2020 Travers Stakes Contenders & Odds

Horse Betting Online

Edited NYRA Press Release | OTB Writer
Updated: August 05, 2020

The 151st running of the $1,000,000 Travers Stakes will be held on Saturday, August 8 at Saratoga Race Course.

The Travers Stakes, also known as the Midsummer Derby, is one of the most historic races in the country and has been an annual feature at Saratoga for nearly as long as the track has been running.

The 151st edition of the Travers offers points for the Kentucky Derby which takes place on Saturday, September 5. A total of 170 points will be available for a chance to make the starting gate in the Kentucky Derby, with 100 going to the Travers winner, 40 to the runner-up, 20 to the third-place finisher and 10 to the fourth-place horses.

2020 Travers Stakes Race Info

Purse: $1,000,000
Grade: 1
Distance: 1 1/4 Miles
Age: 3
Last Year’s Winner: Code of Honor
Track and Stakes Record: Arrogate (2016) 1:59.36

Tiz the Law Early Favorite in 2020 Travers

Tiz the Law, undefeated in his sophomore campaign with three consecutive graded stakes victories, will return to the site where his racing career began last summer as part of an eight-horse field of top 3-year-olds in Saturday's Grade 1, $1 million Runhappy Travers at historic Saratoga Race Course.

The 151st running of the Travers Stakes, listed as Race 11 on a loaded 12-race card with a post time of 6:15 p.m. will be one of five graded stakes on the day. An enticing undercard includes the Grade 1, $300,000 Longines Test for sophomore fillies; the Grade 1, $300,000 Ballerina Stakes, a "Win and You're In" qualifier for the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint; the Grade 3, $200,000 Troy Stakes for 4-year-olds and up on Mellon turf and the Grade 3, $150,000 Waya for older fillies and mares on the inner turf.

2020 Travers Stakes Field & Odds

Race 11 at Saratoga on Saturday, August 8 - Post 6:15 PM

Entry Horse ML Odds Jockey Trainer
1 First Line 30-1 David Cohen
Orlando Noda
2 Country Grammer 6-1 Irad Ortiz Jr.
Chad Brown
3 Uncle Chuck 5-2 Luis Saez
Bob Baffert
4 Max Player 6-1 Joel Rosario
Linda Rice
5 Shivaree 30-1 Junior Alvarado
Ralph Nicks
6 Tiz the Law 1-1 Manny Franco
Barclay Tagg
7 Caracaro 10-1 Javier Castellano
Gustavo Delgado
8 South Bend 15-1 Jose Ortiz
Bill Mott

Tiz the Law made history in becoming the first New York bred in 138 years to win the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes, capturing the nine-furlong American Classic on June 20 in the first leg of the revised Triple Crown schedule. With five wins in six career starts, the Barclay Tagg trainee is the even-money morning-line favorite from post 6 and enters the 1 1/4-mile "Mid-Summer Derby" leading all horses with 272 qualifying points to the Kentucky Derby. He has a chance to add to that record-breaking total, as the Travers will offer 100-40-20-10 points to the top four finishers to the "Run for the Roses" on September 5.

Tagg said he was pleased drawing near the outside.

"I think he's matured enough now that outside or inside is not going to bother him too much," Tagg said. "I'd prefer that he's on the outside just because you have less chance of getting in trouble. Not that you can't, but you have less chance. I think post 6 is fine. Five would have been fine. Four would have been fine. Any of those three would have been fine with me."

Tiz the Law burst onto the scene with a 4 1/4-length debut win at the Spa in a 6 ½-furlong New York-bred maiden sprint in August 2019. The Constitution colt parlayed that effort into a four-length triumph in the Grade 1 Champagne in October at Belmont Park and capped his juvenile year with a third-place finish in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club in November at Churchill Downs. That marked the only time Tiz the Law has not earned a winner's circle trip.

Bred by Twin Creeks Farm, he has gone 3-for-3 in 2020, racking up wins in the Grade 3 Holy Bull in February and the Grade 1 Florida Derby on March 28, both at Gulfstream Park, before winning the Belmont Stakes that was run at 1 1/8 miles to accommodate the revised schedule for 3-year-olds in training due to COVID-19.

