Verrazano Morning Line Favorite in Travers Stakes at Saratoga

A field of nine including Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Orb and Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Palace Malice will head to the gate in Saturday’s $1 million Travers (G1), the marquee event of the Saratoga meeting.

However, it is a Kentucky Derby also-ran that is the 2-1 morning line favorite. The Todd Pletcher trained Verrazano has won twice since his subpar effort in the Run for the Roses, winning the Pegasus (G3) and Haskell Invitational (G1) in his last two outings.

The colt was an early Kentucky Derby favorite after winning the Tampa Bay Derby (G2), but despite winning the Wood Memorial (G1), he lost some luster after his speed figure in that victory came up on the light side. The colt went off at 8.70-1 in the Derby and faded to finish a well beaten 14th.

Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey tucked away Kentucky Derby winner Orb (4-1) at the Fair Hill Training Center after a fourth in the Preakness and a third in the Belmont Stakes.

His last two works at Fair Hill were bullets and he drilled a bullet work at Saratoga on the Oklahoma training track on Aug. 19 and looks ready to go.

Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice (5-2) is the second choice on the morning line. The colt bounced back from his 12th place finish in the Kentucky Derby with his win in the Belmont and then he won the Jim Dandy (G2) over the Spa main track going nine furlongs in his most recent outing.

D. Wayne Lukas will send out Will Take Charge (10-1), who competed in all three jewels of the Triple Crown.  The colt was beaten double digit lengths in all three outings, but bounced back with a good effort in the Jim Dandy in a runner up finish, beaten a length for the top spot.

An interesting longshot will be Virginia Derby (G2) winner War Dancer (15-1), who will be making just his second career start on dirt.

The Travers is one of four graded stakes on the 14-race card which gets underway at 11:35 am eastern.  NBC will cover the action during an extended 90-minute “Summer at Saratoga” that gets underway at 4:30 eastern.


$1 million Travers Stakes G1 Post time 5:46 ET

PP, Horse, Jockey, Trainer, Odds

1. Romansh, J. Castellano, T Albertrani, 12-1

2. Orb, J. Rosario, C R McGaughey, 4-1

3. Verrazano, J.R. Velazquez, T A Pletcher, 2-1

4. Golden Soul, R. Albarado, D Stewart, 20-1

5. Will Take Charge, L. Saez, D W Lukas, 10-1

6. Moreno, J. Ortiz, E Guillot, 12-1

7. War Dancer, A. Garcia, K McPeek, 15-1

8. Palace Malice, M. Smith, T A Pletcher, 5-2

9. Transparent, I. Ortiz, Jr., K McLaughlin, 10-1


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