HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, August 26, 2021 – Saturday’s Travers Day program provides a welcome respite from those in the world who would blow it all up, and willfully ignorant Americans who are too selfish to consider the lives of family and friends.
The distraction comes in the form of an All-Grade 1 Pick Six beginning with race seven or, for those who prefer, a 50-Cent Pick Five with a mandatory payout which starts with race eight.
The orphan in this extraordinary lineup is the G2 Ballston Spa, scheduled as race four on a 13-race program that begins at 11:30 a.m.
And not to forget that computer-assisted win wagers will be cut off at three minutes to post time, a policy that will remain in place post-Saratoga, HRI learned this week in response to one reader’s query. Welcome news indeed.
This restriction on win wagers is not insignificant when it comes to protecting the playing field for all horseplayers regardless of bankroll, another good thing.
The $10, $20, and $50 player, in our experience, is the fan who will support the game, not with respect to volume perhaps, but with loyalty. They will be around long after deep-pocketed investors move on to the next big arbitrage thing.
While the seven stakes races in no way were overfilled, they are large enough before program scratches and competitive enough to ensure value will be there for the finding. This would be a good time sure to hone those line-making skills.
On Friday, we will post our A-B-C betting grids for the Pick Six that includes the Ketel One Ballerina, Forego, H Allen Jerkens Memorial, Lia Infiniti Personal Ensign, Resorts World Sword Dancer and the meet’s cornerstone, the Runhappy Travers.
A few handicapping storylines jumped off the page while perusing the overnight and will certainly require a closer look. For example:
Can Gamine’s dominance continue given the human distractions involved? Is one Pimlico prep sufficient to get Yaupon set for the hard-hitters lined up in the Forego? Who’s faster at seven furlongs, Jackie’s Warrior or Life Is Good?
Further, will Swiss Skydiver revert to her three-year-old form and, if so, can she handle divisional-leading Letruska? Is Aidan O’Brien’s Japan, despite a somewhat disappointing profile, capable of handling American Grade 1 rivals?
And, finally, can a late-developing “now” horse, Dynamic One, dethrone a divisional leader and defending champion, Essential Quality? No shortage of drama, or quality horseflesh for that matter.
For now, let’s look for one Chad Brown filly to upset another Chad runner in the aforementioned Ballston Spa at 1-1/16 miles on the inner turf: Taking Kalifornia Queen (2-1) over Viadera (8-5).
HORSES TO WATCH R US
It’s Travers eve, aka New York Showcase Day, and as fate would have it we have horses to watch coming out of our tack. Here they are, with track, race number and early line odds who impressed visually for various reasons:
Race 2: November Rein (2-1)
Race 3: Yarrow (3-1)
Race 4: Senbei (6-1)
Race 8: Therapist (4-1)
Race 10: Chocolate Cookie (6-1)
Race 2: Speeding Kid (7-2)
10th Charles Town Classic: Art Collector (5-2)
TRAVERS DAY 2021 ALL-GRADE 1 PICK 6, RACES 7-12
A: 1-Gamine (3-5), 7-Ce Ce (4-1)
C: 3-Casual (15-1), 2-Lake Avenue (12-1), 5-Sconsin (9-2), 6-Estilo Talentoso (8-1)
A: 7-Yaupon (5-2)
B: 6-Chance It (20-1), 1-Mischevious Alex (6-1)
C: 4-Mind Control (7-2), 2-Whitmore (4-1)
H ALLEN JERKENS STAKES
A: 6-Life Is Good (8-5), 2-Jackie’s Warrior (2-1)
B: 4-Following Sea (5-1)
C: 1-Drain the Clock (6-1)
PERSONAL ENSIGN STAKES
A: 6-Letruska (6-5), 4-Swiss Skydiver (7-2), 9-Graceful Princess (15-1), 2-As Time Goes By (6-1)
C: 8-Harvey’s Lil Goil (8-1)
SWORD DANCER STAKES
A: 6-Japan (7-2), 2-Gufo (3-1)
B: 1-Tribhuvan (2-1)
C: 3-Rockemperor (6-1)
A: 2-Essential Quality (4-5)
B: 3-Keepmeinmind (6-1), 4-Dynamic One (6-1), 1-Midnight Bourbon (9-2)
C: 6-Masqueparade (8-1)
B’s and C’s may be upgraded, but not more than one level is suggested
this is a live column and will be updated periodically