The 142nd running of the Travers Stakes is set for Saturday, and what is on the line is nothing less than control of the intense competition for Horse of the Year honors in the 3-year-old division. Below are a variety of perspectives on Saturday's race, which includes many of the top contenders for Horse of the Year honors.
Though he will be most likely be favored in the most prestigious event of the Saratoga meeting – Saturday’s $1 million Travers Stakes – Stay Thirsty will once again be racing in the shadow of his more celebrated stablemate, Uncle Mo, who makes his highly-awaited return just 33 minutes earlier in the Grade 1 King’s Bishop.
But if Stay Thirsty continues on the upward trend he has shown in his last two races, by dusk Saturday he could occupy the top spot in the 3-year-old division once reserved for Uncle Mo, last year’s 2-year-old champion.
Stay Thirsty will look to add the Travers to his dominant victory in last month’s Jim Dandy.
IF ONE horse could ever win consecutive stakes, the 3-year-old championship would be all but decided. Perhaps, tomorrow's Travers Stakes (NBC10, 5:45 p.m.) at Saratoga is the time.
If the Preakness or Belmont Stakes winner could get the Travers, that horse would be the leader in the division.
While no 3-year-old has established himself as the division leader, there's been one constant the entire year - Shackleford.
"Shackleford is tough because he runs every time," said trainer Bob Baffert, who will saddle Haskell winner Coil in Saturday's Travers Stakes.
"He hasn't missed a beat," Romans says of his charge, who will likely set the pace in the Travers from the outside 10-post. "He has a high cruising speed. If they go with you, they're pulling out of their race, and if they let you just keep on cruising they might not be able to catch you turning for home. That's why speed is always dangerous. They're damned if they do and damned if they don't."
It takes a special horse to steal some thunder from the 142nd running of the $1 million Travers Stakes on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.
It takes Uncle Mo.
The 2-year-old champion will begin his much-anticipated comeback from a rare liver disorder that forced him to be scratched from the Kentucky Derby when he competes in the King’s Bishop Stakes as part of the Travers undercard.
Uncle Mo returns to the starting gate for the first time since he suddenly fell short in finishing third in the April 9 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct Racetrack in New York behind Toby’s Corner and Arthur’s Tale.