HRR

Travers Field Takes Shape

Horse Racing Radar
Frisco Bash
Frisco Bash is a Staff writer for Horse Racing Radar
Thursday, August 19, 2021

Ladies and gentlemen we are moving right along through Saratoga's Summer Meet. The Travers Stakes is now only nine days away.


The highlight feature of this race is the presence of our top three-year-old in the country, ESSENTIAL QUALITY, who will seek to score his third consecutive victory since his Kentucky Derby defeat. He is the top dog of the three-year-old division, and a win here will continue his case for Champion Three-year-old and perhaps even Horse of the Year Honors.


The $1.25 million Travers Stakes (G1) — 1 1/4 miles, Dirt, Three-year-olds only. 

Saturday, August 28th, 2021


  1. ESSENTIAL QUALITY

  2. MIDNIGHT BOURBON

  3. KING FURY

  4. WEYBURN

  5. BOURBONIC

  6. KEEPMEINMIND

  7. MASQUEPARADE

  8. DYNAMIC ONE

  9. MILES D


Probables by HRN

Godolphin's ESSENTIAL QUALITY should be an overwhelming favorite against this potential group, as he goes for an eighth win from nine races. The three-time G1 winner had been pointed for this race since his KY Derby result. This is the big show. His most recent work was a 5F bullet work, going 59.4 seconds at Saratoga last Saturday. 


WEYBURN is also nominated. Trainer Jimmy Jerkins told Horse Racing Nation that the Queen's Plate might've taken priority over the Travers. But in a follow up text message, Jerkins said although they're undecided, it would be foolish not to at least nominate his horse. This week's training, he says, would determine WEYBURN's next start. 


DYNAMIC ONE is a probable candidate, who recently scored a win in the Curlin Stakes for trainer Todd Pletcher. 


"I think he definitely showed that he is capable of stepping up, and we were looking at this as a potential Travers prep." Pletcher said after the race. 


BOURBONIC is another Pletcher-trainee probable, but is still looking for his first win since his Wood Memorial triumph. He finished third last time out in the West Virginia Derby (G3), where he earned a decent ESF rating of 99. That's just one point below his top ESF of 100.


How about MASQUEPARADE? This rising talent from the Albert Stall Jr. barn performed very well in his third-place finish in the Jim Dandy. He was facing much more seasoned opponents and could very well bounce back with a superior effort. In his first workout since the Jim Dandy, MASQUEPARADE worked a swift 4F in 47.44, the 4th fastest of 59 workouts at that distance.


Perhaps a lot of attention will be turned to MIDNIGHT BOURBON—if and when he loads to the gate on Travers day. Recall he tripped and flipped over in the stretch of the Haskell Invitational, yet miraculously came away unharmed. The Asmussen trainee recorded a 5F bullet work last Sunday, going 1:01.31 as the fastest of eight works at the distance.


KEEPMEINMIND should attract support from bettors, as he was the one to fight ESSENTIAL QUALITY all the way to the wire last time out.


KEEPMEINMIND is on the up and up. He's steadily improving his figures. Could the Travers be the race he breaks through for a win? He's certainly showing signs of it.


Last Saturday, he fired a bullet work, going 4F in :47 flat as the fastest of 80 works at the distance. He means business when he's out training. Note: the week before the Jim Dandy, he delivered another bullet work, going 4F in 46.01, the fastest of 113 works at that distance. This led him to producing a new top speed figure from the race he was training for.


KING FURY has questions to answer. On his best day, the McPeek trainee can very well run with these rivals. He delivered a disappointing 10th-place finish in the Saratoga (G1). But it was his turf debut and a return from a layoff. Perhaps we can scratch that effort and give him another chance. He has not posted a workout since that race. 


The lightly raced MILES D will represent the Chad Brown stable. He was a runner-up to DYNAMIC ONE last time out, while making his first start since breaking his maiden. He'll have to step up to be competitive here, but he's got the quality trainer to do it with.


Source: Equibase, Carolyn Greer, Horse Racing Nation


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