The Midsummer Derby, better known as the Travers Stakes, boasts a purse of $1 million. The 1 ¼ miles race has what appears to be a depleted field after the defections of Bodemeister, Hansen, Union Rags and Paynter. Nonetheless, 11 stalwarts of the three-year-old division are ready to stake their claim to the throne.
Speightscity (Speightstown x My American Girl by Quiet American) 30-1: The connections will send hard from the inside and hope to hold on for a piece. That isn’t likely given his questionable pedigree for the distance and the fact that he hasn’t raced since February 4. Irad Ortiz is good, but it would be one of the biggest coups in racing history if he were able to win this race. Gary Contessa is the trainer.
Five Sixteen (Invasor x Third Street by Salt Lake) 15-1: His only win came against a horse that took 10 tries to break its maiden. Since then, he finished far back in an allowance and the Belmont Stakes before coming out of nowhere to be second in the Curlin Stakes over a sloppy track. It’s tough to see him having a shot against horses of this caliber. Anna Napravnik rides for Dominick Schettino.
Golden Ticket (Speightstown x Business Plan by Deputy Minister) 20-1: Not really sure what Ken McPeek is thinking here. His runner has stamina on the back end, but asking a Speightstown to stay this distance is like asking Kim Kardashian to stay married for more than a month. Yea, like that’s going to happen. David Cohen is listed to ride.
Stealcase (Lawyer Ron x Steal the Show by Cat Thief) 15-1: Hit the gate and broke quite awkwardly in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational. Despite that, he still rallied to gather up a third place finish. Before that he was a rank second to Neck n’ Neck in the Grade 3 Matt Winn Stakes. He figures to sit a good trip under Shaun Bridgmahon for trainer Mark Casse. In the end, this guy is much more live than his odds indicate.
Street Life (Street Sense x Stone Hope by Grindstone) 5-1: Finished strongly to win the Curlin Stakes when last seen, but didn’t beat much at all. His previous forays against this sort of company have resulted mediocre efforts. The dark bay figures to be an underlay at his morning line price based on his credentials.
Alpha (Bernardini x Munnaya by Nijinsky II) 5-2: This colt has plenty of good qualities; that is why he is the favorite. First, he has tactical speed. Ramon Dominguez will not have any problems placing him on or off the pace. Second, he is bred to get any route distance you could throw at him. 1 ¼ miles wont pose a single problem for the bay colt. A last out win in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes tells us he appreciates the surface. This Kiaran McLaughlin pupil is the one they will have to beat to win the Travers.
Neck ‘n Neck (Flower Alley x Bootery by Storm Boot) 9-2: Suffered behind a slow pace in the Jim Dandy where he was unable to reel in Alpha while finishing second. An extra furlong as well as what projects to be a livelier pace will work to his benefit. The talent is there and was on obvious display when he romped home by 7 ¼ lengths in the Matt Winn. Before the Jim Dandy, which was on a sloppy track, he ran two huge races over fast racetracks. A fast strip in the Travers makes him a sharper contender. There is a lot to like with Leandro Goncalves up for trainer Ian Wilkes.
Liaison (Indian Charlie x Galloping Gal by Victory Gallop) 8-1: It would be a huge salute to the late Indian Charlie if this guy were able to annex a Grade 1 race at the 10 furlongs distance. He has been on the cusp in recent tries, but just can’t seem to put it all together. If things get crazy on the front end, look for him to come charging hard under Rafael Bejarano. Bob Baffert is the trainer of this colt that won the Grade 1 Cashcall Futurity as a juvenile.
Nonios (Pleasantly Perfect x Stylish Manner by Touch Gold) 4-1: Jerry Hollendorfer trained dark bay colt keeps moving forward. Has he reached his ceiling yet? That is the million dollar question. When last seen he finished second behind Paynter in the Haskell. If that colt were in this race he would likely be a 4-5 favorite. The extra distance shouldn’t hurt him at all and he has proved he likes to run on dirt. John Velazquez picks up the mount.
Fast Falcon (Awesome Again x My Chickadee by Pleasant Tap) 20-1: Late entry for Nick Zito ran second in the Easy Goer and Grade 2 Dwyer Stakes behind Teeth of the Dog. After that he failed to fire in the Jim Dandy Stakes, a race where he was seventh. The hot riding Junior Alvarado picks up the mount.
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