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Image for Brian Zipse Brian Zipse - Updated October 14, 2022

Travers Stakes Predictions: Epicenter Has Run First or Second in Seven Consecutive Stakes Races

Travers Stakes Odds and Post Position

Check out our predictions and odds for the 2022 Travers Stakes at Saratoga!

PP Horse TwinSpires Odds Jockey Trainer
F Geroux B Cox
S Leon E Reed
T Gaffalione K Von Hemel
J Alvarado W Mott
I Ortiz Jr C Brown
J Rosario S Asmussen
J Ortiz C Brown
8 ZANDON 5/1
F Prat C Brown

Travers Stakes Best Bets

Here are my plays ($60 in total)

$10 Trifecta Part Wheel – Epicenter over Zandon over Artorius, Cyberknife and Early Voting = $30

$10 Trifecta Key – Epicenter over Zandon and Artorius = $20

$5 Trifecta Key – Epicenter over Zandon and Cyberknife = $10

Top Pick: Epicenter (7/5)

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Travers Stakes Predictions Epicenter

Runner-up as the favorite in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, Epicenter headlines a field of eight set for Saturday’s 153rd edition of the $1.25 million Travers Stakes at Saratoga.

Trained by Steve Asmussen, the son of Not This Time comes into the Mid-summer Derby off a good-looking victory over the track in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy last month.

Overall, Epicenter has run first or second in seven consecutive stakes races, including impressive wins in the $1 million Louisiana Derby and the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes earlier this year.

Fresh off a determined win in the Grade 1 Haskell, Cyberknife figures to be one of the top challengers in Saturday’s Grade 1 affair.

A son of Gun Runner from the barn of Brad Cox, he also counts the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby and Grade 3, Matt Winn, among his five career victories.

Trainer Chad Brown has the next three favorites on the morning line with Artorius, Zandon, and Early Voting. The first impressively won the Curlin Stakes at Saratoga in only his third career start.

Early Voting and Zandon, meanwhile, each scored Grade 1 victories this spring with the former taking the Preakness and the latter winning the Blue Grass.

The upset winner of the Kentucky Derby, Rich Strike, will look to rebound after finishing well behind Mo Donegal in the Belmont Stakes last out.

Travers Stakes Predictions and Race Analysis


A strong winner of the Jim Dandy over the track four weeks ago, this consistent son of Not This Time looks to stake his claim as the champion 3-year-old male of 2022 with what would be his biggest victory to date.

Probably a little unlucky in each of the first two legs of the Triple Crown while running second in both, he showed that he is none the worse for wear from those losses with a strong rally to impressively sweep past the field in the Jim Dandy. The win over the track is also positive for this test.

With the versatility to win from anywhere early, look for him to sit a good trip under regular rider Joel Rosario. The Jim Dandy win seems to point out that he remains the horse to beat in this division. He is the top pick.


A two-time Grade 1 winner, this son of Gun Runner got the job done rallying up the inside last time in the 9-furlong Haskell at Monmouth Park. It was a nice win for a horse who now has two straight hard-earned wins since finishing well back in the Kentucky Derby.

While the win in Monmouth was his best to date, I’m still not certain it will stack up against the likes of Epicenter.

Working great for the Travers, he must be respected, as he takes another shot at the horses who beat him in the Derby. He is one of the biggest threats to the top pick, but as the morning line second choice, I am looking for a few others to step up on Saturday.


The first of three from the powerful Chad Brown barn, this son of Arrogate will look to emulate his sire with a win in the Travers after missing the Triple Crown series. Despite his lack of experience, he has a shot to do just that.

Bred to be a good one, he looked like a budding star on the day before the Jim Dandy with a comprehensive win in the listed Curlin Stakes. He certainly proved himself over the Saratoga main track, as well as two turns, with the stylish 4 3/4-length score.

Getting good at the right time, he now takes on the big boys in a true Grade 1 test. While the bump up in class is steep, he looks to have the talent to compete at this level. He is a threat.


The winner of the Grade 1 Blue Grass at Keeneland in style back in April, he had every chance to go by Epicenter down the stretch of the Kentucky Derby, but was unable to do so when finishing third. His return race in the Jim Dandy was solid, but again he was bested by Epicenter.

The return race over the track should do him a world of good on Saturday, but he will still need to prove that he can beat the horse that he is now 0-for-3 against. Still, pointed for this race, he is very likely to turn in another solid performance, as he has always done.

If you think Epicenter is the best 3-year-old male in the country, as I do, you have to like this one’s chances to be right there in the picture once again.

Early Voting

The Preakness winner really had no excuse last time when alone on the early lead in the Jim Dandy. It was his first race in ten weeks, so he could improve in his second try at Saratoga, but the way they ran by him, he will need to really turn it around on Saturday.

Of the three from Brown, this son of Gun Runner looks like the least likely to win the Travers, but on the other hand, he might be the controlling speed once again.

Perhaps if they let him go a little more freely on the front end, he can bring his best and run a much-improved race in this big one.

Rich Strike

It seems pretty clear that his win in the Kentucky Derby happened because of the suicidal early pace. That won’t happen in the Travers.

A winner of only 2-of-9 lifetime, with the other one coming in maiden claiming, it’s hard not to think of him as a big longshot once again.

His sire had his day in this race several years ago, but he had been on improving steadily after the Kentucky Derby. This colt has only had one race since the Derby and he did nothing in the Belmont. I just don’t see lightning striking again for this son of Keen Ice.

Ain’t Life Grand

Bred in Iowa, this son of Not This Time is coming into this race the right way. He has never been better and he has been rolling down the stretch in recent races.

Of course, the bad news is that he is likely to have to deal with a little culture shock coming from listed or restricted races at Prairie Meadows to the big time of Grade 1 racing at Saratoga.

The class of this field, not to mention the stretch out to 10 furlongs for the first time, is likely to prove too much for him on Saturday, but I would not be shocked if he does better than many are expecting.

Gilded Age

Trained by Bill Mott, this longshot comes off a second-place finish behind Artorius in the local Curlin Stakes. He closed well that afternoon to clearly get the runner-up spot, but was never a match for the winner.

Like Rich Strike, he does his best running from well behind, but will probably not be aided by a fast pace on Saturday.

I respect trainer Bill Mott quite a bit, and this one is bred for the distance, but his previous stakes attempts do not show me enough to believe that he can do better than a mid-pack finish against this field.

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How to Watch the Travers Stakes

What Travers Stakes (Grade 1)
Location Saratoga
Time Saturday, August 27 — 5:45 pm Eastern time
How to Watch Fox Sports
Purse $1,250,000

$1000 Risk-Free Bet

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Image for Brian Zipse


Brian Zipse

227 Articles

Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.

Email: [email protected]

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