PODCAST: This Week The Crew Analyze The Travers

Horse Racing Radar
Rich Bieglmeier
Rich Bieglmeier is a Staff writer for Horse Racing Radar
Saturday, August 28, 2021
It's a big day at Saratoga  Racetrack with 7 stakes on the card and more than $4.5 million in prizemoney up for grabs. 

Money is out, stars are out:

GAMINE, JACKIE'S WARRIOR, LIFE IS GOOD, LETRUSKA, ESSENTIAL QUALITY and more will showcase their talents. Terry, Shawn, Tom and Rich showcase their talents too, analyzing the pace, horses and picks for the three marquee races of the day.

Personal Ensign Stakes
Sword Dancer Stakes
Travers Stakes




Terry "Hollywood" Hays' Handicapping

Race 10 - Personal Ensign Stakes – Grade I

Race Scenario: As Time Goes By and Letruska will go for the lead. Swiss Skydiver will be in mid pack and will close in the stretch. Royal Flag will close from deep and win.

#5 – Royal Flag has never finished out of the money in her career, winning 50% of the races. She won her first race after a 3-month layoff at Saratoga at today's distance. She has a great Trainer/Jockey combination of Chad Brown/ Joel Rosario.

#6 - Letruska has won 15 out of 20 races in her career including her last three. She has two bullet workouts in a row in preparation for this race. Jockey Irad Ortiz, JR. has been in the irons in her last four wins.

#2 - As Time Goes By stumbled in her first race back since a 2-1/2 months break. She has finished 87% in the money this year winning 50% of the races during her career.

#4 - Swiss Skydiver has the best dirt speed among today's starters and has a sharp workout on Aug-21 at 5f ft 1:00 B 2/40

Race 11 - Sword Dancer Stakes – Grade I

Race Scenario: Tribhuvan, Channel Maker and Moretti will go for the lead. Gufo and Japan will close from deep, but Gofo will just pass Tribuvan to win the race, with Japan running third.

#2– Gufo won his last race at 1-1/2 miles on the turf. He has never finished out of the money and has won six of eleven races.

#1– Tribhuvan has won three out of his last four races. He will try to lead all the way and has done so at 1-3/8 miles. The trainer is Chad Brown whose mounts have won 23% of the races they have been entered in this year and jockey Flavien Prat has won 38% of the races he has competed in at Saratoga.

#6– Japan has finished 4 out of 5 races in the money at today's distance and has one win. Aidan O'Brien is the Trainer and Ryan Moore is the Jockey; this combo has been doing well in the USA after coming in from Europe in the recent past.

#7 – Cross Border won his last race at 1-3/8 miles on the turf and now stretches out which I think he can handle. He has finished 100 % of the time in the money this year, winning 86% of the races.

Race 12 - Travers Stakes – Grade I

Race Scenario: Midnight Bourbon and Masqueparade will go to the lead.  Essential Quality will be in mid pack and close coming into the stretch.  Keepmeinmind and King Fury will close from deep but Essential Quality will win the race.

#2 –Essential Quality has won seven out of eight career races, winning $3,545,144. The only race he lost is the Kentucky Derby. He had plenty of excuses for that loss as he was bumped at the start and came wide into the stretch. I can see no reason he will not repeat his last performance.

#3– Keepmeinmindcomes ran second to Essential Quality in his last race only losing by ½ length. He will be closing from deep to catch any leaders.

#6 – Masqueparade has won two races out of the last three races in his short career. He has a fast workout on August 21 at Saratoga my :48 B 16/41.

#4 – Dynamic One has the highest last race speed rating of the entries. He won his last race at Del Mar and has a Hot Trainer/Jockey combo Todd Pletcher / Irad Ortiz, Jr. in last 14 days (7 3-2-0)


Pick 4 Play: $.50 Pick 4-Cost: $64.00                      Pick 3 Play: $.50 Pick 4-Cost: $32.00

Race 10:   2, 4, 5, 6                                                     Race 10:   2, 4, 5, 6

Race 11:   1, 2, 6, 7                                                     Race 11:   1, 2, 6, 7

Race 12:   2                                                                  Race 12:   2, 3, 4, 6

Race 13:   1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 12, 14


Swiss Army Shawn's Selections

Race 10 - Personal Ensign Stakes – Grade I

PACE SUMMARY:  There are some horses in here who want the lead but there is only one Letruska and if she wants it, she will get it. #1 Dunbar Road, #5 Royal Flag, #8 Harvey's Lil Goil are the horses in here that are hoping for a real hot pace to close into.

