Top Track Selections

Travers Report

Guaranteed at $1 MILLION

NYRA Offers $1,000,000 Guaranteed Late Pick 4 Saturday At Saratoga Race Course

The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) has announced that it will offer a $1,000,000 Guaranteed Late Pick 4 Saturday presented by NYRA Rewards at Saratoga Race Course.

The Pick 4 will be an all Stakes event and will include the Travers Stakes.

Want a Longshot in the Travers ?

Here is what Steven Crist of the DRF has to say.

If you had won the weekly drawing for a free $15,000 bet on the Saturday feature at Saratoga, you would probably want to put it on one of the three favorites for the race: Verrazano (2-1), coming off a sensational blowout victory in the Haskell; Palace Malice (5-2), who has won the Belmont Stakes and the Jim Dandy in his last two starts; or Orb (7-2), the Kentucky Derby winner. They are all good horses, and any one of them would move straight to the head of the 3-year-old class with a Travers triumph.

Since you didn’t win the drawing, however, you are not obliged to play it safe and choose among the lowest-risk options. Might I interest you instead in a 10-1 shot with a fighting chance?

If Will Take Charge hadn’t run second to Palace Malice in the Jim Dandy here four weeks ago, you would be reasonable to demand 50-1 to bet on him in the Travers. He ran in all three legs of the Triple Crown but didn’t do a whole lot of running: eighth beaten 12 1/4 lengths in the Derby at 38-1; seventh beaten 16 lengths in the Preakness at 11-1; and 10th beaten 17 lengths in the Belmont at 22-1. A mere 45 1/4 lengths away from Triple Crown immortality.

Those classic running lines usually send a horse to the Iowa Derby rather than Saratoga, but trainer D. Wayne Lukas continued to believe he had a better horse than those finishes suggest. After all, in his last start before the Derby, Will Take Charge had won the Rebel over Oxbow, who went on to win the Preakness and run a strong second in the Belmont. He sent Will Take Charge out against Palace Malice in the Jim Dandy, took the blinkers off the colt, and Will Take Charge was a different horse: He looked eager every step of the way, mounted a nice rally around the stretch turn, and finished strongly to run second, beaten just a diminishing length by Palace Malice.

If this is the real Will Take Charge, I see no reason he should not continue to move forward with a race over the track under his girth and an extra furlong to work with in the Travers. He may not be as likely a winner as the three favorites, but he’s likelier than 10-1.

Just click on to get your Travers Weekend Selections for SARATOGA, ARLINGTON and DEL MAR.

More Longshots to Consider

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – In recent years, trainers Kiaran McLaughlin and Tom Albertrani have won the Travers with horses from whom big things were expected.

Saturday, in the 144th Travers Stakes at Saratoga, McLaughlin and Albertrani are back in the race with horses that could be intriguing longshots.

McLaughlin, whose Alpha won last year’s Travers in a dead heat with Golden Ticket, sends out Transparent, a $725,000 yearling purchase. Albertrani, who won the 2006 Travers with Bernardini, sends out Romansh, a $750,000 yearling purchase.

Both horses are owned by Sheikh Mohammed al Maktoum’s Godolphin Racing and both are sons of Bernardini. Though coupled in the Curlin Stakes, Romansh and Transparent will race as separate betting interests Saturday because state rules allow horses to race uncoupled in $1 million races.

Transparent, listed at 10-1 on the track’s morning line, has finished first in his last two starts. Of course, those races came 113 days apart and Transparent was disqualified from first and placed fifth in the July 26 Curlin Stakes, a race in which he interfered with fourth-place finisher Proud Strike approaching the quarter pole.

Between those two starts, Transparent was battling foot issues that McLaughlin finally rectified by equipping the colt with glue-on shoes on his hind feet. McLaughlin said Transparent is only the second horse on which he has used glue-ons behind.

“We were struggling trying to figure out what was going on,” McLaughlin said. “We thought he was sensitive to nails behind. A lot of times you’re guessing, but we had a pretty good idea.”

McLaughlin noted that those foot issues led to a spotty work tab for Transparent leading into the Curlin. Transparent, who only worked twice in the month of July, has worked twice since the Curlin.

“He had a race, he’s had two works, and now he’s ready to go,” McLaughlin said. “He wants the distance. But I like to say you got to put your horses with the worst company and yourself with the best company. I’m not doing a great job at it. . . . We feel like we have a chance. We’re not just trying to hit the board.”

McLaughlin stuck with Irad Ortiz Jr., though he acknowledged Ortiz made a mistake by moving a tad too early in the Curlin, which led to the disqualification.

“Really and truthfully, he made a half-a-stride mistake,” McLaughlin said. “He loves the horse and the horse runs for him. You start switching riders other things happen, so we have confidence in him on this horse.”

By David Grening.. DRF

Top Track Selections Travers Weekend Bonus

Saturday, August 24, marks the 144th running of the Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course. Dating back to 1864, this one-and-a-quarter-mile "Midsummer Derby" for three year olds is the oldest major thoroughbred race in America -- not to mention one of the biggest events in Saratoga Springs.

Experience the thrilling excitement of the Grade 1, $1 million Travers Stakes on Travers Day. We think we have the winner.

With Saratoga running on Mondays as well, our 3 Day Weekend Special becomes a 4 Day Weekend Special. You will receive our for four days for only $39 a $21 savings....

Our Picks can be very helpful, especially when playing the doubles and Pick 3, 4 and 6's, we have a very consistent record of having the winner in our top four selections.

Just click on for your Travers Weekend selections for SARATOGA, ARLINGTON and DEL MAR.