What to watch for: Travers Stakes undercard fields look loaded

August 19, 2019 10:26am
What to watch for: Travers Stakes undercard fields look loaded
Photo: Chelsea Durand/NYRA

Saratoga’s Travers Stakes (G1) draws at 6 p.m. Tuesday, with entries for a string of graded stakes races leading up to the Mid-Summer Derby due the next morning. And it’s looking like another blockbuster card at the Spa.

Courtesy of the NYRA Press Office, here’s a closer look at the prospective Travers day fields in race order set by the condition book…

Race 5: Rushing Fall, defeated by Chad Brown stablemate Sistercharlie in the Diana (G1) earlier in the meet, will drop just a bit to headline the Grade 2, $400,000 Ballston Spa Handicap going 1 1/16 miles on the turf. Against this group, the daughter of More Than Ready, who suffered just her second career defeat last out, could go odds-on.

2019 Ballston Spa Handicap (G2)

Race 6: For older filly and mare sprinters, the Grade 1, $500,000 Ballerina promises a spot in the Breeders’ Cup to a group that includes Chalon and Mia Mischief, who were both upset while prepping for this spot in Saratoga’s Honorable Miss (G2). Special Relativity will test a local 4-for-4 record, while Come Dancing has proven lethal at this seven-furlong distance.

2019 Ballerina (G1)

Race 7: An elite field of 3-year-old sprinters will gather for the Grade 1, $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens, with romping Amsterdam (G2) winner Shancelot squarely the one to beat. Mind Control and Hog Creek hustle are previous Grade 1 winners in New York, but the Jorge Navarro-trained Shancelot looked as if he could be on another level when moving to 3-for-3 with a 12 1/2-length score last time at Saratoga.

2019 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial (G1)

Race 8: The Grade 1, $700,000 Personal Ensign gathers an elite group of distaffers led by Horse of the Year prospect Midnight Bisou and Elate, who will look to turn the tables on that rival in their third meeting this season. The 1 1/8-mile distance should suit both runners, while Wow Cat, second in the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Distaff, can't be discounted in her second race off the shelf.

2019 Personal Ensign (G1)

Race 9: Can Mitole bounce back in the Grade 1, $600,000 Forego? The Steve Asmussen trainee saw a seven-race winning streak snapped when Imperial Hint won the Vanderbilt (G1) in record fashion, but Mitole did also get the rail draw on a day the inside was slow. The John A. Nerud (G2) 1-2 finishers of Promises Fulfilled and Warrior’s Club are consistent types, while Bon Raison could step up off an impressive local score in the Tale of the Cat.

2019 Forego (G1)

Race 10: Channel Cat took Saratoga’s Bowling Green (G2) with a front-running effort, but it’s highly unlikely the last out winner goes favored the way Annals of Time has returned at age 6. The 2016 Hollywood Derby (G1) hero has only raced three times since then but glided home the easiest of winners July 24 in allowance optional claiming company. The connections of Brown and Klaravich Stables may have another older turf star.

2019 Sword Dancer (G1)

Race 11: A new Grade 1 winner will be crowned with a victory in the Travers, which matches up the New York-based Tacitus — second in the Belmont Stakes and Jim Dandy (G2) — with Code of Honor, who was placed second in the Kentucky Derby and returned to win Belmont Park’s Dwyer Stakes (G3) as a prep. Tax and Owendale won graded stakes in their prior starts, while Mucho Gusto adds plenty of intrigue as a late addition off his runner-up to Maximum Security in the Haskell Invitational (G1).

2019 Travers Stakes (G1)


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