Las Vegas, NV - The highlight of Saratoga's summer meet comes our way this Saturday, August 25 when the 143rd running of the Grade 1 Travers Stakes will be contested for three year olds willing to go one and one quarter mile on Saratoga's dirt track. The best three year olds in the land will be racing for a $1 million purse.
A very strong group of 11 three year olds will go in race 12 on Saratoga's packed Saturday card. Post time is 5:46 for this main event. Here is a brief look into the recent performances of all the entries ahead of the key race for three year olds this summer.
Alpha - finished second to Gemologist in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial in April after two straight wins - the Grade 3 Withers Stakes at Aqueduct on February 4 and the Count Fleet Stakes in January. Alpha had a disappointing Kentucky Derby finishing twelfth but bounced back last time out with an impressive win in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes here on July 28.
Nonios - made his graded stakes debut in the Grade 3 Affirmed and impressively defeated the likes of Liaison and followed it up with another impressive result - a second in the Grade 2 Swaps Stakes on July 4. Last time out was another good second in the Grade 1 Haskell at Monmouth on July 29. He broke maiden at Golden Gate on February 11 and followed it up with a win and a third respectively in a pair of Allowance Optional Claiming races at Golden Gate. Lightly raced Nonios has three wins two seconds and a third place finish in six career starts and is a serious threat in the Travers.
Neck 'n Neck - has looked better and better as the year has gone on. He had a pair of fifths and a fourth place finish in his first three graded stakes races of the year but in his last three has looked much better - a win in an Allowance on May 10 was followed by another sharp win in the Grade 3 Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs on June 16. Last time out was a very good second in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy behind Travers favorite Alpha. In 11 career starts Neck 'n Neck has three wins and two second place finishes. It is obvious that he enters the Travers in the best form of his career.
Street Life - finished a decent third in the Grade 3 Peter Pan Stakes on May 5 after a disappointing sixth in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial Stakes on April 17. Since then Street Life has been decent - a very respectable fourth in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes was followed by a win most recently in the minor Curlin Stakes here on July 27.
Liaison - Liaison enters the Travers in a bit of a slump - zero wins in his last seven starts. After being considered a serious contender for the Kentucky Derby, Liaison finished a disappointing fourth in the San Felipe Stakes March 10 and before that clipped heels before falling in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes. Liaison's last win was the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity for trainer Bob Baffert on December 17 but he has placed in his last three starts including third place finishes in his last two - the Grade 2 Swaps and Jim Dandy Stakes. Liaison has the talent and could break his unflattering streak on Saturday.
Stealcase - won a Maiden Special Weight race to start 2012 and followed it with three straight sub-par results. Lately Stealcase has looked good - a win in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Churchill Downs in May was followed by an OK second in the Grade 2 Matt Winn Stakes on that same track on June 16 and most recently a decent third in the Grade 1 Haskell. Stealcase is tough and is just another of the ones to watch Saturday.
Five Sixteen - made his stakes debut in the Belmont Stakes and finished a very respectable fifth after a fourth in an Allowance at Aqueduct followed a win in a Maiden Special Weight race on March 14. Last time out was another decent result - a second in the Curlin Stakes behind Street Life here on July 27.
Atigun - has won a couple of Allowance Optional Claiming races in 2012 but also had an eleventh in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes and a fifth in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby. Atigun surprised everyone with a third in the Belmont Stakes but followed that with a disappointing sixth last time out in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes.
Fast Falcon - made his stakes debut with second in the Easy Goer Stakes to Teeth of the Dog on June 9 and followed that with another good second in the Grade 2 Dwyer Stakes at Belmont on June 30. Last time out was a pedestrian seventh in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy here on July 28.
Golden Ticket - has a win and four seconds in his last five starts with the most impressive result being a second in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby on March 10. Last time out was a second in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Churchill Downs way back on May 5.
Speightscity - will be making his third start of 2012 on Saturday after a fifth in the Count Fleet Stakes in January and a decent second last time out back in February at Aqueduct. Speightcity has been out of action since that race.
Race 11 on Saratoga's Saturday card with a Post Time of 5:10 PM.
||R. Dutrow, Jr.
||Ever So Lucky