A field of 10 will line up in the marquee event of the Saratoga meeting on Saturday, the Grade 1 $1.25 million Travers Stakes, with the Bob Baffert trained Bayern installed as the 2-1 morning line favorite.
The Travers Day card features 14 races including the $250,000 Ballston Spa, the $500,000 Ballerina and the $500,000 King’s Bishop. The Ballerina and Travers will be part of NBC Sports Network’s national telecast from 4:30 to 6 p.m. The Travers has a scheduled post time of 5:46 p.m.
Bayern has bounced back off his ninth place finish in the Preakness (G1) by winning the Woody Stephens (G2) and the Haskell Invitational (G1) in his last two outings. Martin Garcia gets the return call for Baffert, who won the Travers in 2001 with Point Given.
Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Tonalist is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line. The Christophe Clement trainee exited winning the third jewel of the Triple Crown by running second to Wicked Strong in the Jim Dandy (G2) over the Spa main track at nine furlongs.
Wicked Strong (7-2) added blinkers in the Jim Dandy and put in his best effort since winning the Wood Memorial (G1), beating Tonalist by 2 ¼ lengths.
Mr Speaker is coming off a victory in the Belmont Derby (G1) going 1 ¼ miles on turf and will be making just his second career start on conventional dirt. His lone start on dirt was a seventh place finish in the Holly Bull (G2) at Gulfstream Park in January. In addition to turf, the colt won the Lexington Sakes (G3) on polytrack at Keeneland in April.
Michael Dempsey will have his full card report for Travers Day available on Friday afternoon.
The 145th running of the Travers Stakes Post time 5:45 ET
1. Commanding Curve 15-1
2. Bayern 2-1
3. Charge Now 15-1
4. V. E. Day 15-1
5. Viva Majorca 20-1
6. Tonalist 3-1
7. Wicked Strong 7-2
8. Kid Cruz 12-1
9. Ulanbator 30-1
10. Mr Speaker 10-1
Michael’s Saratoga Report includes his selections, analysis, fair odds line, and wagering recommendations. Mike has been handicapping the New York Racing circuit on a daily basis for nearly three decades. Get the remainder of the meeting for just $59.95!