On August 24 we will witness the 150th running of the Travers Stakes, a race that has been on the calendar since way back in 1864. Before settling down to watch it and placing your Travers bet though, you may want to get to grips with the basics of this great race as we take you through what you need to know.
A maximum of 14 starters in the gate will run for the Travers Trophy, also known as the Man O’ War Cup.
There is a cool $1.25million up for grabs in the 150th Travers Stakes, the winner receiving $670,000.
Who Can Run in the Travers?
The race is for 3-year-olds only, with the colts carrying 126lbs and the fillies 121lbs.
When Does the Travers Stakes Take Place?
August 24, 2019.
Where is the 150th Travers Stakes Run?
Travers Day, featuring another five Grade 1 races no less, takes place at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, New York during their awesome 40-day summer meet.
When Is Post Time for the Travers?
5.44PM ET, but for a long day of quality racing the gates are open at Saratoga by 11AM.
2019 Travers Stakes Main Contenders
The latest edition of this event looks like being a real vintage one, even without the presence of certain horses from the Triple Crown races. Along with their early odds, here are the horses most people are looking forward to seeing:
Game Winner 3/1
The 2018 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champion is trained by three-time winner of the Travers, Bob Baffert, and appears to be coming back to his best now after an underwhelming spring. This lovely bay colt very definitely has the ability to score here.
Maximum Security 7/2
The original winner of the Kentucky Derby before being disqualified, Jason Servis’ colt if it were not for that steward’s decision would now be three-time Grade 1 winner already and retains some very serious potential over this 1¼-mile distance.
A large horse who takes time to get going, he is being sharpened-up by the addition of blinkers to aide his concentration which could mean his performances going to the next level. The son of Tapit is already a Wood Memorial winner, was third in the Derby and ran second in the Belmont Stakes too.
Code Of Honor 9/2
Shug McGaughey has won this race three times already as a trainer and in Code Of Honor he has another real contender. Second in the Derby, he was given a rest before winning easily in the G3 Dwyer Stakes at Belmont in July and will come into the race a progressive and fresh horse.
Are Any Outsiders Worth Considering?
Always. Some past winners, although going on to be recognised superstars, came into this race as relative unknowns and subsequently went off at big odds. Here are two lively outsiders to consider this year:
Global Campaign 16/1
A son of Curlin, Global Campaign didn’t enjoy much luck in the Jim Dandy last time but back in May he managed to beat Sir Winston who went on to win the Belmont Stakes, the last leg of the Triple Crown.
Broadly speaking his form isn’t good enough to win this, but it is worth remembering that he was many a shrewd handicapper’s pick for the Preakness Stakes in May, in which he finished third, and he’s warmed up for this race with a win in the Ohio Derby.
So, what does it take to win a Travers Stakes? The ultimate answer is quality as only the best of the current crop of sophomores tend to take this prize. Before we all go rushing out to wager on Maximum Security or Game Winner though, we must remember that in recent years it hasn’t always been those with the most obvious form who’s hit the wire in front.
Catholic Boy was a Belmont Stakes winner, but he was well-rested after that win and came into the race fresh. Before that West Coast Boy had too been off the track since July having only won a Grade 3, though he was climbing the ranks much like Arrogate who has only been a claiming winner but was improving.
It seems then that those without too many miles on the clock tend to well in this race, something it would be wise to keep in mind when making your 150th Travers Stakes picks on August 24.