#6 Letruska- Is a nose away from coming in here on a 6-race win streak.  She has won 15 of 20 career races.  I think the only way she doesn't win is if she gets caught up in a real hot pace and tires. She has even won races like that before so even being pressured up front might not stop her from winning. Workouts have been great since last race, and she comes in here fresh off a 2 month break.

#5 Royal Flag- Should get that hot pace to close into and get into the exotics. She has never finished outside the trifecta in her career. She was in a race with Letruska last year and finished 2nd just a length behind.

#8 Harvey's Lil Goil- Another should benefit from a hot pace. First race in dirt in over a year but has performed good on both the turf and dirt. First time Luis Saez gets aboard and that can't hurt as Saez has been winning a ton this year and will win the jockey standing this meet by a big margin.

$10 ex 6/5.8
$2 Tri 6/5,8/5,8
$4 PK 3 6/1,2,7/2

Race 11 - Sword Dancer Stakes – Grade I

PACE SUMMARY:  Looks to me like the #1 Tribhuvan gets the lead from the rail and will be tough to catch. The #5 Moretti looks to be the only other horse that would want to go out front after leaving the gate. #2 Gufo will be flying late coming from really deep.

#1 Tribhuvan – Has won 3 of his last 4 races and last race got an upgrade in jockey going to Flavian Prat.  Only has one horse I think could go with this horse out of the gate and even if it does this horse could sit off and still win. He does not need the lead.  Has had 3 straight races with triple digit Beyer figures.

#7 Cross Border- Is a horse for the course as he has won 6 of 7 with a second at Saratoga lifetime.  One concern would be he has never won at this distance in 5 attempts.

#2 Gufo- Will be closing fast from way back. He is always around at the end has he has finished in the trifecta in all 11 career races and more than half 6 to be exact has been victories.

$19 win 1
$5 Ex 1, 2/7
$5 Ex 1,7/2

Race 12 - Travers Stakes – Grade I

PACE SUMMARY:  The #1 Midnight Bourbon and the #6 Masqueparade will try to go right to the front. #2 Essential Quality will stalk the front pair and wait to get his cue. The # 4 Keepmeinmind will find a spot to hang out in the back and fly home late.

#2 Essential Quality- Has only lost 1 career race and that was the Kentucky Derby where he had a brutal trip. A small field of 7 horses that are not to the class of him I see nothing stopping him from career win #8.

#6 Masqueparade- Since his first two starts of his career he hasn't finished outside of the trifecta in his last 5 races. Gets his regular rider Miguel Mena who makes the trip just for this race.

#1 Midnight Bourbon- I like the rail and jockey change with Richardo Santana Jr, I think from the rail this horse will go right out to the front. if not challenged by somebody look out.


$10 EX 2/1,6
$5 ex 1/2


22 to 1 Tom's Take and Tips

Race 10 - Personal Ensign Stakes – Grade I

Miss Marissa and Letruska go out for the lead. Graceful Princess, Swiss Skydiver (maybe challenge the leaders early) and As Time Goes By jockey for position behind the leaders with the rest of the field trying to keep up and sitting waiting to go. Around the first turn and into the backstretch, Letruska is setting a reasonable pace but comes under pressure from Miss Marissa and Swiss Skydiver with Royal Flag, Bonny South and Dunbar Road arriving at the turn. At the top of the stretch, the jockey is doing everything to keep Letruska going she is passed in mid-stretch.

