Travers Stakes: Contenders and Predictions

The 2023 Travers Stakes will be Race 12 on August 26th at Saratoga. Post time is set for 5:11 PM CT. This Grade I race is one and 1/4 miles and has a purse of $1,250,000. This year’s field has seven horses, including winners from all three triple crown races. Last year’s winner was Epicenter. Let’s take a look at the field.

Let’s take a look at the field.

Forte was the scratched favorite from the Kentucky Derby and returned to run 2nd in the Belmont Stakes back on June 10th. He then won the Jim Dandy on July 29th with a career best speed figure. He is absolutely the horse to beat here in my mind.

The Kentucky Derby winner Mage returns after a 3rd place finish in the Preakness and a 2nd place finish in the Haskell Stakes. Mage also has to deal with a recent jockey change after Luis Saez dislocated his collarbone on Wednesday. He will now be ridden by Flavien Prat.

Disarm finished 4th in the Kentucky Derby then came back with a win in the Grade 3 Matt Winn Stakes. Most recently, he ran a 106 Equibase speed figure in a 4th place finish in the Jim Dandy. He’s improved his figure over each of his last two races and that 106-speed figure rates him well in the table above.

Scotland is the relatively unknown horse in the field. He ran a 107 speed figure in his win in his last at Saratoga in the Curlin Stakes.

Arcangelo comes in off of a win the Belmont Stakes. The knock on Arcangelo is that his last race was the Belmont. Will he be negatively affected by a two-and-a-half-month layoff here?

National Treasure won the Preakness two starts back and then ran 6th in the Belmont. He definitely benefitted from a slow pace in the Preakness and didn’t like the extra distance in the Belmont. He’s the speed in this race, but I’m not sure he fits for the distance.

Tapit Trice rounds out the field. I have him ranked last in the field, and this is a horse who many liked to win the Derby and the Belmont. He’s notorious for his bad starts out of the gate. He always seems to break super slow and end up last early on. There’s too much late speed in this field for him if that happens again.

Here’s a look at each horse’s speed figures over their last three races.

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

Quick Wrap and Betting Strategies

Most Likely to Win: 1 Forte

My Bet: 1 to Win, 1-2 Exacta

Superfecta: 1-2/4-2/4-6/7

Forte is definitely my top choice. Arcangelo is my second choice due to Javier Castellano chooses to stay on him, but he is off that long layoff. Mage deals with the jockey change, Disarm can hit the board, but I don’t know about winning. National Treasure seems like the most obvious toss here. Tapit Trice is getting a lot better odds than he’s had in other races, but he hasn’t shown an ability to ever get out of that gate.

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