The Belmont win gave Tagg a career Triple Crown. After Funny Cide, a fellow New York bred owned by Sackatoga Stable, won the 2003 Kentucky and Preakness before running third in that year's Belmont, Tagg earned glory in this year's Belmont edition with Tiz the Law and is now seeking his first Travers win to add to a career that started with his first victory in 1972.

Tagg said competing at 10 furlongs shouldn't be an issue.

"He's done everything we've asked him to do. We've been very fortunate," Tagg said. "I don't think any distance makes a difference for this horse. From what I've seen, I just don't have any feeling that he can't handle it. It would be nice to win it if we could."

Manny Franco, who won his first Classic in the Belmont, has been aboard for all four of Tiz the Law's graded stakes wins and will have the return engagement.

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"I've never seen him take a deep breath," Tagg said of Tiz the Law. "I've never had him out of breath after a workout. I've never had him way out of breath after a race and he [cools] off very quickly. His lungs settle right down and nothing seems to be a hazard. I could be all wrong in that. It might change in another eighth of a mile, I don't know, but I've got no reason to worry about it."

While Tiz the Law will have to wait to the fall to complete the Triple Crown trail [the Preakness is slated for October 3, just four weeks after the Kentucky Derby], he will be tested in the Travers by Uncle Chuck. Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert will ship the lightly raced but incredibly talented son of Uncle Mo, who enters 2-for-2.

Unraced as a juvenile, the quarter-million dollar purchase at the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling Sale won his debut by seven lengths on June 12 at Santa Anita and handled a step up in class with aplomb with a four-length victory at 1 1/8 miles in the Grade 3 Los Alamitios Derby on July 4.

"He's quick," Baffert said. "He's a big, tall horse but he's really quick on his feet. He's got a tremendous stride. That's why I thought the mile and a quarter would suit him well. If you can win the Travers, it's a big thing. But Tiz the Law looks unbelievable. I watched his last work and he looked tremendous, so Uncle Chuck will have to step it up. It should be a great race."

Baffert is a three-time Travers winner, including with Arrogate, who set both the stakes and track record when he dominated the field in 2016, hitting the wire in 1:59.36. Baffert won for a second year in a row with West Coast in 2017.

Luis Saez, aboard for his stakes win, will be in the irons against from post 3. Uncle Chuck is listed at 5-2.

"He's been training well, and I thought he deserves a chance to run in it," Baffert said. "He's only had two races, but they were pretty impressive. The talent is there, he's just still figuring it out and putting it together."

Another upstart in the race is Max Player, the Belmont Stakes third-place finisher, for trainer Linda Rice.

A winner of the Grade 3 Withers in February at Aqueduct Racetrack, Max Player has never finished off the board in four starts, posting a 2-1-1 ledger. Owned by George E. Hall and SportBLX Thoroughbreds, Max Player is 15th on the Derby leaderboard with 40 points.

Max Player will stretch out to a mile and a quarter for the first time after competing at 1 1/8 miles in his previous two starts.

"He was closing ground at the end of the mile and an eighth in the Belmont, so I'm hoping the extra distance only works in his favor," Rice said. "It would be great if we had an honest pace in this race, so it would set up better for a horse coming from off the pace."

The Honor Code colt is listed as 6-1 on the morning line and will break from post 4 under Joel Rosario, who will have a Travers mount for the fifth consecutive year.

Rice was the first female to win a Saratoga training title when she paced all conditioners with 20 wins in 2009. She will be saddling her second Travers starter and first since Kid Cruz [fourth] in 2014.

"For someone who has raced in New York year round for quite some time now, the Travers is one of those races on your bucket list that you'd really like to win," Rice said. "It's exciting to be in the race. It's disappointing that we won't have the crowds or the fanfare that goes with it, but I'd still be thrilled to win a race like the Travers."

The top-two finishers of the Grade 3 Peter Pan on July 16 at Saratoga will make short turnarounds to rematch in the Travers, including the winner Country Grammer, who will bid to give four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown his first "Mid-Summer Derby" victory.

Country Grammer, owned by Paul Pompa, Jr., worked a sharp half-mile Saturday in 47.66 seconds in company with last year's Grade 1 Secretariat winner Valid Point.