9 – Graceful Princess

•            Winner last out in grade 3 at Monmouth

•            Toss Delaware race, doesn't like a sloppy track – if track comes up off, no bet

•            Overall, 2 good races this year and one toss

•            First time up for John Velazquez for Todd Pletcher

•            Beautifully breed horse who dam, Havre de Grace was champion and horse of the year in 2011. Note, she took a while to fully develop into a top racehorse

•            Late developing horse just like mom?

3 – Bonny South

•            Worst race of career last out at Delaware, when ask to go, she didn't

•            Blinkers on last time and stay on today

•            Grade 3 winner at Keeneland

•            She been against many of these horses before and beaten some

•            Will need the "trip" to have a chance at the end

•            One good work since last race, :59.2 on Saratoga main track

•            Negative – not sure 1 1/8 is best distance

4 – Swiss Skydiver

•            Ran 4th to the boys in the Whitney. Needed race somewhere because of the stable being under quarantine EVH

•            Last race was kind of a mess for her, she was all over the track

•            May challenge for the lead from the beginning and give Letruska all she can handle

•            Second time up for Jose Oritz

•            She needed the last race, and she was tossed in against the best runners

Race 11 - Sword Dancer Stakes – Grade I

The leader will be Tribhuvan and will play, try, and catch me with the rest of the field. Channel Maker will try and go with him but will fail. The balance of the field will be waiting and waiting before try and catching Tribhuvan. Will he be caught?

2 – Gufo

•            Won last time out in list type race at today's distance – 1 for 1.

•            Will have a frontrunner to run at

•            Needs a good solid trip with issues (ha, ha)

•            I think the more ground the better for this horse

•            Joel Rosario will get him in position for a chance

1 – Tribhuvan

•            Won last as favorite in wire to wire from post 10 – grade 1

•            Draws inside and plenty of speed to get going

•            Won over all kinds of track condition from soft to firm

•            Will not have enough left to hold off my top choice

6 – Japan

•            Winner in Ireland in group 3 vs questionable field (only 2 group winners in the field at group 3 level)

•            Race before, faced good field at Royal Ascot and the top 3 finisher all won next out

•            Other win this year was also a group 3 race at Chester but here he beat a good horse in Trueshan

•            Has run against many of the best European horses in the past but not won at the group 1 level in awhile

•            Good enough to place but win?

Race 12 - Travers Stakes – Grade I

Essential Quality leads with challenges from Masqueparade. Keepmeinmind is close to the pace joined by King Fury and Midnight Bourbon. Dynamic One will be keeping pace and I have no idea what Miles D will be doing. Moving along, Essential Quality still have the lead as they enter the second turn.

2 – Essential Quality

•            One last race at Saratoga very gamely. Nice return after Belmont win

•            Wide going to the 1st turn but maintained position

•            Did what he had to do to win last out

•            Only one bad race in a big field at 1 1/4 mile.

•            Good work of :59.2 then came back in the muddy to run 1:01.2 for maintenance work

•            The big favorite but this is the graveyard of favorites

7 – King Fury

•            Like Swiss Skydiver, he needed to run somewhere, and a tough grass race was a time to stretch the legs but no grass experience and tossed in against a very good group of turf 3 year olds especially the ones from Europe.

•            Won the Lexington on the sloppy with a strong move

•            Tried and failed in the Ohio Derby with similar move – second

•            Toss last and focus on the 2 earlier races

6 – Masqueparade

•            Ok effort last out vs top choice in Jim Dandy.

•            Fought and got the lead but battled on to run third

•            Took a while to break maiden (won by DQ) but after that was running well

•            Good enough here to beat the rest of the field


Rich's Ranks

Race 10 - Personal Ensign Stakes – Grade I

#6 – Letruska 6/5

#5 - Royal Flag 10-1

#1 – Dunbar Road 20-1

#4 – Swiss Skydiver 7/2

Race 11 - Sword Dancer Stakes – Grade I

#7 – Cross Border 4-1

#6 – Japan 9/2

#2 – Gufo 3-1

#1 – Tribhuvan 2-1

Race 12 - Travers Stakes – Grade I

#2 – Essential Quality 4/5

#4 – Dynamic One 6-1

#1 – Midnight Bourbon 9/2

#3 – Keepmeinmind 6-1


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