Travers Stakes Picks, Analysis, Entries, Post Positions, Odds and Jockeys

2010 Travers Picks and Analysis
by Kenneth Strong, Professional Horse Handicapper,

141st Running of the Shadwell Travers Stakes G1

Distance: 1 1/4-miles Surface: Dirt Purse: $1 million

Track: Saratoga Racecourse, Race 12, Saturday, August 28, 2010

Travers Stakes Picks and Analysis

1.Trappe Shot
2.Fly Down
3. First Dude
4. A Little Warm

Travers Superfecta Longshot Admiral Alex

If you can pick the right horse theres a very good chance youll get a great price in the 141st renewal of the Travers Stakes at Saratoga on Saturday August 28, 2010, and well be going against at least one of the favorites in the win spot.

A well-matched field of 11, some battle-hardened veterans and others short on seasoning but long on talent will slug it out over a mile and a quarter at the graveyard of favorites on Saturday and anything could happen which means the superfecta and other exotics could pay big. What are the chances we could match our 2010 Haskell picks, in which we nailed the superfecta straight? Were hoping!

From post position out with morning-line odds the Travers Stakes includes Jim Dandy runner-up Miners Reserve (12-1), Haskell Invitational runner-up Trappe Shot (4-1), impressive maiden breaker Admiral Alex (12-1), Preakness Stakes runner-up First Dude (8-1), Jim Dandy winner and morning-line favorite A Little Warm (7/2), Kentucky Derby runner-up Ice Box (10-1), Pegasus winner Afleet Express (6-1), Dwyer Stakes winner Fly Down (8-1), Mike Lee winner Friend or Foe (15-1), Withers Stakes winner Afleet Again (30-1) and Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver (6-1).

Win or lose well be using one of our favorite betting angles in the 2010
Travers and going with second choice Trappe Shot to win.

Conditioned by Kiaran McLaughlin, Trappe Shot fits the angle of needing a race when moving up in class and improving when he meets that same class again. Trappe Shot was making his first start against serious horses in the Haskell Invitational on August 1 and ran into a razor sharp buzz saw in the form of Preakness winner Lookin At Lucky. Trappe Shot followed Lookin At Lucky around the track in the Haskell and gave his best in the stretch to finish second beaten four lengths, but in the process he also defeated the more seasoned First Dude, Ice Box, Afleet Again and Super Saver.

The short comment in Trappe Shots past performance for the Haskell indicate
that he had to wait a bit in the race, but that didnt cost him the win.
He was never going to beat Lookin At Lucky that day. Now that hes had a
race against the best 3-year-olds in training however, were expecting him
to move forward in his second try at this class level. While the fact that
his connections were also thinking about entering in the shorter Kings
Bishop concerns us a little, well take a shot that his broodmare sire Private
Account will provide him with enough stamina to get him home in a race that
should set up for his late run under regular rider Alan Garcia. Trappe Shot
has run at Saratoga once before, finishing fifth with an excuse in his first
lifetime start after stumbling at the break. At morning-line odds of 4-1
hes the pick.

Fly Down is trained by Nick Zito, who won the Travers
in 2004 with Birdstone, but we like the late-running son of Mineshaft for
a few reasons besides his trainer. Fifth beaten 4 -lengths in the Jim Dandy,
he was running late in that race when forced to check, which may or may
not have cost him second money. The point is he was running at the end of
the mile and an eighth and hell get another eighth of a mile to work with
in the Travers. He appears to be better the further he goes, as evidenced
by his second-place finish in the Belmont Stakes at 1 – miles on June 5,
and hes also proven carrying 126 pounds over a distance of ground, which
is something neither Trappe Shot nor morning-line favorite A Little Warm
has ever done. Nick Zito also saddles both Ice Box and Miners Reserve in
this years Travers, and the latter should take some of the sting out of
classy speed horse First Dude to set up the late run of both Fly Down and
Ice Box.

First Dude will be getting blinkers for the first time
in the Travers, which should have him vying for the lead with Miners Reserve
throughout most of the race. Even without blinkers First Dude is the class
speed of the race and he always gives his best, but he just doesnt seem
to be able to dig in late to get the job done. Its not that he doesnt
try – he just seems physically in capable of taking it to the next level
at crunch time. He had open leads in both the Preakness and Belmont but
succumbed late in both races to finish second and third respectively. Still,
he is proven at a distance and theres no question he can handle the 126
pound weight assignment that all starters will carry in the Travers. If
hes loose on the lead could he go all the way at 8-1? Yes he could, but
its more likely hell put away Miners Mark and hang on for a piece under
top jock Ramon Dominguez.

A Little Warm has done little wrong in a career that has
seen him finish first or second in eight of nine career starts and he does
have a win at Saratoga to his credit. In his last start on July 31 he wore
down Miners Reserve to win the Jim Dandy by 1 -lengths. His trainer Tony
Dutrow is currently winning with 27 percent of his starters and is always
a contender. But the Travers is not only a step up in class for A Little
Warm, hell also be asked to carry 11 more pounds than he did in his Jim
Dandy win and six more than hes ever carried to victory. While weight is
normally a non-factor in handicapping, when it comes to long distances against
graded stakes horses it can make the difference between winning and losing
by a neck or a nose. A Little Warm figures to sit just off the pace and
move to challenge somewhere on the turn for home, but First Dude has proven
to be very tough to get by with or without pace pressure, and he should
make A Little Warm work a lot harder than he did in the Jim Dandy.

Our longshot play for the superfecta will be recent maiden breaker Admiral
, although from a fitness and class perspective he appears
overmatched in here at this stage of his career. In his only lifetime start
at Saratoga on July 31 he won a mile and an eighth maiden race on the dirt
by a length over some decent horses. He does have some stamina in his pedigree,
being by Afleet Alex out of a Kingmambo mare, and his running style might
allow him to sit just off the pace and rally for a piece despite the class
raise. Both trainer Leon Blusiewicz andjockey Kent Desormeaux actually
think Admiral Alex has a chance to win the Travers, which is odd considering
the extreme class raise, but Desormeaux did win the Travers Stakes in 2009
aboard Summer Bird, so well take their word for it and throw him into our
Travers superfectas.

Good Luck!

2010 Travers Stakes Entries, Post Positions, Odds and Jockeys

1.Miners Reserve (12-1) Cohen

2.Trappe Shot (4-1) Garcia

3.Admiral Alex (12-1) Desormeaux

4.First Dude (8-1) Dominguez

5.A Little Warm (7/2) J R Velazquez

6.Ice Box (10-1) Leparoux

7.Afleet Express (6-1) Castellano

8. Fly Down (8-1) Lezcano

9. Friend Or Foe (15-1) Maragh

10. Afleet Again (30-1) C Velasquez

11. Super Saver (6-1) Borel