Travers Stakes Trainer Talk
Travers Stakes Trainer Talk: The 2013 Travers Stakes takes place at Saratoga Race Corse in Saratoga Springs, New York on Saturday, August 24th and is the $1 million headliner stakes race of the day after the Foxwood’s King Bishop Stakes, the Ketel One Ballston Spa Stakes, and the Test Stakes. The 144th Travers Stakes will host a field of nine dynamic three-year-olds all with top-notch trainers with high hopes for their ever-improving colts.
Trainer Shug McGaughey recently reported to the NYRA he’s pleased with 2013 Kentucky Derby winner Orb’s progression since the colt’s time at Fair Hill Training Center saying, “The whole time Orb was down at Fair Hill I kept getting good feedback. I went down there about three or four times and was really pleased with what I was seeing.”
In his charming southern tone Shug McGaughey added, “We got him up here last Sunday and I’m just tickled to death at what he’s done so far since he’s been here! We’ll keep our fingers crossed and hopefully we can keep it together.”
Trainer Todd Pletcher reported that 2013 Belmont winner Palace Malice and 2013 Haskell winner Verrazano are both strong and are improving with each and every race they endure.
Todd Pletcher stated, “Palace Malice has been doing great since the Jim Dandy. He’s really had a great spring and has thrived on the races.”
The always fabulously dressed Todd Pletcher added, “Sometimes you get through the Derby preps and you just don’t know how much horse you have left at the end of it. He seems to be getting bigger, better, and stronger. He is just thriving on the action!”
Fan favorite Verrazano is also showing great signs of improvement as the summer moves into fall. Todd Pletcher said, “After his big Haskell win we’re hoping of more of the same from Verrazano. Everything that we’ve seen in the mornings since the Haskell indicates he’s just as good or better coming out of it. We’ve got one more breeze to go but we’re really happy with his condition as well.”
Todd Pletcher added, “Both of the colts (Orb & Verrazano) are big strong sturdy horses. They both take the races really well.”
Alongside Orb and Oxbow, Will Take Charge has run all three jewels of the Triple Crown finishing 8th in the Kentucky Derby, 7th in the Preakness Stakes, and 10th in the Belmont Stakes. Most recently, Will Take Charge finished 2nd by only a length to Palace Malice in the Jim Dandy Stakes with 17/1 odds at Saratoga Race Course on July 27th.
Despite Will Take Charge’s unsuccessful attempt down the Triple Crown trail, Trainer D. Wayne Lukas likes what he sees from the son of Unbridled’s Song saying, “I really thought he would get one of the classics, but it just wasn’t meant to be. We get a second chance here with the Travers, so we’ll see what happens.”
The world famous trainer added, “He was a little immature through the whole Triple Crown. I like what I see now, so maybe we’re just finding out about him. He’s a very sound, really nice horse. I took the blinkers off of him in the Jim Dandy, and he ducked in a little bit from the crowd or he probably could have won that race, frankly,” Lukas said. “He’s had a good month since the Jim Dandy, a very good month. He’s maturing nicely. He’s really having a good summer.”
Just like the other maturing three-year-old colts this year, Lukas thinks Will Take Charge is improving, especially since the Kentucky Derby back in May. Lukas said, “He’s been a quality horse all year. His Derby, if you look at it, was good. He’s had some bad racing luck, but he’s now starting to come around. He’s a big, long-striding horse that I think will get better as the fall goes along. I think he’ll probably even get better late into the fall around Breeders’ Cup time.”
Trainer Dallas Stewart, who clearly has the prettiest horse in the Travers Stakes field, recently revealed he still believes in Golden Soul and thinks the chestnut colt’s time has come to win a big one. While watching Golden Soul graze outside the barn Dallas Stewart stated, “”Look at him. His coat shines. His tail’s swishing. Ain’t he a picture? I just think he’s telling me, ‘This is my time. I’m at my peak. Let me show you what I can do.’ ”
Golden Soul finished last in the Haskell Invitational and has only won one maiden race in his career. The inspiring Dallas Stewart said, “He just didn’t run well. I don’t know why. The most positive thing is the way he came out of the race. His energy was good. Every health check we gave the horse he passed. He’s trained very well since the race. So, maybe he didn’t like the racetrack or something. It’s just one of those things we just can’t put our finger on.”
Golden Soul is the long shot bet for the 2013 Travers Stakes but his trainer may have the golden ticket to winning the big race. Insiders revealed Golden Soul has been leisurely enjoying at least four hours a day outside his stall with his groom Albino Mata, three hours in the morning after his workout and another in the late afternoon. Golden Soul is reportedly relaxed and calm as he slowly grazes and looks around at his surroundings, which may make him a better horse on the Saratoga track on Saturday.
Morning line odds were released for the 2013 Travers Stakes naming Verrazano the favorite with 2/1 odds followed by 5/2 Palace Malice. Orb is the third favorite for the “Mid-Summer Derby” coming in with 4/1 odds.
The 1 ¼ mile Travers Stakes is the 12th race of the day with a 5:46 PM EDT post time. NBC will begin coverage for the King Bishop Stakes and the Travers Stakes at 4:30 PM EDT.
2013 Travers Stakes Post Positions & Odds
1 Romansh 12/1 Castellano/Albertrani
2 Orb 4/1 Lezcano/McGaughey
3 Verrazano 2/1 Velazquez/Pletcher
4 Golden Soul 20/1 Albarado/Stewart
5 Will Take Charge 10/1 Saez/Lukas
6 Moreno 12/1 Ortiz/Guillot
7 War Dancer 15/1 Garcia/McPeek
8 Palace Malice 5/2 Smith/Pletcher
9 Transparent 10/1 Ortiz, Jr./McLaughlin