In the world of horse racing, no summer three-year-old race is more important than the Grade 1 Travers Stakes. The race, which covers a mile and a quarter on the Saratoga dirt, will run on Saturday, August 28 at 6:12pm Eastern Time. At Vegas Betting, we have expert 2021 Travers Stakes betting advice and free picks!
The race offers a $1.25 million purse. It drew seven of the best three-year-olds in the country. Though 2021 Belmont winner Essential Quality headlines the field, he faces some excellent foes. They include Preakness (G1) second-place finisher Midnight Bourbon, Jim Dandy (G2) second-place finisher Keepmeinmind, and Curlin Stakes winner Dynamic One.
The Travers will be an excellent betting race, especially since favorites so often lose at Saratoga. Read on to meet the field, find out the best bets and find out where to get the best Vegas odds on the Travers!
Travers Post Positions
These are the official entrants for the 2021 Travers Stakes, along with their post positions, trainers, jockeys, and morning lines:
Though these are the morning line odds for the Travers, these are not necessarily the best Vegas odds for the race. Your best chance to lock in real Vegas odds on the Travers Stakes is to sign up for one of these online sportsbooks and place your bets when they are offering an overlay on your Travers horse.
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Even though favorites often run well in the Travers, they are also frequently defeated in the race. Consider the favorite, and make sure to use a good favorite in intra-race exotic wagers, but never be afraid to take a swing with a horse other than the favorite in the win pool!
Likely Travers favorite #2 Essential Quality has yet to do anything wrong on the racetrack. He already has a victory at Saratoga, last out in the Jim Dandy (G2), where he settled toward the rear, rallied, and dug in gamely to hold off Keepmeinmind, who he will face again.
It proved that Essential Quality not only remains in good form, but is as game as ever when challenged. It proved he could handle the Saratoga course. He had already shown during the Triple Crown season that ten furlongs is no problem, and his win in the Southwest makes the rain in the forecast no real worry. However, at a short price, it is worth asking who else looks strong.
That most likely upsetter is #1 Midnight Bourbon. Drawn on the rail, he will probably send; he last drew the fence in the Lecomte (G3), he sent right to the lead and took them all the way around. Without a certain challenge upfront, he could get a very nice trip, and his pedigree suggests that he will handle mud well if it rains.
If anyone else goes early, it will be #6 Masqueparade. He hasn’t emerged as a frontrunner, but he likes to stalk close to the pace and make an early move. He may get a good trip, but he still has to improve to equal his best foes here and must prove that he can run as well without Lasix as he can with it.
Two mid-priced off-pace horses will contest the race as well, #3 Keepmeinmind and #4 Dynamic One. They have both run good races at Saratoga this meet, with Dynamic One winning the restricted Curlin Stakes and Keepmeinmind running second behind Dynamic One in the Jim Dandy.
Both are coming into the race well, and both are bred well for the mud. Especially if the rain comes, though, Dynamic One has a slight advantage because he has already won over an off-track at the Spa, while Keepmeinmind has yet to handle a wet track under racing conditions.
There are two longshots in the Travers field: #5 Miles D and #7 King Fury. Both are by Curlin, who is an excellent long-distance sire.
Miles D is the less experienced of the two. The Chad Brown trainee makes his graded stakes debut after finishing second to Dynamic One in the Curlin Stakes. He handled wet Saratoga dirt well enough that day and has been able to show tactical speed. However, he cedes experience to the rest of the field, which may make the difference when the going gets tough.
King Fury was disappointed on turf last out, but now returns to the dirt where he is well proven. His only off-track try was a sparkling victory in the Lexington (G3) at Keeneland in the spring, and he also ran a very good second in the Ohio Derby at Thistledown, a track that usually isn’t as friendly to off-pace types like him. He could fill out the exotics at a price.
2021 Travers Expert Picks
Here are your best bets for the 2021 Travers Stakes!
$20 Win: #1 Midnight Bourbon
$5 Exacta Key: #2 Essential Quality with #1 Midnight Bourbon and #4 Dynamic One
$1 Trifecta Key: #2 Essential Quality with #1 Midnight Bourbon, #4 Dynamic One, and #7 King Fury