Travers Day Preview Part I

TRAVERS FIGURES AS ONE “JIM DANDY” MATCH UP

Below is the first of a THREE PART TRAVERS DAY SERIES leading up to Saturday’s Mid-Summer Derby. The $1.25 Million Travers, to be run at 1¼ miles is the feature on the Biggest Day of the Meet Program that also includes the Grade I King’s Bishop, Grade I Ballerina and Grade II Ballston Spa.

In addition to those great races the 13 Race Card will also include a series of solid allowance races and betting opportunities such as the Guaranteed Late Pick 4 as well as the rolling Daily Doubles and Pick 3’s and Exotics that have always produced big payoffs on Travers Day.

In this first part of the series I’ll take a look at the last 10 Travers Stakes. Below you’ll find that I’ve listed the results and payoffs as well as the final prep and how each horse did in the final prep. The results set a few very distinctive positive and negative trends that should help you weigh the value of what final races the Travers combatants will be exiting this year compared to the last 10 years. A look at the most recent 3 years shows a heavy influence from the Jim Dandy Stakes, the key local prep for the Travers. But as we move further back, while the Jim Dandy remains an influence it is not as dramatic as it was in 2013-2011.
Of course there are no iron clad rules for including or dismissing contenders based solely on the races they used as preps for the Travers but the patterns that have developed should definitely be part of your handicapping arsenal.

To repeat, the last 10 races below list the Travers runners in order of finish plus previous prep and in years 2013-2011 I have even included a brief summary of each race as a means of giving you an idea of how to look at the races since 2004. And after listing the results from the 10 races I have included a brief wrap up.

2013

Will Take Charge-$21.20…(Prior Race)…Jim Dandy—2nd
Moreno-$25.40 Place…Exa. $313.00…(Prior Race)…Jim Dandy—3rd
Orb-$4.30 Show…Tri. $1,950.00…(Prior Race)…Belmont Stakes—3rd
Palace Malice…Super. $5,098.00…(Prior Race)…Jim Dandy—1st
Romansch…(Prior Race)…Curlin Stakes (Saratoga)—1st
War Dance…(Prior Race)…Virginia Derby (Colonial Downs-Turf)—1st
Verrazano…(Prior Race)…Haskell Invitational (Monmouth)—1st
Golden Soul…(Prior Race)…Haskell Invitational (Monmouth)-7th
Transparent…(Prior Race)…Curlin Stakes (Saratoga)-7th

SUMMARY—Verrazano went off as the 8-5 favorite off the Haskell win and Palace Malice only the second favorite despite coming off the Belmont Stakes and Jim Dandy victories. Verrazano pressed the pace set by Moreno and was through after a mile with no excuse. Palace Malice stumbled at the break, altered position a few times and was 4 wide on the far turn before making a late rally in the lane. Will Take Charge, who was dreadful in the Triple Crown showed, signs in the Jim Dandy when he rallied for second from 7½ lengths back at the 3/8ths marker and was even in better tracking position this time as he was within 4 lengths of the lead at the half mile pole before catching Moreno in the last jump. That one duplicated his pace setting effort in the Jim Dandy as he turned back the early pressure and actually came back to get the place over Orb after being briefly headed by that one in mid-stretch and holding off the Kentucky Derby winner by ¾ of a length. Orb, making his first start since the Belmont Stakes tracked the pace in fourth, moved to get even with Moreno at the quarter pole, poked a head in front and then tired late. 

2012

Alpha-$4.10 (DH)…Ex. $135.50…(Prior Race)…Jim Dandy—1st
Golden Ticket-$26.80 (DH)…Ex. $230.00…(Prior Race)…Allowance (Churchill Downs)—2nd
Fast Falcon-$13.60 Show…Tri.(s) $2,696.00…$5,275.00…(Prior race)…Jim Dandy—7th
Atigun…Super(s)…$20,673.00…$38,545.00…(Prior Race)…Jim Dandy—6th
Nonios…(Prior Race)…Haskell Invitational (Monmouth)—2nd
Neck ‘N Neck…(Prior Race)…Jim Dandy—2nd
Stealcase…(Prior Race)…Haskell Invitational (Monmouth)—3rd
Speightcity…(Prior Race)…Withers Stakes (Aqueduct)—2nd
Liaison…(Prior Race)…Jim Dandy—3rd
Five Sixteen…(Prior Race)…Curlin Stakes (Saratoga)—2nd
Street Life…(Prior Race)…Curlin Stakes (Saratoga)—1st

SUMMARY—Alpha, who had run a decent second in the Wood Memorial but was up the track in the Kentucky Derby, returned in fine form to win the Jim Dandy in wire-to-wire fashion stalked just off the pace set by Stealcase and Speightcity and after getting briefly passed by Golden Ticket at the quarter pole dug in to dead heat with that longshot. Golden Ticket, who hadn’t raced since finishing second in an allowance race on Kentucky Derby Saturday followed Alpha all the way around the course, poked his head in front and was dead-heated. Longshot Fast Falcon, who might have been a bit too close to the pace in the Jim Dandy settled off the pace under Junior Alvarado (who replaced Rosie Napravnik) and made a strong late run. Neck ‘N Neck, who did well in the Jim Dandy, lost too much ground with 4 wide trips on both turns and for the second straight year the local Curlin Stakes graduates Street Life and Five Sixteen made little impact. It is also noteworthy that as was the case in 2013 with Verrazano and Golden Soul, Haskell graduates Nonios and Stealcase failed to hit the board.

