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2008 Travers Stakes Entries and Betting Odds
by Kenneth Strong, Chief Horse Racing Handicapper, Predictem.com
Harlem Rocker, Mambo in Seattle, look like horses to beat in wide-open Travers Stakes at a great odds
August 22, 2008 – The 139th running of the $1 million Travers Stakes at Saratoga on Saturday, August 23 looks wide open on paper and it is. Slated to run as the 11th race on the Saratoga card, the 2008 Travers will be missing part-time superstar Big Brown but we would have been betting against him regardless. At least seven of the 12 entries look like they have a chance to win the mile and a quarter Grade 1 race for 3-year-olds and it will be run over real dirt which is something that will please Harlem Rockers trainer Todd Pletcher.
Harlem Rocker has only lost once in five starts, and that loss occurred the only time he tried something other than real dirt in the mile and an eighth Plate Trial Stakes at Woodbine on June 1. He passed the Queens Plate after that debacle and instead showed up in the mile and three-sixteenths Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie on July 13. The track announcer had him beat at the top of the stretch in that race too, but when regular jockey Eibar Coa asked him to run it was all over he drew out to win in workmanlike fashion by 1 -lengths. It wasnt his win in the Prince of Wales win that impressed us though it was his win in the one-mile Withers Stakes at Aqueduct on April 26 a race in which he powered home to win by 2 -lengths, recording a 106 Beyer Speed Figure in the process.
Listed at 4-1 on the morning line, Harlem Rocker is moving up in class for the Travers Stakes, but he has a good turn of foot, something that many do not have in the 2008 Travers, he has been working well at Saratoga, he may not have peaked yet, and the price will be right.
Also sure to attract good support will be Mambo in Seattle (5-1 morning line odds), who fought back gamely to win the mile and an eighth Henry Walton Stakes by a neck at Saratoga on July 27 over a surface listed as good. Mambo in Seattle received a 104 Beyer Speed Figure for that win, his third consecutive victory, and could also have another notch left in him. A proven fighter with a win over the Saratoga surface, he would certainly not be a surprise. Pedigree players will also note that Mambo in Seattle is by stamina source Kingmambo out of Weekend in Seattle, who is a half-sister to A.P. Indy by Seattle Slew certainly ample stamina, talent and heart in this family.
Next on our list would have to be Macho Again (6-1), who overcame traffic to win the mile and an eighth Jim Dandy Stakes-G2 at Saratoga over a surface listed as good on July 27 by a half length over Pyro (in a time that was a fifth of a second slower than that of Mambo in Seattle in the Walton Stakes on the same day at the same distance). Why Pyro is listed at 7/2 and Macho Again is listed at 6-1 is baffling to us. Pyro ran a good race in the Jim Dandy, but we think we may have seen the best of him already and others look more likely to improve.
Colonel John (8-1), the horse we liked to win the Kentucky Derby, will be making his second start off a layoff in the 2008 Travers. In his most recent start, the mile and an eighth Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park on July 12, he finished third beaten 1 -lengths by fellow Travers Stakes entrant Tres Borrachos (15-1). Colonel John was close to the pace that day and could run much better with a well-timed run behind a solid pace in the Travers. Tres Borrachos is probably better than his 15-1 odds indicate, particularly since he proved he could come from off the pace to win in the Swaps Stakes. He will likely sit just behind one of two pacesetters in the Travers.
Lone speed Belmont Stakes winner Da Tara (8-1) came back to run an awful seventh beaten 24 -lengths in the Jim Dandy Stakes when unable to clear to the lead by himself and he will again face pace pressure in the Travers from Tizbig (30-1), trained by Giant Killer H. Allen Jerkens. If either of these two speed horses were to open a clear lead early in the Travers they could go along ways. Make sure to use them both in your exotics and multi-race wagers just in case.
Below follow the entries for the 2008 Travers Stakes with Post Position, Morning Line Odds and Jockeys.
2008 Travers Stakes Entries by Post Position, Horse, Odds and Jockey
11th Race, Saratoga, Saturday, August 23, 2008
PP Horse Morning Line Odds Jockey
1 Tale of Ekati 20-1 Prado
2 Colonel John 8-1 Gomez
3 Da’ Tara 8-1
4 Tizbig 30-1 C. Velasquez
5 Macho Again 6-1 Leparoux
6 Cool Coal Man 15-1 J.R. Velazquez
7 Amped 30-1 Chavez
8 Harlem Rocker 4-1 Coa
9 Mambo in Seattle 5-1 Albarado
10 Tres Borrachos 15-1 T. Baze
11 Pyro 7/2 Bridgmohan
12 Court Vision 12-1 Desormeaux