Can Essential Quality Keep It Rolling In The Travers?

The 2021 Travers Stakes will be Race 12 on August 28th at Saratoga. Post time is set for 5:12 PM CT. This Grade I race is one and 1/4 miles and has a purse of $1,250,000. The race is for three-year olds. There are seven horses in the field this year. Last year’s winner was Tiz the Law. Let’s take a look at the rankings for everyone in this year’s field.

Essential Quality is the deserving 4/5 morning line favorite. He’s coming off back-to-back wins in the Belmont Stakes and the Jim Dandy and has only one loss in his eight career starts. That one loss was in a packed Derby field where he was forced to take a wide trip and got caught among all the horses. He only beat Keepmeinmind by a neck in the Jim Dandy, but he again was forced to take a very wide trip while Keepmeinmind got a great rip on the inside and Essential Quality was still able to get up ahead of Keepmeinmind and Masqueparade to win.

Midnight Bourbon was in the mix with Hot Rod Charlie and Mandaloun in the Haskell Stakes before Hot Rod Charlie cut in front of Midnight Bourbon forcing him to take an awkward step and lose his rider. He’s finished in the top 3 in eight of his ten career races. The two he didn’t was a 5th place in the Kentucky Derby and last time out which had plenty of controversy around it. He also hasn’t won since the Lecomte Stakes on January 16th so a 2nd or 3rd place fitness seems likely.

Keepmeinmind and Masqueparade were my exacta choices to finish behind Essential Quality for the Jim Dandy. Keepmeindmind finished 2nd and Masqueparade 3rd. I again like both of these horses to finish between 2nd and 4th along with Midnight Bourbon.

King Fury is a horse a lot of experts like here at 15-1. You can almost throw out his last race because he was forced to run a turf race as his prep for the Travers and did not run well. It does worry me a bit that he didn’t have proper prep race for this one, but at 15-1 he has value. He won the Lexington three starts back and finished second in the Ohio Derby two starts back after being scratched from the Kentucky Derby.

Dynamic One won in his last time out in the Curlin Stakes against much easier competition. That was his first outing since an 18th place finish in the Kentucky Derby where he never looked comfortable. He finished 2nd to longshot Bourbonic in the Wood Memorial prior to the Derby and looked like a real Derby threat, but hasn’t put it together yet. The Travers could be his chance.

Miles D wraps up the field. He finished second to Dynamic One in his last in only his third career start. He just hasn’t raced enough or against this kind of competition for me to use here.

Below we take a look at each horse’s last three speed figures.

I’ve ran the Travers 1,000 times in simulations. Below are the results of those races.

Quick Wrap Up and Betting Strategies

Most Likely to Win: 2 Essential Quality

My Bet: 2 to Win, 2-1,3,6-1,3,6-1,3,6 superfecta

Superfecta:  -1,3,6-1,3,6-1,3,6 superfecta

Contrarian Finish: 2-7-1-3

Essential Quality is again the clear favorite and I’m not going to bet against him. The exotics could get interesting with King Fury and Dynamic One in this field, but I’m going to stick with Midnight Bourbon, Masqueparade and Keepmeinmind.

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