2011

Stay Thirsty-$6.80…(Prior Race)…Jim Dandy—1st
Rattlesnake Bridge-$10.80 Place…Ex. $78.00…(Prior Race)…Long Branch Stakes (Monmouth)—1st
J W Blue-$11.40 Show…Tri. $1,312.00…(Prior Race)…Barbaro Stakes (Delaware)—2nd
Ruler On Ice…Super. $10,237.00…(Prior Race)…Haskell Invitational (Monmouth) —3rd 
Malibu Glow…(Prior Race)…Allowance (Saratoga)—1st
Moonshine Mullin…(Prior Race)…Jim Dandy—2nd
Bowman’s Causeway…(Prior Race)…Prince Of Wales Stakes (Fort Erie)-2nd
Shakleford…(Prior Race)…Haskell Invitational (Monmouth)—2nd
Raison D’Etat…(Prior Race)…Curlin Stakes (Saratoga)—2nd
Coil…(Prior Race)…Haskell Invitational (Monmouth)—1st

SUMMARY—Once again we see the Jim Dandy impact as Stay Thirsty exited his win in that prep and duplicated his actions by pressing Haskell Invitational runner-up Shackleford in the early going before taking the lead from that one outside the quarter pole and holding on by a comfortable margin over rallying longshot shippers Rattlesnake Bridge and J W Blue who were comfortable clear of fourth place finisher Ruler On Ice, one of the 1-2-3 Haskell Invitational finishers who each finished off the board, making the Haskell runners “boardless” from 7 runners combined in 2013, 2012 and 2011. It is also worth noting that 8th place finisher Shakleford was the third favorite and 10th place finisher Coil the second favorite in this edition of the Travers.

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2010

Afleet Express-$16.00…(Prior Race)…Jim Dandy—3rd
Fly Down-$6.90 Place…Ex. $114.50…(Prior Race)…Jim Dandy-5th
First Dude-$4.60 Show…Tri. $970.00…(Prior Race)…Haskell Invitational  (Monmouth)—3rd
Afleet Again…Super. $14,844.00…(Prior Race)…Haskell Invitational (Monmouth) —5th
A Little Warm…(Prior Race)…Jim Dandy—1st
Friend Or Foe…(Prior Race)…Jim Dandy—4th
Miner’s Reserve…(Prior Race)…Jim Dandy—2nd
Ice Box…(Prior Race)…Haskell Invitational (Monmouth)—6th
Trappe Shot…(Prior Race)…Haskell Invitational (Monmouth)– 2nd
Super Saver…(Prior race)…Haskell Invitational (Monmouth)—4th
Admiral Alex…(Prior Race)…Maiden Special Weight (Belmont)—1st

2009

Summer Bird-$7.80…(Prior Race)…Haskell Invitational (Monmouth)—2nd
Hold Me Back-$12.40 Place…Exacta $115.50…(Prior Race)…Virginia Derby (Colonial)—5th 
Quality Road-$2.50 Show…Trifecta $343.50…(Prior Race)…Amsterdam Stakes (Saratoga)—1st
Charitable Man…Superfecta $1,139.00…(Prior Race)…Jim Dandy-3rd
Warrior’s Reward…(Prior Race)…Jim Dandy—2nd 
Kensei…(Prior Race)…Jim Dandy—1st  
Our Edge…(Prior Race)…Barbaro Stakes (Delaware)– 1st


2008

Colonel John-$10.40…(Prior Race)…Swaps Stakes (Hollywood Park)—3rd 
Mambo In Seattle-$6.30 Place…Ex. $86.50…(Prior Race)…Henry Walton Stakes (Saratoga)—1st 
Pyro-$3.70 Show…Tri. $351.00…(Prior Race)…Jim Dandy  - 2nd
Harlem Rocker…Super. $1,785…(Prior Race)…Prince Of Wales Stakes (Fort Erie) —1st
Da’ Tara…(Prior Race)…Jim Dandy—7th  
Court Vision…(Prior Race)…Virginia Derby (Colonial Downs-Turf)—2nd
Tale Of Ekati…(Prior Race)…Jim Dandy—4th  
Macho Again…(Prior Race)…Jim Dandy-1st 
Tizbig…(Prior Race)…Allowance (Saratoga)—2nd
Amped…(Prior Race)…Henry Walton Stakes (Saratoga)—3rd
Cool Coal Man…(Prior Race)…Haskell Invitational (Monmouth)—3rd
Tres Borrachos…(Prior Race)…Swaps Stakes (Hollywood)—1s
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2007

