2015 Travers Stakes Picks and Analysis
Graveyard of Favorites won't bury American Pharoah
Travers Stakes-G1, Race 11, Saratoga, Saturday, August 29, 2015
3-Year-Olds, 1 1/4-miles, Dirt, Purse: $1.25 Million
2015 Travers Stakes Predictions
2. Keen Ice
3. Texas Red
Bet YOUR Travers picks for FREE by taking advantage of a massive 50% bonus at one of the web's best racebooks! Simply deposit anywhere from $50 to $500 and they will give you an additional 50% FREE! Find this generous offer at Bovada Racebook!
2015 Travers Stakes Analysis
Thousands of fans will show up at Saratoga today hoping to see American Pharoah lose the 146th running of the Travers Stakes. Tens of thousands more will be there hoping he romps. And despite Saratoga's "Graveyard of Favorites" reputation, the latter group will probably get their wish.
Saratoga is unlikely to add American Pharoah to its list of famous upsets that include fellow Triple Crown winners Gallant Fox in 1930 and Secretariat in 1973, both of whom lost to much lesser rivals. Gallant Fox lost the Travers Stakes to 100-1 shot Jim Dandy in the mud after taking part in a sizzling duel with Whichone. Secretariat lost the Whitney to Onion, who was trained by the youngest trainer ever inducted into the Hall of Fame, H. Allen Jerkens.
Many of the upsets at Saratoga over the years can be attributed to mud, track biases and trainers.
Examples include Willow Hour's sloppy-track 24-1 win over Kentucky Derby winner Pleasant Colony in the 1981 Travers Stakes; Runaway Groom's 13-1 perfect-trip track-bias aided win in the 1982 Travers over Kentucky Derby winner Gato Del Sol, Preakness Stakes winner Aloma's Ruler, and Belmont Stakes winner Conquistador Cielo; and V. E. Day's 19-1 victory over stablemate Wicked Strong in the 2014 Travers for trainer Jimmy Jerkens, son of the late H. Allen Jerkens, and currently one of the best horse trainers on our planet.
We don't see any of the above scenarios in this year's Travers Stakes. But it will still be up to American Pharoah as to whether he wants to win or not. The Triple Crown winner has more talent than this bunch and comes into the race off a "something left" win in the Haskell Invitation-G1 on August 2 over two of today's rivals, Upstart and Keen Ice. He's already defeated Frosted, Tale of Verve and Texas Red and Frammento. That leaves only Mid Ocean, King of New York and Smart Transition to add to his list of defeated rivals after the Travers.
Wise guys are on two horses to post a possible upset, but neither are convincing.
Last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile-G1 champ Texas Red looks like he's back on top of his game after winning the Jim Dandy Stakes-G2 going 1 1/8-miles at Saratoga on August 1. His trainer Keith Desormeaux thinks he can win the Travers and has been pointing Texas Red to this race all year. The problem is, Texas Red looked "good" winning the Jim Dandy. American Pharoah is better than good.
The other horse longshot bettors are looking towards is Smart Transition, who has the trainer in John Shirreffs (conditioned Zenyatta), as well as a runaway win in the $100,000 Curlin Stakes going 1 1/-8 miles at Saratoga on July 31 in his favor, but he's making a seriously tough class raise in the Travers.
Keen Ice looks like the logical exacta horse for us, after a good rally to finish second behind American Pharoah in the Haskell Invitational. He should be able to sit and wait for Texas Red and Frosted to take their failed runs at American Pharoah and swoop passed them late as they're tiring.
Even if American Pharoah is having an off day, he proved in the Kentucky Derby that he could overcome both the fitness and heart challenge to win. And he's not a one-dimensional horse. He doesn't need the lead to win. If gets it by himself he could be long gone. If he rates off the pace he should be able to open up into the stretch, probably on Texas Red, and still have lots left to hold off exacta ralliers Keen Ice and Frosted. That's if he's not already running away from them.
As Triple Crown winners go, American Pharoah has not yet proven to have the talent of a Secretariat or the heart of an Affirmed or Seattle Slew. But in all fairness to the talented young star, he hasn't had to. Yet.
We'll take American Pharoah over Keen Ice in our main exacta, and also use Texas Red and Frosted on some smaller tickets, including trifectas, while taking all on the bottom of our Travers Superfecta. We'll also take a crazy and small saver exacta box on Texas Red and Keen Ice. Just in case... the ghosts show up.
Belmont Picks - (Currently In Season) Free daily Belmont Park predictions from the winningest horse handicapper on the net!
Santa Anita Picks - (Currently In Season) Free daily picks from one of North American's most popular race tracks!
Del Mar Picks - (Currently Out of Season) Kenneth gives his award winning race day predictions for all the races at Del Mar!
Saratoga Picks - (Currently Out of Season) Get free daily predictions each day of the racing season from the best pro horse handicapper on the planet!
Los Alamitos Picks - (Current Out of Season) Professional horse racing handicapper Ken Strong gives Predictem readers his take on the races at Los Alamitos!
Bovada - Bet on horse races using your Credit Card and get a 50% bonus up to $250 in free money!
Weekly Rebates - Find out where you can get weekly rebates of up to 5% on your action! Not net losses, we're talking 5% back on your total risked amount!
Kentucky Derby Futures - Take long odds on your favorite horse way before the Derby starts and get paid HUGE for correctly selecting the winning horse!
Kentucky Derby Betting - K. Strong dives deep into the betting and handicapping aspects of the Kentucky Derby.
Preakness Stakes Betting - The second jewel of the Triple Crown!
Belmont Stakes Betting - The 3rd jewel of the Triple Crown and logest of the trio at 1.5 miles long.
Understanding Betting on Horses - How does it work? We cover the bases plus explain exotic bets.
About Kenneth Strong - Get tips, advice and award winning information from one of the nation's best horse handicappers!