OTB Race Previews
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Las Vegas, NV - The $1.25 or $1.6 million Travers Stakes comes our way this Saturday, August 29 from Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs New York and features the return to the track of American Pharoah. The Travers purse will be $1.6 million if American Pharoah is an official starter. If not, the race is worth $1.25 million. Either way, a group of three year olds will be featured when they take to Saratoga's dirt track and race 1 1/4 miles for the winner's share of the lucrative purse.
A field of 10 will saddle up in the Travers trying to knock American Pharoah off his perch in race 11 on Saratoga's stacked Saturday card. Post time is 5:46 PM. Here is a look into the past performances of all 10 combatants for this intriguing Grade 1 stakes - nine of which will likely be looking at the back end of American Pharoah.
American Pharoah 1-5 - the 12th horse to ever win the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes - the first since Affirmed in 1978 will try to build on a sensational eight race win streak. 2-year-old Champion male of 2014 American Pharoah hits the track for the tenth time looking unstoppable - the only blemish came in his debut. His current eight race win streak includes the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational last time out at Monmouth Park August 2, the Belmont Stakes by 5 1/2 lengths June 6, the Preakness Stakes May 16 by an impressive seven lengths after a statement win in the Kentucky Derby in May 2. They followed wins in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby by an incredible eight lengths April 11, in the Graded 2 Rebel Stakes by 6 1/4 lengths in March, the Grade 1 FrontRunner Stakes September 27 and a terrific 4 3/4 length win in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity September 3. American Pharoah has been the most dominant horse on the planet the last 12 months - virtually untouchable at this point of his career! As always Victor Espinoza will get the return call aboard the overwhelming morning line favorite from gate 2.
Frosted 6-1 - Kiaran McLaughlin trained colt raced in stakes company for the first time November 29 and finished a respectable second behind Leave the Light On as 9-5 favorite in the Grade 2 Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct and followed that with another good runner-up finish - behind Upstart in the Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream January 24. He enters on the heels of consecutive runner-up finishes - behind Texas Red last time out in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes here August 1 and behind America Pharoah in the Belmont Stakes June 6. Before those results were a troubled fourth in the Kentucky Derby and a huge statement with a win by two lengths in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct April 4. That makes two wins and six second place finishes in 10 career starts with his win four starts back raising a few eyebrows. Joel Rosario has the mount aboard the consistent threat and morning line second choice from gate 6.
Texas Red 8-1 - Eclipse Award runner-up for two-year-old males - Keith Desormeaux trained colt will hit the track for the ninth time in very good form. He enters off a nice win in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes on this track August 1 after consecutive runner-up finishes - the Grade 3 Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park July 4 and in the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes February 1. They followed a career-changing victory - by an astonishing 6 1/2 lengths in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at 13-1 odds with a 104 Beyer Speed Figure. He also had third in September in his stakes debut - the Grade 1 FrontRunner. Texas Red now has three wins, three seconds and a third place finish in eight career starts and should be in the mix Saturday. Kent Desormeaux rides the third betting choice from gate 4.
Keen Ice 12-1 - broke maiden in his second career start for trainer Dale Romans but has placed in just four of eight starts since - all graded stakes. Last time out was a good second behind American Pharoah in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational August 2 which followed a respectable third in the Belmont Stakes June 6, a seventh in the Kentucky Derby, and a fourth in the Grade 2 Louisiana. He has one win, one second and three third place finishes in 10 career starts and has been improving this summer. Kent Desormeaux will be in the reins from post 7 looking for Keen Ice's first win in nine graded stakes tries.
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Upstart 15-1 - Richard Violette trained colt finished an OK third behind American Pharoah last time out in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational last time out. That result followed a disappointing last of eighteen in the Kentucky Derby and consecutive seconds - behind Materiality in the Grade 1 Florida Derby March 28 and after crossing the line first and being disqualified after it was ruled he interfered with Itsaknockout in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes February 2. He had a dominant win by 5 1/2 lengths in the competitive Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes January 24, a good third behind Texas Red and Carpe Diem in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and second behind Daredevil in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park October 4. Upstart has placed in eight of nine career starts (three wins, three seconds and two third place finishes) and has been in every race in his career so far except for one. Joe Bravo has been tabbed with getting Upstart his first win since January - from the rail.
Smart Transition 20-1 - John Shirreffs trained colt enters off a good win in the minor Curlin Stakes on this track July 31 which followed a fourth in his only graded stakes action to date - the Grade 3 Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park July 4. He has two wins, a second and a third place finish in six career starts and hopes to build on a good effort last time out. Junior Alvarado gets the call from the outside post 10.
Frammento 30-1 - Nick Zito trainee has a win, a second and a third place finish in 10 career starts -a third place finish in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes February 21 being his best result. Last time out was a fourth in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes on this track August 1. It followed a fifth in the Belmont Stakes June 6, an eleventh in the Kentucky Derby and a fourth in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes April 4. Frammento has placed in just one of six career graded stakes tries, has failed to place in his last four starts overall and will be hoping for a breakthrough Saturday with Jose Lezcano in the irons from post 5.
Tale of Verve 30-1 - Dale Stewart trained colt has nine career starts with a win, two seconds, and two third place finishes but has struggled in his last two starts overall. Last time out was a sixth in the Grade 2 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer August 1 and before that was a slightly disappointing seventh in the Belmont Stakes June 6. He raced in stakes company for the first time May 16 and posted a career best effort - a second at 28-1 odds in the Preakness Stakes right behind American Pharoah and finally broke maiden before that - in his sixth career start April 23. Tale of Verve has been up and down and will be looking for his first stakes score Saturday from post 5 with Robby Albarado in the irons from gate 8.
King of New York 50-1 - Kenneth McPeek trained colt has 13 career starts with two wins, five seconds and three third place finishes and enters off an OK third in the minor Curlin Stakes here July 31. Before that was a fourth in his only graded stakes action to date - the Grade 3 American Derby at Arlington July 11 and an Allowance score in June. He races in stakes company for just the second time and has been OK against lesser company. King of New York hopes to make a little noise Saturday when he leaves from gate 9.
Mid Ocean 50-1 - George Weaver trained gelding has a win, a second and two third place finishes in six career starts but takes an enormous step up into stakes company for the first time Saturday. He enters off a maiden score July 14 at Delaware Park in his sixth career start after a third and a second respectively in similar races earlier this summer. Mid Ocean looks to be in very deep here and will depart from post 3 as the longest shot in the field.
Race 11 on Saratoga Race Course's Saturday card with a Post Time of 5:46 PM.
|1||Upstart||I. Ortiz, Jr.||R. Violette, Jr.|
|2||American Pharoah||V. Espinoza||B. Baffert|
|3||Mid Ocean||M. Franco||G. Weaver|
|4||Texas Red||K. Desormeaux||J. Desormeaux|
|5||Frammento||J. Ortiz||N. Zito|
|6||Frosted||J. Rosario||K. McLaughlin|
|7||Keen Ice||J. Castellano||D. Romans|
|8||Tale of Verve||G. Stevens||D. Stewart|
|9||King of New York||J. Leparoux||K. McPeek|
|10||Smart Transition||J. Velazquez||J. Shirreffs|
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