We won last week! Let’s do it some more. All eyes are on bucolic Saratoga, NY where the $1,250,000 Runhappy Travers Stakes is the highlight of a very attractive card. There are seven Grade 1’s so let’s see if we can’t mine the winners of at least some of them with my Travers Stakes and Saratoga Picks.
Runhappy Travers Stakes
1m 2f Dirt – 3-year-old
Essential Quality – 4/5. Only has one defeat to his name, which came in the Kentucky Derby. He, by far, has the best form in the book and the others will have to improve significantly to beat him. He can run wherever Luis Saez puts him in a small field.
Midnight Bourbon – 9/2. Clipped heels and fell in the Haskell Stakes so it’s just a relief to see him here and fit. He should go to the front here but looks vulnerable to the closers.
Keepmeinmymind – 6/1. Ran a close second behind Essential Quality in the Jim Dandy Stakes last time. However, he had the run of the race that day and never looked like getting past the winner. I can’t see him doing it today.
Dynamic One – 6/1. Irad Ortiz rides for Todd Pletcher. This horse won the Curlin last time in impressive fashion. He looks like the one in the field who has enough improvement in him to get close to the favorite.
Masqueparade – 8/1. Will be in the van here. Regularly runs OK without proving to be top class. The same applies today.
Miles D – 12/1. Ran well in the Curlin behind Dynamic One which was a step forward for him. He’d need to take another leap to win this and I’m not sure that’s going to happen.
King Fury –14/1. Has had a fragmented season and Kenny McPeek definitely likes him. I think there’ll be a day for him, but not this one.
Runhappy Travers Stakes Selections
Midnight Bourbon has done his thing this season but I think is looking exposed at this point. Dynamic One looks the one to challenge our favorite, but I think Essential Quality will run all over these and win by a couple of lengths.
Win: Essential Quality
Exacta: 2-4 Essential Quality/ Dynamic One
Sword Dancer Stakes
1m 4f – inner turf. 4-year-olds and upwards.
This is my thing. A longer trip on the grass, I can sort this out.
Tribhuvan –2/1. Will try to make all from the front here. He won last time but was given a real easy time on the lead. There are a couple in here who I think will pester him and as a result, he won’t get it all his own way. Vulnerable.
Gufo – 3/1. Arrives late and stays. Had a Grade 1 to his name but I prefer others.
Cross Border – 4/1. Won the Bowling Green last time after a smooth trip. The horse loves Saratoga and this might set up for him, sitting off the pace.
Japan – 9/2. Irish Raider who performs well at Group 2 and 3 levels in Europe. I’m having a hard time picking him here.
Rock Emperor – 6/1. Consistent performer who has the look of a bridesmaid. Maybe the 1m 4f trip will prove to be the key to his chances, but he’s not doing enough for me to make him a pick.
Channel Maker – 8/1. Has been globetrotting lately. It’s possible that he hooks up with Tribhuvan on the speed, and that might be his undoing today.
Tribhuvan and Channel Maker will hopefully make this a true stamina test and I can see them cutting each other’s throats. Cross Border is a Saratoga specialist and I think he can pounce of the turn and run away to win.
Cross Border 4/1
Personal Ensigns G1
1m 1f Dirt. Fillies and Mares. 4-year-olds and upwards.
This is a good race. Letruska (6/5) is in rude form but is a prohibitive price. Bonny South (10/1) ran too badly to be true last time and I think has to go better here. Dunbar Road (20/1) is a Saratoga G1 winner but is way out of form. Preakness winner Swiss Skydiver (7/2) has struggled to get her head in front since but has excuses in those races, and if she gets a positive ride here I think she absolutely has the class to win this.
Selection – Swiss Skydiver 7/2
Bonny South 10/1