Stay Thirsty Is Favorite As Travers Stakes Field And Odds Set
We’re just 3 days away from the 142nd running of the Travers Stakes – the Travers is scheduled for Saturday, August 27th.
Today, the field and odds were set.
Grade II Jim Dandy winner Stay Thirsty, who also is bidding for divisional control, drew post position 9 and was made the narrow 5-2 morning-line favorite in the field of 10 drawn Wednesday for the “Mid-Summer Derby.”
Owned by Mike Repole and trained by Todd Pletcher, Stay Thirsty will seek to become the ninth colt to complete the Jim Dandy-Travers double, a feat most recently accomplished by Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense in 2007.
Haskell Invitational hero Coil is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line, from post position 7 with Martin Garcia aboard.
In the Haskell, Coil rocketed from last to first for his second graded stakes win. Having compiled a record of 3-1-1 from five starts, including the Grade 3 Affirmed, over artificial surfaces, the Haskell marked the striking chestnut’s first outing on conventional dirt, and Baffert was unsure how Coil was taking to the surface at the Spa. A recent scratch on the colt’s cornea further complicated matters, but Baffert’s doubts were allayed when Coil turned in a seemingly effortless bullet half-mile work of 46.12 on Tuesday under jockey Martin Garcia.
Preakness winner Shackleford, with Jesus Castanon in the irons, is 9-2 on the morning line from post 10. Shackleford arrived at Saratoga on the heels of his narrow loss to Coil in the Haskell and the handsome son of Forestry has been training exceptionally well since, most recently working five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 on August 20. Owned by Mike Lauffer and Bill Cubbedge, the speedy Preakness winner brings a record of 3-2-0 from nine starts into the Travers along with a bankroll of more than $1.7 million, more than double his nearest competitor, Ruler On Ice ($866,500).
History could be on the side of Ruler On Ice. Since 1867, when Belmont winner Ruthless captured the Travers, 30 winners of the “Test of the Champion” have also won the Travers, compared to eight who have completed the Preakness-Travers double. Most recently third behind Coil and Shackleford in the Haskell, Ruler On Ice brings a record of 3-2-2 from eight starts into the Travers, with the Belmont his lone stakes win for trainer Kelly Breen and owners George and Lori Hall.
Jose Valdivia, Jr. will ride the son of Roman Ruler, who is attempting to join Carley B. (1882), Roamer (1914), Loud (1970), Holding Pattern (1974) and Unshaded (2000) as the only geldings to win the Travers. Leaving from post 4, he was listed as the 6-1 fourth choice on the morning line.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin had the favorite for last year’s Travers in Trappe Shot, who entered the race off a runner-up finish in the Haskell and wound up ninth. This year, the trainer is taking a different tack with Mill House’s Rattlesnake Bridge, who has not run since his victory in the July 9 Long Branch at Monmouth Park.
Rattlesnake Bridge, 2-2-0 from five starts, including a second to Uncle Mo in the Timely Writer at Gulfstream Park on March 12, drew post position 2 and was listed at 8-1 on the morning line.
Raison d’Etat will be making just his fifth career start in the Travers and enters the race off a runner-up finish as the favorite in the Curlin Stakes on July 29. Trainer by Hall of Famer Bill Mott for Juddmonte Farms, the A. P. Indy colt drew post 6 and was listed at 10-1 on the morning line with Eddie Castro aboard.
Rounding out the field, from the rail out, are Bowman’s Causeway (12-1) – runner-up in the Prince of Wales at Fort Erie last time out – and trained by Chad Brown of Mechanicville; J W Blue (20-1), most recently second in the Barbaro at Delaware Park on July 9; recent allowance winner Malibu Glow (20-1), and Jim Dandy runner-up Moonshine Mullin (20-1).