A maiden winner at second asking when travelling nine furlongs in November at the Big A, Country Grammer was fifth in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth in his seasonal debut in February at Gulfstream. Following a closing third in a one-turn, 1 1/16-mile allowance event on June 4 at Belmont, Country Grammer made his return to two turns a winning one in the 1 1/8-mile Peter Pan on Opening Day July 16 at Saratoga.

Brown said the breeze, which was the colt's first since his Peter Pan win, went according to plan.

"The work went super. He's not a great work horse but for him it was one of the better works I've seen. He's gotten a lot stronger," said Brown. "He's a May foal and he was always destined to fill out and get stronger as he goes along."

Bred in Kentucky by Scott Pierce and Debbie Pierce, Brown said the bay son of 2014 Belmont Stakes-winner Tonalist should appreciate the additional furlong on Saturday.

"He's looking for more ground," said Brown. "He's going to have to step it up obviously on short rest and the fact that it's a much tougher race. But the horse, physically, is doing everything you want him to do. We're excited to participate and give him a shot."

Listed at 6-1, Irad Ortiz, Jr. will have the call from post 2.

Global Thoroughbred and Top Racing's Caracaro was the Peter Pan runner-up, a neck behind Country Grammer. Conditioned by Gustavo Delgado, the son of Uncle Mo ran second in his debut in December at Gulfstream at seven furlongs and broke his maiden with a six-length win at one mile on January 11 at the Florida track before taking the step up in class last month.

Delgado has won his native Venezuela's equivalent of the Triple Crown with Taconeo in 2007 and Water Jet in 2010. He will bid for Saratoga glory with Caracaro, who is listed at 10-1.

Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano holds a record six Travers wins, two more than the next-closest competitors all-time, and will aim for No. 7, piloting Caracaro from post 7.

Jacks or Better Farm's Shivaree ran second to Tiz the Law in the Grade 1 Florida Derby and will make his first start at Saratoga after compiling two stakes wins, capping his 2-year-old year with a victory in the Buffalo Man at Gulfstream Park and starting 2020 with a Limehouse win on January 4 at Gulfstream.

Trained by Ralph Nicks, Shivaree, a son of Awesome of Course, is listed at 30-1 with Junior Alvarado set to ride from post 5.

South Bend, the runner-up to Dean Martini in the Grade 3 Ohio Derby last out on June 27 at Thistledown, will make his first start for his new connections. Owners Gary Barber, Wachtel Stable, Peter Deutsch and Pantofel Stable acquired South Bend and transferred him to the care of Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.

South Bend, an Algorithms colt, will go for his first graded stakes win, drawing post 8 with Jose Ortiz. He is listed at 15-1.

First Line will make his first stakes appearance in his fifth career start for trainer Orlando Noda, who also co-owns the First Samurai gelding with his brother Jonathan as part of Noda Brothers, LLC.

First Line broke his maiden at fourth asking on July 29 at the Spa and will return off a quick turnaround looking to give the 31-year-old Noda his first career stakes winner. David Cohen will ride from post 1 at 30-1.

"I think we got a perfect post," Noda said. "He's going to come out running when the gates open and he might just fight the whole mile and a quarter. It is a quick turnaround, but I've hyped this horse up from before he even debuted. These are my points for the Derby. He's a longshot for a reason but he's going to outrun his odds and, God willing, we will win this race."

Pre-Draw News

Max Player posts final breeze in preparation for 2020 Travers

Max Player worked five furlongs in 1:01.55 seconds Monday on the Belmont dirt training track in preparation for Saturday's Grade 1, $1 million Runhappy Travers at Saratoga Race Course.

Trainer Linda Rice said the dark bay Honor Code colt is in good order and will ship up to Saratoga on Wednesday.

"We worked him in company head and head with another horse and they went five-eighths in 1:01.2. It was just a maintenance breeze," said Rice. "It was just a nice comfortable breeze. I feel it was exactly what he needed. He'll ship up to Saratoga on Wednesday and train there."

Max Player, bred in Kentucky by K & G Stables, graduated at second asking at Parx in December and followed up with a 3 ¼-length score in the Grade 3 Withers at Aqueduct Racetrack on February 1.

