The 2022 Travers Stakes

How could I choose a different race to go over on Saturday? It just wouldn’t seem right. The Mid-summer Derby came up awfully interesting and has both championship and Breeders’ Cup Classic implications. If Charge It and Taiba were here it would have been one of the best Travers fields we’ve seen in a long time and it is still pretty good and very salty!

 

One interesting note to start. No jockey in the race has ever won The Travers. Someone is getting their first Travers as a jockey. Of the trainers only Brad Cox has won it, last year with Essential Quality.

 

Cyberknife will try and give Brad Cox back- to- back wins in the race breaking from the rail. He had an ideal set up last out and I thought was lucky to beat Taiba in The Haskell. He does come in on a two-race winning streak and seems to be getting good and better. I believe he will have to take another step forward to win here. While he may, so may some others and I lean in some different directions. He should get a nice stalking trip which won’t hurt his chances.

 

Rich Strike, the improbable Kentucky Derby winner is back to try and legitimize his Derby upset. I thought he caught a perfect storm in Louisville on The First Saturday in May. Sure, lightning can strike twice, but the odds of that happening here with this field and pace shape, the odds are higher than Rich Strikes were in The Kentucky Derby. To him I say prove it.

Ain’t Life grand simply looks overmatched. Six or seven scratches might give him a chance in my book.

 

Gilded Age is a nice enough colt but looks to be a cut below the better ones in this field. Pass.

 

Artorius is interesting. He may wind up this good and it is not impossible he already is. I will say prove it to him also due to the quality of this field in comparison with the field I thought he man handled in The Curlin. If I was spreading yes, but I’m not.

 

Epicenter sure grew into a man last time out. He sat off the pace in The Jim Dandy and inhaled the field while well within himself. Visually it looked perfect. Nothing to knock whatsoever and it was so easy you had to think he would go forward off that race. Horses are not machines however, and maybe that was his day and not Saturday. I know he is good, and he can beat me, but as good as he looked in The Jim Dandy this is another race on another day, and I see a different possibility.

 

Early Voting convinced me the Jim Dandy was over going into the Clubhouse turn. Obviously, I was wrong with a capital W. He did what I wanted and took the lead but folded like a soup sandwich when the real running started. Usually, I would not support a horse who had no fight but he has had fight before so I know he can be tough. Additionally, the track was slow, heavy and tiring at that point in the meet. It is playing differently now, and I have to believe Chad Brown and Jose Ortiz know that. I see him on the lead again. I see a pace advantage. I see a serious gate to wire threat and I will give him another chance.

 

Zandon is a nice colt and in my opinion is working as good or better than anyone in here. He’s worked that way before however and in three tries he hasn’t been able to get the better of Epicenter. I think he is sitting on a big race, perhaps his best to date. If he is going to beat Epicenter, it could very well be on Saturday. I loved him in The Blue Grass and bet big. I loved him in The Derby, and he ran big, not big enough. I’ll have my eyes on him Saturday, not my money.

 

This will be one to enjoy. That is what we should all plan to do while we try and win some money too!

 

For more on the Saturday card check out Saratoga Today on Past The Wire TV. You’ll be glad you did.

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Jon Stettin

Since childhood, Jon has always had a deep love and respect for the Sport of Kings. His years of experience have earned him a well respected spot in the industry as a handicapper. He now is a frequent contributor to AmWager as well as writing for his own site.

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