Or Maybe Not, But I HAVE to Root Him In!

2013 TraversWell here we are again at the end of August and it is time for me to preview the Grade 1 Travers Stakes. This is almost like previewing the Kentucky Derby or one of the other classics because several of those horses are in this race. Besides, the Travers is a classic race in itself. The Travers is a Grade 1 event for three year olds going a distance of 11/4 miles for a purse of $1,000,000. This race will go a long way in determining three year old horse of the year. Oh yeah, and the purse is very satisfying too.

Verrazano In Lead Spot for Favorite

Verrazano Set For TraversLet’s start by looking as usual at the morning line favorite which is Verrazano. He is set in at 2 to 1 and is coming off of two very impressive nine length wins in the Haskell Invitational and the Pegasus Stakes. These wins are what I’m sure Todd Pletcher wanted to see out of this horse earlier in the year. He put up some impressive speed figures in both races and is certain to be a factor in this race. Can he win it? Well if he does he will take great strides toward winning Horse of the Year.

Palace Malice Holds Off Will Take Charge in Jim DandyThe second choice in the morning line is Todd Pletcher’s Palace Malice coming off back to back victories in the Belmont Stakes and the Jim Dandy Stakes. He earned very good speed figures in both those events and is on top of his game. I wonder, in this prestigious race which horse Todd is pulling for. I mean this race is very important and means a lot to each of the participant’s connections. I wonder what he tells each of the owners. I’m sure he has an opinion as to which one will fare better, but does he come clean and tell one of the owners that his charge is not the one he has in mind for the winners circle? I know that both horses have earned their way into this race, but what does Todd tell each of the owners. I wonder.

Orb May Get New Rider in Travers

Kentucky Derby Winner OrbThe third choice in the morning line is the Kentucky Derby winner Orb at 4 to 1. Orb has not run since the Belmont Stakes and has not won since that first Saturday in May. But Orb runs well off of a layoff and has been working fast times in the mornings. On a side note, Joel Rosario sustained a broken bone in his left foot on Friday and will require a doctor’s clearance before being able to ride Orb in the Travers. Orb is no doubt a great horse, but without Rosario he will be at a disadvantage. Possible substitutes for Rosario that are being considered are Rosie Napravnik or Jose Lezcano, although Lezcano suffered a leg injury on Friday as well when he subbed for Rosario in the Ballerina Stakes.

MorenoOk now we will talk about how I see the race shaking out. I am pretty sure that Moreno will try and get the lead, but it won’t come easy. Now here is where I really wonder about Todd Pletcher’s instructions to each of his jockeys. Will he send Palace Malice out to contest the lead or will he send Verrazano to the front? I mean, I know that he knows that it will be suicide for them if they both go early and with Moreno in the mix, it will be interesting. Now if one has turned into Secretariat recently, perhaps he could survive the pace, but otherwise not so much. I think that  Pletcher will send Verrazano to do battle with Moreno, and Palace Malice will hold back somewhat and try to run like he did in the Bluegrass.

Time to Charge the Travers

So who will be coming from behind?  Of course we know that Orb will be a late runner in this race. But the layoff from the Spring racing is going to take its toll, I believe, and without Rosario to guide him it could be trouble. He will come running, but I think he will be just a tad short.

Will Take Charge Will Take Travers!So you know who that leaves don’t you? Will Take Charge will be running wild down the stretch, and I believe he will finally get the win he deserves. He has a race over the surface and came up a length short in the Jim Dandy. Three jumps past the wire he was in front. That was 11/8 mile and this is 11/4 miles. My one area of concern with this horse is why is Alvarado not still in the irons? I have no earthly idea. I just hope Lucas knows what he is doing.

Now I know I have picked Will Take Charge in all of the Triple Crown races and in the Jim Dandy. You know I have to pick him here. He is in fine shape and the odds will be juicy so just indulge me.

My view of the outcome of the race is Will Take Charge first, Verrazano second and Orb third.

Good luck guys and gals!




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Handicap Horses

Co-lead Author & Admin at Handicap Horse Racing
Mike Lane, Sr is co-lead author and administrator of With over 38 years of experience and a degree in the "School of Hard Knocks" for handicapping, Mike has seen it all when it comes to thoroughbred racing and wants to help other horse players learn how to handicap and avoid the mistakes he has made in the past.

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