Last out, racing off a more than four-month layoff in the nine-furlong Grade 1 Belmont Stakes on June 20, Max Player rallied to complete the trifecta behind the victorious Tiz the Law and runner-up Dr Post.

This morning's breeze was the fifth over the Belmont dirt training track since his Belmont effort for the improving Max Player.

"He trained very well into the Belmont and had improved dramatically up to June when the Belmont ran," said Rice. "Since then, we've been holding steady. I haven't trained him quite as aggressively because he's not coming off of a five-month layoff this time."

Although Max Player won't have the chance to breeze over the Saratoga main track ahead of the Runhappy Travers, he will gallop here later in the week. Rice said she is confident the dark bay will handle the surface.

"He shipped to Parx and ran well. He shipped to Aqueduct and won the Withers on February 1st and had never trained at Aqueduct, he just shipped over from Belmont," said Rice. "I'm not concerned. He's a pretty level-headed horse and he's easy to train in that respect."

Joel Rosario, currently second in the Saratoga jockey standings, retains the mount.

Trainer Orlando Noda, who operates Noda Brothers with his brother Jonathan, confirmed Monday that jockey David Cohen would pick up the mount on maiden winner First Line for Saturday's Grade 1 Runhappy Travers.

First Line, a First Samurai chestnut, earned an 84 Beyer when graduating at fourth asking July 29 in a nine-furlong maiden route at the Spa.

Cohen guided 33-1 shot Golden Ticket to a dramatic dead-heat win with Alpha in the 2012 Travers. Noda said the veteran rider would gallop First Line on the Saratoga main track on Tuesday.

"I think he'll give us a good, honest ride," said Noda. "He'll get on him tomorrow and gallop on the main track and get a feel for the horse.

"It doesn't happen very often to have a horse peak at the right time," added Noda. "But everything happens for a reason and I think he'll outrun his odds."

Trainer Mike Stidham said Godolphin homebred Mystic Guide, a closing third last out in the Grade 3 Peter Pan on Opening Day at Saratoga, would take a pass on the Runhappy Travers and point instead to the Grade 2, $150,000 Jim Dandy, a nine-furlong test for sophomores on September 5.

"We're not going to run in the Travers, we're going to hold off and probably run in the Jim Dandy," said Stidham. "We've been conservative with the horse up to this point and we'll stay conservative for now."

2020 Travers Stakes Contenders Update

AUG 1- Tiz the Law, Sackatoga Stable's Grade 1 Belmont Stakes-champ, was the first horse on the Saratoga Race Course main track Saturday (August 1) morning, breezing five furlongs in 59.44 seconds in preparation for the Grade 1, $1 million Runhappy Travers slated for August 8.

"I wanted to go in a minute and he went in a minute. It was perfect," said trainer Barclay Tagg. "We couldn't have worked better. He came back good and he was breathing good. Everything was good. He's a gem to work with. He is doing perfectly as far as I'm concerned. I don't know what else we can do for him. I like this colt. Why wouldn't you? We've got a nice horse."

The "Mid-Summer Derby," to be contested at 1 1/4 miles for the country's most talented 3-year-olds, is one of three Grade 1s on the day, joining the $300,000 Ballerina Stakes for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up going seven furlongs in a "Win and You're In" qualifier for the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.

The day will also see sophomore fillies compete in the prestigious Grade 1, $300,000 Longines Test at seven furlongs, with the card bolstered by the Grade 3, $200,000 Troy, a 5 ½-furlong turf sprint for older males, and the Grade 3, $150,000 Waya, a 1 ½-mile turf route for older fillies and mares.

Sent out at 5:30 a.m., Tiz the Law recorded splits of 23.4, 36 and out in 1:13.2 over a fast main track with exercise rider Heather Smullen aboard.

"He's a little more relaxed in the morning," said Smullen. "He's nice and professional and does his job. There is always adversity. If he sees someone, he will get strong. He will get aggressive. He's a racehorse. Luckily, there was no one out there today. He went out there today and did what I told him to do. He was strong and consistent. It sure seems like it [that he's ready for the Travers]. He's done everything they have asked him to do."

A three-time Grade 1 winner, the son of second-crop sire Constitution followed up his August 2019 debut win at the Spa with a four-length score in the Grade 1 Champagne in October at Belmont. He completed his juvenile campaign with a close third in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club, contested on a sloppy strip at Churchill Downs.