Street Sense-$2.70…(Prior Race)…Jim Dandy—1st
Grasshopper-$4.60 Place…Ex. $13.00…(Prior Race)…Allowance (Saratoga)—1st
Helsinki-$7.80 Show…Tri. $216.00…(Prior Race)…Lemon Drop Kid Stakes (Saratoga)– 4th
Sightseeing…Super. $742…(Prior Race)…Jim Dandy—3rd
C P West…(Prior Race)…Jim Dandy—2nd
Loose Leaf…(Prior Race)…Lemon Drop Kid Stakes (Saratoga)—1st
For You Reppo…(Prior Race)…Allowance (Arlington Park)—3rd

2006

Bernardini-$2.70…(Prior Race)…Jim Dandy—1st
Bluegrass Cat-$2.50 Place…Ex. $5.00…(Prior Race)…Haskell Invitational (Monmouth)—1st
Dr. Pleasure-$4.70 Show…Tri. $35.20…(Prior Race)…Jim Dandy—4th 
Hesanoldsalt…No Super…(Prior Race)…Allowance (Saratoga)—1st
High Cotton…(Prior Race)…Ohio Derby (Thistledown)—2nd
Ministers Bid…(Prior Race)…Jim Dandy—2nd


2005
Flower Alley-$8.00…(Prior Race)…Jim Dandy—1st
Bellamy Road-$4.10 Place…Ex. $33.60…(Prior Race)…Kentucky Derby—7th
Roman Rule-$2.50 Show…Tri. $53.00…(Prior Race)…Haskell Invitational (Monmouth)—1st
Don’t Get Mad…No Super…(Prior Race)…Swaps Stakes (Hollywood Park)—5th
Andromeda’s Hero…(Prior Race)…Jim Dandy)—3rd 
Reverberate…(Prior Race)…Jim Dandy—2nd
Chekov…(Prior Race)…Haskell Invitational (Monmouth)—4th


2004
Birdstone-$11.60…(Prior Race)…Belmont Stakes—1st
The Cliff’s Edge-$3.90 Place…Ex. $46.40…(Prior Race)…Jim Dandy—2nd
Eddington- $4.30 Show…Tri. $277.50…(Prior Race)…Jim Dandy—4th
Purge…No Superfecta…(Prior Race)…Jim Dandy—1st
Sir Shackleton…(Prior Race)…West Virginia Derby (Mountaineer)—1st
Suave…(Prior Race)…Swaps Stakes (Hollywood Park)—2nd 
Lion Heart…(Prior Race)…Haskell Invitational (Monmouth)—1st


WRAP UP

There is no question that the fields in recent years have contributed greatly to the payoff values of the Travers. It strikes me that the scheduling of races other than those at Saratoga has much to do with this. In the mid-decade of the 2000’s for instance the Haskell was three weeks and not four away plus a number of other tracks went head-to-head with the Travers either on the same weekend or close enough to spread out the good 3-year olds.

That being said it is also noteworthy that in recent years, as will be the case again this year, there have been none the likes of Street Sense, Bernardini, Flower Alley and Summer Bird, the kind of monsters that tend to thin the prospective herds. And as you can see by the last 4 years…when the fields are full and racing contentious (over 10 starters on average) you can count on serious payoffs.

LAST 4 YEARS AVERAGE PAYOFFS

Win Mutuel-$18.75
Exacta-$174.20
Trifecta-$2,433.60
Superfecta-$17,879.40

WIN THROUGH TRIFECTA FINISHES BY LAST OUT PREPS

With 30 available spots from the 10 races broken down as 11 winners, 9 seconds and 10 thirds I’ve listed the preps with the number of runners they sent to the Travers and their 1-2-3 record.

Jim Dandy—(33 Starters) 7-3-4
Haskell Invitational—(18 Starters) 1-1-2
Belmont Stakes—(2 Starters) 1-0-1
Swaps Stakes—(4 Starters) 1-0-0
Kentucky Derby—(1 Starter) 0-1-0
Long Branch Stakes—(1 Starter) 0-1-0
Virginia Derby—(2 Starters) 0-1-0
Henry Walton Stakes—(2 Starters) 0-1-0
Amsterdam Stakes—(1 Starter) 0-0-1
Barbaro Stakes –(2 Starters) 0-0-1
Lemon Drop Kid Stakes (2 Starters) 0-0-1
Allowance Races (5 Starters) 1-1-0

NOTE—In recent years the Curlin Stakes, which has been run the day before the Jim Dandy and is a softer race that has sent 5 runners to the Travers without any of them having an impact.

As of press time it appears as though the Jim Dandy will once again be well represented with at least the first (Wicked Strong), second (Tonalist) and fourth place finishers (Kid Cruz) expected to be in the starting gate this Saturday.

I’ll return in a few days with further updates…check back. And remember that you can take advantage of not just the Travers, but full card profits Saturday! Let Jim Hurley's Network® take you to the winner's circle!

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