Travers Stakes (Saratoga) Predictions, Odds & Picks

Travers Stakes 2020

If you're playing only to win, go with my top value pick, Max Player (6/1)

Post Position and Odds – Travers Stakes

Check out our predictions and odds for the 2020 Travers Stakes at Saratoga!

PPHorseOddsJockeyTrainer
1FIRST LINE30/1
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D CohenO Noda
2COUNTRY GRAMMER6/1
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I Ortiz JrC Brown
3UNCLE CHUCK5/2
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L SaezB Baffert
4MAX PLAYER6/1
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J RosarioL Rice
5SHIVAREE30/1
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J AlvaradoR Nicks
6TIZ THE LAW1/1
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M FrancoB Tagg
7CARACARO10/1
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J CastellanoG Delgado
8SOUTH BEND15/1
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J OrtizW Mott

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Hoping to make it four graded stakes victories in a row to start the year, Tiz the Law figures to rule a strong favorite when he takes on seven others in Saturday’s Grade 1 Travers Stakes at Saratoga.

The pride of Sackatoga Stable comes into the million-dollar Mid-Summer Derby off his most impressive victory to date, when he rolled to victory in the Belmont Stakes (G1) seven weeks ago. With his only loss coming last year at 2, Tiz the Law looks to take another step forward in his march to an Eclipse Award by adding the prestigious Travers to his growing list of accomplishments.

Chief among his competition in the 10 furlongs Travers will be the undefeated winner of the Los Alamitos Derby (G3), Uncle Chuck. The Bob Baffert charge has only made two career starts but has won them by a combined 11 lengths.

After the top two, look for the recent stakes winner at Saratoga, Country Grammer to vie for the third choice with the third-place finisher from the Belmont Stakes, Max Player. The former is conditioned by Saratoga’s leading trainer, Chad Brown, while the latter is trained by Linda Rice.

Best Bets for the Travers Stakes

Here are my plays ($40 in total)

$20 Exacta Box – Tiz the Law and Max Player = $40

Pick:

Max Player 6/1

How to Watch the Travers Stakes

Travers Stakes Information
WhatTravers Stakes (G1)
WhereSaratoga
WhenSaturday, August 8 — 6:15 pm Eastern time
How to WatchFox Sports 1
Purse$1,00,000

Race Analysis

Tiz the Law

The undisputed leader of the division and current favorite for the Kentucky Derby comes into this big test in perfect order. The Barclay Tagg trained son of Constitution is 3-for-3 so far this year. Each was a graded stake, and in all three he left little doubt as to who was best in the race. Last year, he made his career debut at Saratoga and was an impressive maiden winner. Perhaps the only question for Tiz the Law on Saturday is the extra furlong of the Travers, but in both the Florida Derby and the Belmont Stakes he looked more than strong at the finish of those 1 ⅛-mile affairs. With a tactical running style that keeps him in contention throughout, he seems less likely than some to find trouble. All in all, he is a very deserving favorite, and strictly the one to beat.

Uncle Chuck

How good is this Bob Baffert trained son of Uncle Mo? He had little trouble dispatching small fields in his first two career starts in California and was flattered when Thousand Words, the horse he beat last time, came back to upset Honor A.P. in last Saturday’s Shared Belief Stakes. It would seem that the inexperienced colt has a ton of upside. Having said that, the Travers is a lot to ask of a horse who has made only two career starts. He’ll need to successfully take his game cross country and beat the division leader at 1 ¼-miles. It’s possible that he is that good, but as the heavy second choice in here, I will take a stand against. With all this one’s buzz, look for Tiz the Law to take the race to him before they even hit the stretch.

Country Grammer

Trainer Chad Brown is always dangerous at the Spa, and this colt proved that with a resolute victory up the rail in last month’s Peter Pan (G3). Graded stakes win over the track is something never to ignore, but you have to question the overall quality of that field compared to what he will see on Saturday. Before Peter Pan, he looked at least a cut below the top of the division. Perhaps the son of Tonalist is putting things together, but he benefited by a dream trip up the rail last time. He makes sense among the best of the rest, but as the likely third or fourth choice in here, I don’t believe the value is there.

Max Player

The winner of the Withers (G3) and third-place finisher in the Belmont Stakes, this son of Honor Code have not been pushed hard this year in hopes of being fresh and fit for races like the Travers and Kentucky Derby. Trained by Linda Rice, he was never going to beat Tiz the Law in this year’s first leg of the Triple Crown, but losing a bit of momentum on the turn perhaps cost a real chance to rally up for a second. The late April foal continues to work well, showing signs that the best may still be to come. He’s also well proven around two-turns, having made his first three starts going a route of ground. A slow pace in here could be his undoing, but with a legitimate pace to run at, going 10 furlongs, I believe he is primed to run a big race. At the odds, I believe he offers solid value.

 

Caracaro

After a promising start to his career, this winter in Florida, the son of Uncle Mo was off for more than six months before returning to finish a good second behind Country Grammer at Saratoga. It was a solid effort off the layoff, and with only three career races, there is certainly room to get better. He also has good tactical speed in which to put himself in the race early. I do worry that the final 100 yards of the Peter Pan might be a sign that he was reaching his distance limitations, but improvement off that return race could put him in with a shot on Saturday.

South Bend

Following five straight starts in stakes races on the turf, this experienced son of Algorithms returned to the dirt with a very good effort last time when second in the Grade 3 Ohio Derby. Making a wide rally in the 13-horse field, he came running fast to get within less than a length from winning. Previously a stakes winner on the dirt, it was a performance that makes me think that the main track is his best surface. The Travers will certainly be a step up in class, but his last is good enough to think he could make some noise on Saturday at healthy odds.

Shivaree

After some brave efforts stretching out in Florida, the stakes-winning sprinter backed out badly in the Blue Grass last time. Now things only get tougher as he attempts to carry his speed an extra furlong against this Grade 1 field. The Florida Derby winner will be an early pace factor but is unlikely to stick around when the real running begins.

First Line

Was a game-winner last time at Saratoga while stretching out to 9 furlongs for the first time in his career. It was a nice move forward after not showing too much in his first three career starts. Having said that, moving from that maiden race to the Travers seems like way too much for a horse who has never before faced winners, let alone some of the best horses of the crop.

Bet on: Max Player (6/1)!

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Brian Zipse

Expert on Horse Racing

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: brian.zipse@wsn.com