Tiz the Law launched his sophomore season at Gulfstream Park with a three-length romp in the Grade 3 Holy Bull in February. He then dominated the nine-furlong Grade 1 Florida Derby by 4 ¼ lengths on March 28.

Last out, Tiz the Law captured the first leg of the revised Triple Crown when 3 ¾-lengths the best in the nine-furlong Grade 1 Belmont Stakes.

Tagg and Sackatoga Stable traveled the Triple Crown road in 2003 with another New York-bred in Funny Cide. The Distorted Humor chestnut prevailed by 1 ¾-lengths in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby under Hall of Famer Jose Santos. He followed up with a 9 ¾-length score in the Grade 1 Preakness, but finished third in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes after setting the early pace in his Triple Crown bid.

Sackatoga Stable's operations manager Jack Knowlton said he was pleased with his colt's final preparations.

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"Fortunately, he's an easy horse to deal with. He gallops out the way you want him to gallop out. Everything looks as good as it can be," said Knowlton. "I want to enjoy the next week because it is going to be a lot of fun. We will get to do a lot of things and we will enjoy the moment at Saratoga. Hopefully, everything will work out. We've got four weeks to hopefully win another [Kentucky] Derby.

"It's exciting [to be here for the Travers]. My second biggest disappointment with the whole Funny Cide run was not being able to even run in the Travers," added Knowlton. "When he got sick, that was a bigger disappointment after not winning the Triple Crown. Now, we've got a second chance. It's not often you get second chances the way we have with this horse and to do things that we couldn't do. We checked one box by winning the Belmont. It would be wonderful to check this box to win the Travers. I have a lot of confidence that he's going to get the mile and a quarter."

Bred in New York by Twin Creeks Farm, Tiz the Law is out of the graded stakes-winning Tiznow broodmare Tizfiz. He has accumulated earnings of $1,480,300.

Tiz the Law, who leads all contenders with 272 Derby qualifying points, will contest a unique Triple Crown scenario that will continue with the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby, rescheduled from Saturday, May 2 to Saturday, September 5, as the second leg of the Classic series. The Grade 1 Preakness, originally slated for May 16, will close out the Triple Crown on October 3 at Pimlico Race Course.

Runhappy Travers contenders Country Grammer and Shivaree breezed at 8:45 a.m. after the break on the Saratoga main track, while possible entrant Mystic Guide breezed at Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Maryland.

Paul Pompa, Jr.'s Country Grammer, last out winner of the Grade 3 Peter Pan for trainer Chad Brown, worked a half-mile in company Saturday morning on the main track in 47.66. The Tonalist bay was clocked the opening quarter-mile in 24 flat.

A maiden winner at second asking when travelling nine furlongs in November at the Big A, Country Grammer was fifth in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth in his seasonal debut in February at Gulfstream. Following a closing third in a one-turn, 1 1/16-mile allowance event on June 4 at Belmont, Country Grammer made his return to two turns a winning one in the 1 1/8-mile Peter Pan on Opening Day July 16 at Saratoga.

The experienced Shivaree, trained by Ralph Nicks for Jacks or Better Farm, was clocked five furlongs in 1:03.27 after the break on the Saratoga main.

"It looked like he went well. He's a tough horse and he handles everything fine," said Nicks. "He handled shipping up there fine. He seems to be in good form. It was a nice maintenance breeze on the bridle, just kind of cruising around there this morning so all is well. We decided last week to take a shot, and everything's good."

The Awesome of Course colt, a Florida homebred, boasts a record of 12-3-3-2 with purse earnings of $345,505. He captured the Buffalo Man and Limehouse at Gulfstream to kick off his 3-year-old campaign and was the runner-up in both the Grade 3 Swale and Grade 1 Florida Derby at the Hallandale Beach oval. Last out, Shivaree failed to fire when 11th in the Grade 2 Blue Grass on July 11 at Keeneland.

Junior Alvarado will have the call in the Runhappy Travers.

Godolphin homebred Mystic Guide, a late-running third in the Grade 3 Peter Pan for trainer Mike Stidham, added blinkers for his five-eighths work in 1:01 flat Saturday at Fair Hill.

