How does the saying go? "When life doesn't hand you odds, make book"?
No, no, no, don't do that. That'd be illegal. But to paraphrase O.J. Simpson, If I made book, this is how I'd do it.
For the Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 27, it's a tale of three tiers for me. The obvious contenders are led by Epicenter at 5-2 and followed by Dwyer Stakes (G3) winner Charge It, Jim Dandy (G2) runner-up Zandon and Haskell (G1) winner Cyberknife.
Then there are the intriguing long shots – Preakness Stakes winner Early Voting, Curlin Stakes winner Artorius and West Virginia Derby winner Skippylongstocking.
And finally the 50-1 outsiders – Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike, Curlin runner-up Gilded Age and Iowa Derby winner Ain't Life Grand.
|Travers 2022||Ed's odds||Trainer||Last jockey||Sire|
|Epicenter||5-2||Steve Asmussen||Joel Rosario||Not This Time|
|Charge It||3-1||Todd Pletcher||John Velazquez||Tapit|
|Zandon||7-2||Chad Brown||Flavien Prat||Upstart|
|Cyberknife||4-1||Brad Cox||Florent Geroux||Gun Runner|
|Early Voting||8-1||Chad Brown||Jose Ortiz||Gun Runner|
|Artorius||10-1||Chad Brown||Irad Ortiz Jr.||Arrogate|
|Skippylongstocking||12-1||Saffie Joseph Jr.||Edwin Gonzalez||Exaggerator|
|Ain't Life Grand||50-1||Kelly Von Hemel||Elvin Gonzalez||Not This Time|
|Gilded Age||50-1||Bill Mott||Junior Alvarado||Medaglia d'Oro|
|Rich Strike||50-1||Eric Reed||Sonny Leon||Keen Ice|
The line adds up to 129.6 points, which I think is fair for a futures book. The prices I'm willing to offer now do not necessarily align with who I see as the most likely winner – Charge It – or the best value from a pari-mutuel perspective – Cyberknife. Epicenter almost certainly will be the favorite, and obviously he is dangerous and can win, but I expect an underlaid price come Aug. 27.