It’s the calm before the storm here in Saratoga as the final day of racing takes place before the highly anticipated Travers Stakes runs for the 153rd time on Saturday. The race will be held at Saratoga Racecourse in Saratoga Springs New York at the oldest sporting venue in the United States. The race has a field of eight looking to take home the 1.25 million dollar purse, with Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and now Travers Stakes favorite Epicenter looking to take his first Grade 1 stakes racing win.
Triple Crown Bust
Epicenter most recently won the G2 Jim Dandy stakes over Preakness winner Early voting allowing trainer Steven Asmussen confidence while entering the Travers Stakes. For those who don’t know, Epicenter opened up as the favorite in the Kentucky Derby, where he lost to Travers contender Rich Strike, and in the Preakness where he lost to Travers contender Early Voting. Both Epicenter and Early Voting decided not to run in the Belmont Stakes, the final leg of the Triple Crown but instead looked at the Travers as a possible opportunity. However unlike Early Voting, Epicenter needed to win the Jim Dandy as he hadn’t yet shown his trainer and owner anything after his two G1 losses.
Jim Dandy Run
Coming into the Travers Epicenter is fresh off a G2 Jim Dandy win which gives more hope to those betting on him as he is the favorite yet again for this race. For Epicenter the Travers Stakes is a must needed win for him if he hopes to run in the Breeders Cup at Keeneland this November as many of his opponents entered in the Travers will be racing at that race as well. One thing to keep in mind when betting on Epicenter is his track times which have been improving recently. He sits in the sixth spot at the starting gate which won’t give him the inside but instead the outside which could allow him to get the early lead around the clubhouse turn.
An early lead for Epicenter is needed as he slows down when he gets to the final furlongs. We saw this in the Kentucky Derby as Zandon started to pressure Epicenter as he got into the final stretch slowing him down allowing for Sony Leon’s Rich Strike, his outstanding victory. Many people think he will have what it takes to win the Travers but others have their doubts. Let me know who you think will win the Travers Stakes I think Epicenter will prove that he’s a competitive horse and win the 153rd Travers Stakes.