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Travers 2013: What’s Your P.O.V.?

The 2013 Travers appears to be a battle between three horses. Three of the horses that dominated the Kentucky Derby trail and then the Triple Crown races themselves. It comes down to your Point of View: Palace Malice, Orb, or Verrazano?
Palace Malice [Dogwood Stables, Todd Pletcher, Mike Smith] ML 5/2 – It took Palace Malice almost a full year of racing to get his act together. After breaking his maiden at Saratoga on August 4, 2012, he had to wait until the Belmont Stakes to record his second victory. The Curlin colt came right back and added a victory in the Jim Dandy.
Those two stakes victories have put history on the side of Palace Malice. From horses that have won a Triple Crown race, it is the Belmont winners that have dominated the Travers. Victories in Saratoga’s Midsummer Derby have come from 30 Belmont winners, 10 from the Kentucky Derby, yet only 8 had won the Preakness. Since 1964, when the Jim Dandy was first run, 17 Travers winners have come directly from that Saratoga prep race. That fact has become even more significant, as seven of those winners have occurred since the year 2002.
Orb [Janney and Phipps, Shug McGaughey, Joel Rosario] ML 4-1 – Orb dominated the Florida winter racing scene and his win in the Kentucky Derby made Orb America’s favorite horse. The Malibu Moon colt reeled off five straight impressive wins, which was probably the best streak of any horse this year.
Orb’s respite at Fair Hills Training Center has reportedly gotten him fit and ready to run again after his fourth and third place finishes in the Preakness and Belmont. Orb lived the life of luxury in Maryland with ice bathes, aqua treadmills, and the finest grasses on which to graze. Historically, Orb will be going against the odds. Since 1960 only ONE Travers winner has used the Belmont as its prep race. That was Birdstone in 2004.
Verrazano [Smith, Tabor, Magnier and Let’s Go Stable; Todd Pletcher; John Velazquez] ML favorite 2-1 – The More Than Ready colt is perfect except for his loss in the Kentucky Derby.  He has won six of seven career starts including two wins at Monmouth Park since the Derby. His supporters cite his record and his detractors question his ability to get the 10 furlongs of the Midsummer Derby.
Travers history tells us that Monmouth’s Haskell Invitational has produced more than its share of Spa winners. Since 1960, 13 Travers victors have used the Haskell (Monmouth Invitational) has a prep race, with the most recent having been Summer Bird in 2009.
The rest of the field is very solid, containing horses that would have been much shorter prices if they had run in last year’s Travers. However, against the top three in this year’s race, generous odds will be available should the unlikely occur.
Moreno [ML 12-1] has come into his own since moving to New York from California. He broke his maiden on the Belmont Stakes undercard and followed that up a month later with a front running seven-length victory in the Dwyer. In the Jim Dandy Moreno set the pace, but faded to third behind Palace Malice after an erratic stretch run.
Trainer and Louisiana-native Eric Guillot recognizes the difficulty at hand in the Travers, thus he has decided to use some unusual tactics. Guillot has created a Todd Pletcher voodoo doll, with carefully placed pins, to try and bring bad luck to Saratoga’s leading trainer. All in good fun Guillot said, “Previously a voodoo doll worked on Baffert, but Pletcher told him that he had reversed the curse this morning.”

Godolphin Stable will be represented by two runners that finished first and second in the roughly run Curlin Stakes. Romansh [ML 12-1] is trained by Tom Albertrani and Transparent [ML 10-1] by Kiaran McLaughlin. Transparent finished in first, but was disqualified and placed fifth, elevating Romansh to the win position. Both of these late developing Godolphin colts were sired by Bernardini, himself the winner of the 2006 Travers.
Will Take Charge [ML 10-1] was a presence on the Derby Trail with wins at Oaklawn Park in the Smarty Jones and the Rebel. He ran in all three legs of the Triple Crown with his best finish being a distant seventh in the Preakness. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas brought this son of Unbridled’s Song back to finish second in the Jim Dandy, giving him that strategic Travers prep race.
Trainer Dallas Stewart is giving Golden Soul [ML 20-1] another shot at regaining the form that allowed him to finish second in the Kentucky Derby. Since then Golden Soul was uncompetitive in the Belmont and the Haskell.
War Dancer [ML 15-1] is turf specialist that has run on the grass six of seven starts. Most recently this son of War Front won the Virginia Derby by a head at odds of 7.4-1 for trainer Kenny McPeek. His only start on the dirt was a fourth place finish in his second maiden special weight.
The 2013 edition of the Travers has one of the most competitive fields in many years. The race has three superstars and the other six runners give the field great depth.  If Palace Malice, Orb, or Verrazano win the race they could easily move into the top 10 in Brian Zipse’s recently published The Travers List. 


