horses, because you sure don’t want to get knocked out if you make it that far. Take advantage of Saturday's sequence from Races 5-9, where the favorites look solid and you can save up your bullets for the difficult final two races.

Here are the links to a couple of my other Survivor articles that might be helpful -- one with
five tips for Survivor contests and the other gives four categories of Survivor horses.


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Meet Matt Shifman

Matt Shifman has been on the Horse Racing Nation staff since 2011 and currently serves as Assistant Editor. Matt covers Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga in his two HRN blogs, Racing at the Jersey Shore and New York State of Racing.

Since 2012, Matt has been a voter in the NTRA weekly polls for the Top Thoroughbred and Top Three-Year-Old.

Recently, Matt helped launch Derby Day Racing, a new 2-year-old racing partnership, that just purchased a promising Lookin At Lucky filly named Sooner Schooner.

You may also know Matt by his Twitter, Facebook, and HRN screen nameAndyScoggin.

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