"We felt like he was a little more handy with the blinkers on," said Stidham. "He broke off three lengths behind another horse. We told the rider to stay even with the other horse down to the wire and he galloped out well. He went out in 13 and change. I was very happy with the addition of blinkers."

Stidham said he will consider both the Runhappy Travers and the Grade 2, $150,000 Jim Dandy at nine furlongs on September 5 for Mystic Guide.

"We're considering the Travers and we're also considering maybe waiting and running in the Jim Dandy," said Stidham. "We haven't decided yet but this definitely was a work we were going to use to see if the blinkers helped, which they seemed to, and then decide how aggressive we want to be. Obviously, going into the Travers would be a bit of an aggressive move."

By Ghostzapper, the Kentucky homebred colt is out of five-time Grade 1-winner Music Note. Mystic Guide made his first two starts at Fair Grounds including a debut third in a six-furlong sprint in February ahead of a five-length maiden score when travelling 1 1/16-miles on March 21 that earned an 84 Beyer.

Mystic Guide rallied to finish second behind Tap It to Win in a June 4 allowance around one-turn with eventual Peter Pan victor and likely Runhappy Travers rival Country Grammer 1 1/2-lengths back in third.

With Jose Ortiz aboard for the first time in the Peter Pan, Mystic Guide settled in eighth position in the nine-furlong event rallying wide to finish third, 3 1/2-lengths back of the victorious Country Grammer, who was a neck better than Caracaro.

The probable field for the Runhappy Travers, which offers 100-40-20-10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the top-four finishers, is also expected to include Caracaro [Gustavo Delgado], Max Player [Linda Rice], Uncle Chuck [Bob Baffert] and South Bend [Bill Mott].

Tiz the Law Prepping for G1 Travers Stakes

Tiz the Law ,Sackatoga Stable's Grade 1 Belmont Stakes champ, breezed five-eighths in 1:00.48 Saturday morning on the Saratoga Race Course main track in preparation for the Grade 1, $1 million Runhappy Travers slated for August 8.

Under mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the low 70s, the son of second crop sire Constitution recorded splits of 24.20 and 36.00 before galloping out in 1:13.80 over a fast main track with exercise rider Heather Smullen aboard.

"He does exactly what you tell him to do," Smullen said. "It was a little different this week just because there was some traffic right off the rail and last week there was no one around and nothing for him to look at. This week, there were a couple horses down the stretch and he just buzzed right by them. I never moved my hands or asked him to do anything. He just stays on his own course, does his job, and gallops out great. I just sat there, and he did it on his own. Everything today was just easy and comfortable on his part."

A three-time Grade 1 winner, Tiz the Law won the Grade 1 Champagne in October at Belmont following a victory on debut against fellow New York-breds in his lone start at Saratoga. He rounded out his juvenile campaign with a close third in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs, which was his only defeat in six starts.

Trainer Barclay Tagg, who watched the work aboard his stable pony, was pleased but unsurprised with how well his horse trained.

"Nothing fazes him. I don't know that I've ever had a horse quite like him," Tagg said. "His breathing was perfect. You could tell he just worked, but it was nothing like most horses. He's got three nice races under him. He's good and fit and he's trained perfectly.

"He seems willing to want to do more," Tagg added. "Whenever we do more, he blazes off just as fast. He's a great horse to have. We try not to take anything away from him."

Tiz the Law made his seasonal bow at Gulfstream Park with a three-length score in the Grade 3 Holy Bull in February en route to a dominating effort in the nine-furlong Grade 1 Florida Derby by 4 ¼ lengths on March 28. Last out, in the nine-furlong Belmont Stakes, Tiz the Law again proved dominant with a 3 ¾-length score in the first leg of the Triple Crown under regular pilot Manny Franco.

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"He's been good everywhere we went," Tagg said. "He was just like this in Florida and did everything we asked him to. You can follow the book so to speak, but if you miss a couple of days because of weather, he can just pick it right back up again."

Sackatoga Stables operations manager Jack Knowlton was present for the breeze and said the Runhappy Travers' mile and a quarter distance should be no issue for Tiz the Law.