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Older Comments about Travers 2013: What’s Your P.O.V.?...

dara la sorpresa golden soul y ganará... senza mike smith.. palace malice..saldrá el ultimo y los cogerá y los pasará.. está muy fuerte y pista seca .. 20/1.. el hijo de perfect soul ideal para 2.000m y mejor pista seca.. "es un caballo que coprrieron mal..no se puede cambiar el paso a los caballos y menos de 6 furlones.. silver hawk.. y perfect soul son caballo de 2.00 m. /2.400m. y mejor hierba.. pista seca mucho mejor... "el güevero"
In the spirit of Easy Goer, Rhythm and Coronado’s Quest, I’m pulling for Joel, Shug, the Phipps and Janney families Saturday.
Orb looks like he's coming in fresh, fit and ready to run back to form. I'm still going with Palace Malice for the win, but I think Orb is going to be a bigger factor than Verrazano. This is such an awesome lineup.
JDL327--Lukas said at the Travers draw that he felt Saez would be more aggressive and that Junior did not do anything wrong. He was just trying to get the best match-up for WTC.
  • JDL327 · Andy - I know you are only reporting what Lukas said without Bias. I just think it's a BS passive aggressive comment for Lukas to make. WTC laid an egg in all three classics and Junior had him right there with PM at the finish. If that race went another 1/8 like it will Saturday you never know. I just looked. Junior has 20 more wins this year in 118 fewer mounts than Saez in 2013. He's established himself as a Top 10 jockey at a very young age, but he's not getting the big rides he deserves because he's still fairly new to New York. · 1555 days ago
Sorry for the duplicate post men. I refreshed the page and that's what happened.
ORB he has to rebound........he was so solid then seemed to flatten out I think that he will be there
I had PM in the Belmont an no reason to get off him now. I think Shug must be pointing Orb for the BC anyway with no prep race. My question is - why did Lukas take Jr. Alvarado off WTC for The Travers after a brilliant ride in the Jim Dandy?
I had PM in the Belmont an no reason to get off him now. I think Shug must be pointing Orb for the BC anyway with no prep race. My question is - why did Lukas take Jr. Alvarado off WTC for The Travers after a brilliant ride in the Jim Dandy?
So far POV totals: Palace Malice 5, Verrrazano 4, Orb 3, and a couple of undecideds.
Verrazano and Palice Malice are definitely the ones to beat here. Pletcher's horses look unbeatable in this one. I might try to sneak in Moreno in here. I think he is on the improve. Have to bet on a longshot in between two powerhouse horses. 1) Verrazano 2) Palice Malice 3) Moreno
Im going with Verrazano because he has been my pick since the beginning of the year! More than anything else, I want a safe injury free race! We have lost some mighty good 3yr olds this year and dont want to see any of these fine horses go down to injury! So, I pray for a safe trip for all!
Sdberg04--Orb looked great during that workout. The photo of Orb in the article is at the finish of that breeze. I got lucky and happened to pull in minutes before he went to the track.
Check out Orbs last bullet on the Oklahoma track. Hes rested,
It's toss up for me as I like all three horses. Pm is proven at this distance and not over a sloppy track although he was dragging at the end of the Belmont (then again who isn't?), Orb is a special horse who I think a lot of people are overlooking after two missed punches. He could pull it off especially if Verrazano and PM tire each other out, Big V has looked phenom all his past two races and impressed me even more than Pm in his last wins he is not proven at this distance though and if the pace is too hot like in the Derby he may fade. Basically, I will not be surprised no matter which of these three win and think they will be your top three finishers. I do not believe WTC will running at the end as he did nothing in the Preakness nor the Belmont and don't think he can hang with the bug three
Ever since Todd Pletcher and Mike Smith figured out how to handle PM in a race he's looked unstoppable. No disrespect to Verrazano or the rest of the field, but PM is just too good.
Verrazano is my pick for the Travers. His Haskell victory was too impressive to overlook.
Verrazano by 3.
PM is the horse to beat, so i'm going to try. Orb would be my main play but if his odds dip too low, I might play Verrazano and hope he proves he's capable of winning over 10F......
A voodoo doll? Just when I thought I've heard it all from Guillot, he pulls something even more bizarre out of the hat. I believe I'll stick with Orb. The rest has surely done him a world of good.
Travers record (2:00 flat) was set in 1979 by General Assembly, a son of Secretariat.

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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.


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