SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – One of the biggest races of the Saratoga Season was given a first insight at the Travers Draw.
The Travers Draw happened Tuesday night with a media party at Druther's Brewing Company in Downtown Saratoga from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The actual draw took place at 6:30 p.m.
Travers will be a ten-horse field.
Haskell winner Bayern will make his first trip to the Spa Wednesday as the 2-1 morning line favorite. Tonalist and Wicked Strong, the second and third choices, respectively, though Wicked Strong beat the Belmont Stakes winner to the wire in the Jim Dandy earlier in the meet.
This will be the third straight head-to-head start for the pair, and it just so happens they’ll break from adjacent gates.
Bayern’s trainer Bob Baffert said Saratoga is a different beast, and that’s why it’s called the Graveyard of Champions. So what about the longshots?
Linda Rice has won a Saratoga training title, but she’s never had a Travers entry until this season. After a pair of first place finishes in Belmont, Rice’s horse Kid Cruz finished third to Wicked Strong and Tonalist in the Jim Dandy.
But Kid Cruz is not the only one looking to shake off a bad race. Dallas Stewart’s Commanding Curve was fourth in the Jim Dandy, and Stewart said the field is no joke, so winning would be quiet the accomplishment.
The Travers is normally the race with the biggest purse of the season, but this year it was surpassed by the Whitney. The $1.25 million race will take place on Saturday, August 23.
Saratoga Springs Mayor Joanne Yepsen released a statement about Travers on Tuesday:
"I am thrilled that the 145th running of the Travers Stakes has arrived and will be held on Saturday, August 23, 2014, at American's oldest continually operating thoroughbred venue - Saratoga Race Course. This race, the "Mid-Summer Derby" as it is so often called, is one of the biggest and most prestigious horse racing events in the United States each year and has a tradition and a history all of its own. Travers Day offers top-notch horse racing, draws tens of thousands of people to Saratoga Springs, and generates an incredible amount of economic activity at the Track, in our City, and in the surrounding communities. I hope to see you this Saturday where I look forward to welcoming so many fans and special guests as we, once again, proudly carry on the Travers tradition and be witnesses to horse racing history."