"It's just what we need," Knowlton said. "He's fit and he just shows that. Time really doesn't matter. If you look at the way he gallops out, that to me is more meaningful. He works five-eighths then gallops out six, gallops out seven and gallops out a mile and still keeps going. There just seems to be no end to the energy he has, so I'm looking forward to a mile and a quarter race. I think he'll really relish the added distance."

Bred in New York by Twin Creeks Farm, Tiz the Law is out of the graded stakes winning Tiznow broodmare Tizfiz. He has accumulated earnings of $1,480,300.

Tiz the Law, who leads all contenders with 272 Derby qualifying points, will contest a unique Triple Crown scenario that will continue with the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby, rescheduled from Saturday, May 2 to Saturday, September 5, as the second leg of the Classic series. The Grade 1 Preakness, originally slated for May 16, will close out the Triple Crown on October 3 at Pimlico Race Course.

Country Grammer possible for Travers Stakes (G1)

Following a victory in Opening Day's Grade 3 Peter Pan at Saratoga Race Course, Country Grammer is a likely candidate for the Grade 1, $1 million Runhappy Travers on August 8, according to his connections.

Owned by Paul Pompa, Jr. and trained by Chad Brown, the 3-year-old son of second crop sire Tonalist notched his first graded stakes score in the 1 1/8-mile event for sophomores over the main track. Guided by Irad Ortiz, Jr., Country Grammer broke sharply from post 2, tracked in fourth off a moderate pace, found an opening along the rail around the far turn and established command at the top of the stretch holding off Caracaro to win by a neck, registering a 95 Beyer Speed Figure.

"If he comes back well, the Travers would be the logical spot. It's coming back a little soon but so far, so good," Pompa, Jr. said. "We always have liked this horse, but the COVID-19 situation has created gaps, just due to lack of racing."

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Country Grammer arrived at the Peter Pan off a third-place finish against allowance company at Belmont Park, running 6 ½ lengths to eventual Belmont Stakes fifth-place finisher Tap It To Win. After a fourth place finish in his career debut on grass, he switched to the main track, breaking his maiden by 3 ½ lengths at Aqueduct going the Peter Pan distance.

Pompa, Jr. said the 1 1/4-mile Runhappy Travers should suit Country Grammer.

"Chad always liked him, but he never trained well at Belmont for some reason," said Pompa, Jr. "We knew he would appreciate going two turns. Should we go to the Travers, we think the extra eighth of a mile is to his advantage."

Country Grammer, bred in Kentucky by Scott Pierce and Debbie Pierce, is out of the Forestry broodmare Arabian Song and his third dam Willstar produced Group 1 winner on turf Etoile Montante. He was purchased for $450,000 at the OBS April Sale in 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale, where he was consigned by Wavertree Stables.

Should Country Grammer move forward to the Runhappy Travers, he would be Pompa Jr.'s second contender in the "Mid Summer Derby". In 2016, he owned sixth-place finisher Connect, who went on to defeat that year's Kentucky Derby top three finishers in the Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby en route to a Grade 1 Cigar Mile triumph.

"He beat a real tough field in the Pennsylvania Derby that year," Pompa, Jr. said. "There were a lot of serious horses in the race that year and it was the first year they made it a Grade 1. Exaggerator, Nyquist and Gun Runner were all in there, so he beat a really nice field."

About the Travers Stakes

The Travers Stakes is the oldest major stakes race in the U.S. having first been conducted in 1864.

The Travers was named for William R. Travers, president of the old Saratoga Racing Association. The initial running of the race was won by his horse Kentucky. From 1864 to 1889, the race was run at 1 3/4 miles, and the current distance was adopted for the 1904 running.

In 1941 Triple Crown champion Whirlaway became the first and only horse to win the Travers after sweeping the Triple Crown. In the 1982 Travers, Canadian champion Runaway Groom became the first horse to defeat the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont winners in a single race. No other horse has accomplished this feat since. In 2012 Alpha and Golden Ticket won the race the first and only Travers dead heat.

Other top horses to win the Travers include Bernardini, Medaglia d'Oro, Holy Bull, Easy Goer, Forty Niner, Alydar, Arts and Letters, Damascus, Sword Dancer, Native Dancer and Man o' War.

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