Zipse: How I plan to bet the 2019 Travers Stakes day races

August 22, 2019 07:20am

Saturday’s Travers Stakes (G1) is the most important race of the summer, bar none. To accompany the Mid-Summer Derby, Saratoga has put together a card which includes six other graded stakes, and five of them are Grade 1s. It's a big day of racing, plus a great one for betting.

Let's jump right in and take a look at my favorite wagers for Travers day. In the big race, I am going to keep it relatively simple. Going 10 furlongs at Saratoga, I'm looking for horses that can get the distance, and with this being an edition of the Travers without any true superstars, I believe the ability to get the trip will be telling.

Having said that, it boils down to three horses for me:
Owendale, Tacitus, and Tax.

Tacitus will be the favorite, but I do feel like he is likely to be involved at the end. All five of his races this year have me confident in that. The other two, Tax and Owendale, both offer value in the field of 12. I have them projected at about 5-1 and 8-1, respectively. My hope is that one of them, also consistent horses who seem capable of flourishing at 1 1/4 miles, can keep hard-luck runner Tacitus out of the winner's circle one more time, resulting in a nice payoff.

My Travers play will be a $10 exacta box using Owendale, Tacitus and Tax. The bet will cost $60 total.

I will also hope to be alive in an all-graded stakes Pick 5 ending with the Travers. In this play, I will have two tickets, singling Allen Jerkens (G1) contender Shancelot in one, and Sword Dancer (G1) runner Annals of Time in another. I believe both are likely winners in the sequence, but beating one, especially Shancelot, would be big for the ultimate payoff.

Shancelot may be the fastest horse in America, but I want to see him do it one more time after his romping victory in Saratoga's Amsterdam (G2). Perhaps Call Paul will make life difficult for him early. Annals of Time, meanwhile, could be poised to become yet another big turf star for trainer Chad Brown after returning from a long layoff. Still, at 12 furlongs this will be a test.

Ticket No. 1 will consist of Shancelot in the Allen Jerkens; Mascha, Fifty Five, and Secret Passage in the Ballston Spa (G2); Elate and Midnight Bisou in the Personal Ensign (G1); Channel Cat, Pillar Mountain, Ya Primo, Annals of Time, Channel Maker and Sadler's Joy in the Sword Dancer; plus Owendale, Tacitus and Tax in the feature. I actually like the chances of this ticket hitting, but will need some odds in the final two legs to make it juicy. The fifty-cent play will cost $54.

Ticket No. 2 will use Shancelot, Nitrous and Mind Control in the Jerkens; Mascha, Secret Passage and Fifty Five in the Ballston Spa; Elate and Midnight Bisou; in the Personal Ensign; Annals of Time in the Sword Dancer; and my familiar Travers trio. Just in case Shancelot doesn't repeat his huge race last time, I have two horses who can handle seven furlongs and are in search of a cleaner trip. If Shancelot is beaten, the Pick 5 instantly becomes very interesting. This fifty-cent play will cost $27.

I will take one other multi-race shot a bit earlier in the card while once again looking to beat a heavy favorite. This wager will start in the day's fifth race, the Forego (G1).

In the Met Mile, Promises Fulfilled was held off Mitole's early pace. I don't expect this to happen again. Look for Promises Fulfilled and Mitole to go at it hard in the early stages of the seven-furlong affair. Who will survive? Maybe neither. Bon Raison is in form and could potentially pick up the pieces in this spot. I'll try a couple of Pick 3 plays hoping for an upset in the Forego. 

Ticket No. 1 will consist of All/Separationofpowers in the Ballerina (G1)/
Shancelot, Nitrous and Mind Control. If both Mitole and Shancelot are beaten, the tote will light up. The $1 play will cost $18. 

Ticket No. 2 will consist of Bon Raison/All in the Ballerina/Shancelot, Nitrous, Mind Control. I like Separationofpowers best, but the Ballerina is another race with a potential upset. This $1 play will cost $21.

As always, I wish you the best of luck, and enjoy the great day of racing!


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