Travers Stakes 2013 Contenders at Saratoga Race Course

Dave Bond | OTB Writer
Updated: August 21, 2013 -- 4:45 PM ET

Las Vegas, NV - The feature race of Saratoga Race Course's summer meet comes our way this Saturday, August 24 when the Grade 1 Travers Stakes will be contested. The race will feature some of the best three year olds in the land as they chase the winner's share of the generous $1 million purse over 1 1/4 miles on Saratoga's dirt track.

A field of 9 of the best sophomores in the land will line up in the Travers - race 11 on Saratoga's busy Saturday card. Post time is 5:46 PM. The Travers will be part of a 90 minute broadcast on NBC beginning at 4:30 PM ET. Here is a look at the past performances of all of the nine impressive entries for this lucrative and intriguing Grade 1 stakes.

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2013 Travers Stakes Race Favorite Entries

Verrazano - One of two huge Todd Pletcher's hopefuls has just one bad start and that happened to come on the biggest stage - a fourteenth place finish as one of the favorites in the Kentucky Derby. He bounced back after that result however with a win in the Grade 3 Pegasus at Monmouth June 16 and followed that with another terrific win - in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational July 28 also at Monmouth. He has won six of seven career starts including an impressive score with 101 Beyer Speed Figure in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby March 9 after two starts and two more wins - an Allowance Optional Claiming by 16 3/4 lengths at Gulfstream February 2 with a Beyer Speed figure of 105 and a MSW score by 7 3/4 lengths in his debut January 1 also at Gulfstream. He also won the Grade 1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct April 6 in the lead up to the Kentucky Derby. He is used to dominating - more is expected in the Travers. He goes off as the 2-1 favorite from post 3 with John Velazquez in the saddle even though he has never raced at Saratoga before.

Palace Malice - Todd Pletcher trained colt parlayed his enormous 3 1/4 length win in the Belmont Stakes June 8 with a win last time out ahead of Will Take Charge and Moreno by 9 1/2 lengths in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy on this track July 27. This after a disappointing twelfth in the Kentucky Derby. He also had a seventh in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds March 30, and was a nice second in the Blue Grass Stakes April 13 behind Java's War. He has been a bit "hit or miss" in his short career so far but his win in the Belmont has opened absolutely everyone's eyes - his Jim Dandy score only cemented his status as one of the best in the land. Palace Malice is 2-for-2 at Saratoga, is the 5-2 second choice on the morning line and departs from post 8 with Mike Smith guiding him.

Travers Stakes 2013 | Remaining Contenders

Orb - was the favorite in all three Triple Crown races and had an OK Preakness in which he got lost in the shuffle and fell victim to almost a perfect trip by Oxbow and finished fourth but he did win the Kentucky Derby by 2 1/4 lengths, the Grade 1 Florida Derby March 30 at Gulfstream, the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes February 23 and he had an Allowance Optional Claiming score January 26 this year. We know her can race! The last time we saw Orb was back in June - a third in the Belmont Stakes. Shug McGaughey looks to get back on the winning track with his impressive colt this week but he will have to overtake a few contenders that have had success against him the past couple of starts. Joel Rosario gets the mount from post 2 as the 4-1 third choice.

Will Take Charge - was one of the only colts to race all three legs of the Triple Crown finishing eighth in the Kentucky Derby, seventh in the Preakness and tenth in the Belmont. This after an impressive win in the Grade 2 Rebel at Oaklawn Park in March. A lot was expected of this colt for trainer D. Wayne Lukas but he has fallen flat on the biggest stages so far. He has placed in just four of his last eight starts but came up with his biggest effort in some time last time out - a second ahead of Moreno and behind Palace Malice in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes on this track July 27. Will Take Charge is 10-1 on the morning line and leaves from post 5.

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Transparent - Kiaran McLaughlin trained colt ran six MSW races to start his career with mixed results - the peak coming January 1 when he finally broke maiden in his sixth career start. He went on to a sixth in his stakes debut in the Grade 3 Gotham at Aqueduct in March and has just two starts since - an Allowance score April 4 and a fifth last time out in the minor Curlin Stakes on this track July 26. Transparent goes off as the co-fourth choice at 10-1 odds from the far outside post.

Moreno - Eric Guillot pupil raced to a seventh in the Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes in August 2012 in his second career start and concentrated on MSW races in his next eight starts. His only win in those races came by 6 1/4 lengths at Belmont Park June 8. Recently he stepped back into graded stakes company and he won the Grade 2 Dwyer Stakes in impressive fashion July 6 and followed that with a respectable third last time out in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes here July 27. Moreno leaves from post 6 at 12-1 odds

Romansh - Thomas Albertini trained colt makes his graded stakes debut Saturday but is coming off a nice win in his stakes debut - the minor Curlin Stakes on this track July 26. Before that was a MSW score in May at Belmont Park - his only other win in four career starts. Romansh has drawn the rail, will have Javier Castellano in the saddle and goes off at 12-1 odds.

War Dancer - Kenneth McPeek trained colt has seven career starts - three MSW races at Gulfstream to start his career with just one win. He won an Allowance in April at Keeneland and went on to a respectable third in the Grade 2 American Turf Stakes May 3. Last time out was his best result by far - an incredible win to put him on the Travers radar in the Grade 2 Virginia Derby July 13 after a second in the minor Centaur Stakes at Indiana Downs June 15. He is the second longest shot in the field at 15-1 odds and leaves from post 7 Saturday.

Golden Soul - was the only real serious challenger to Orb in the Kentucky Derby where he finished second. This after an OK fourth in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds March 30, a pedestrian sixth in the Grade 2 Risen Star February 23 and a good second in the Grade 2 LeComte Stakes January 19. He wasn't able to parlay his Kentucky Derby result - he raced to a ninth in the Belmont Stakes and followed that with an equally disappointing seventh last time out in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park July 28. He has just two seconds in six starts this year and looks very much like a colt that has peaked already. Golden Soul is 20-1 on the morning line- the longest shot in the field.


2013 Travers Stakes Entries & Odds

Race 12 on Saragota Race Course's Saturday card with a Post Time of 5:46 PM.

Entry Horse Jockey Trainer ML Odds
1 Romansh J. Castellano T. Albertrani
12-1
2 Orb J. Rosario C. McGaughey III
4-1
3 Verrazano J. Velazquez T. Pletcher
2-1
4 Golden Soul R. Albarado D. Stewart
20-1
5 Will Take Charge L. Saez D. Lukas
10-1
6 Moreno J. Ortiz E. Guillot
12-1
7 War Dancer A. Garcia K. McPeek
15-1
8 Palace Malice M. Smith T. Pletcher
5-2
9 Transparent I. Ortiz, Jr. K. McLaughlin
10-1

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