Saratoga's Mid Summer Derby

Betting the Travers Stakes

An especially competitive field of 12 three-year-olds will face off in the $1.25 million Travers Stakes (G1) at Saratoga Race Course on Saturday. The 1 1/4-mile event is headliner of a spectacular Saratoga card which boasts six Grade 1 races. 


Here is the field:

Owendale Career Racing Stats

10 Starts
4 Wins
1 Place
2 Show
Total Career Earnings: $668,725

Top BRIS Speed rating (99) in Ohio Derby (G3) and Lexington Stakes (G3) wins

Owner: Rupp Racing
Breeder: Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC (KY)
Trainer: Brad Cox
Jockey: Florent Geroux

Sire: Into Mischief
Dam: Aspen Light
Color: Bay

This talented sophomore has won a pair of Grade 3 events in his last trio of efforts, with a third-place showing in the Preakness Stakes (G1) the other result. Late-running Kentucky-bred gets an ideal post along the rail and is training swiftly in preparation of this historic event. Florent Geroux will guide the dangerous contender.


Code of Honor Career Racing Stats

7 Starts
3 Wins
2 Place
1 Show
Total Career Earnings: $1,215,820

Top BRIS Speed rating (96) in Kentucky Derby (G1) third-placing (elevated to second via disqualification)

Owner: William S. Farish
Breeder: William S. Farish (KY)
Trainer: Shug McGaughey
Jockey: John Velazquez

Sire: Noble Mission
Dam: Reunited
Color: Chestnut

Kentucky Derby (G1) runner-up returned in a big way with a fine tally in the Dwyer Stakes (G3) last out. Shug McGaughey trainee was a debut winner on this course last summer for connections that are really good at pointing to races. Chestnut colt will be tracking the action early with regular pilot John Velazquez on board.


Highest Honors Career Racing Stats

3 Starts
2 Wins
1 Place
0 Show
Total Career Earnings: $114,800

Top BRIS Speed rating (97) in Curlin Stakes victory

Owner: William S. Farish
Breeder: William S. Farish (KY)
Trainer: Chad Brown
Jockey: Luis Saez

Sire: Tapit
Dam: Tap Your Feet
Color: Gray/Roan

Lightly raced colt came home fast to annex his first stakes race last out in the local Curlin Stakes. Fine prospect is a head from being unbeaten from three lifetime starts and is bred to handle this demanding distance. Colt gets a rider change to Luis Saez for the initial time.


Laughing Fox Career Racing Stats

9 Starts
3 Wins
0 Place
0 Show
Total Career Earnings: $424,018

Top BRIS Speed rating (96) in Oaklawn Invitational Stakes win

Owner: Alex and Joann Lieblong
Breeder: Chester and Anne Prince (KY)
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.

Sire: Union Rags
Dam: Saskawea
Color: Chestnut

Longshot was a decent fourth in the local prep for this endeavor, the Jim Dandy Stakes (G2). The Steve Asmussen pupil has yet to be successful with this kind of opposition, but he does own a big turn of foot and will appreciate the added distance in this spot.


Everfast Career Racing Stats

13 Starts
1 Wins
2 Place
1 Show
Total Career Earnings: $549,805

Top BRIS Speed rating (98) in Belmont Stakes (G1) seventh-placing

Owner: Calumet Farm
Breeder: Extern Developments (KY)
Trainer: Dale Romans
Jockey: Martin Chuan

Sire: Take Charge Indy
Dam: Awesome Surprise
Color: Bay

Preakness Stakes (G1) runner-up has placed in just two of his last nine attempts, and the bay colt was last seen finishing a distant fourth in the Haskell Invitational Stakes (G1) . The Kentucky-bred lacks consistency but is capable of running big on occasion at huge odds.


Tacitus Career Racing Stats

7 Starts
3 Wins
2 Place
1 Show
Total Career Earnings: $1,353,000

Top BRIS Speed rating (103) in Wood Memorial (G2)

Owner: Juddmonte Farms Inc.
Breeder: Juddmonte Farms Inc. (KY)
Trainer: Bill Mott
Jockey: Jose Ortiz

Sire: Tapit
Dam: Close Hatches
Color: Gray/Roan

This morning-line choice is as consistent as any three-year-old in his division and had a great prep when second in the Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) most recently. Bill Mott pupil overcame a horrific start in his local debut to finish full of run, which likely prompted the addition of blinkers for this event. The well-bred gray will be rallying from off the pace under regular rider Jose Ortiz.


Mucho Gusto Career Racing Stats

8 Starts
5 Wins
2 Place
1 Show
Total Career Earnings: $630,800

Top BRIS Speed rating (102) in Haskell Invitational Stakes (G1) second

Owner: Michael Lund Pedersen
Breeder: Teneri Farm Inc. and Bernardo Alvarez Calderon (KY)
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Joe Talamo

Sire: Mucho Macho Man
Dam: Itsagiantscauseway
Color: Chestnut

Conditioner Bob Baffert has saddled two Travers (G1) winners in the past three years, and he will look to add to that total with this talented colt. The Kentucky-bred chestnut was a huge second in the Haskell (G1) most recently, and he sent his signal of readiness for the Midsummer Derby with a bullet morning drill on Tuesday. Joe Talamo has the assignment and could be atop the one to catch on Saturday.


Chess Chief Career Racing Stats

10 Starts
1 Wins
1 Place
1 Show
Total Career Earnings: $195,530

Top BRIS Speed rating (94) in Indiana Derby (G3) fourth-placing

Owner: Estate of James Coleman Jr.
Breeder: Morgan’s Ford Farm (VA)
Trainer: Dallas Stewart
Jockey: Mike Smith

Sire: Into Mischief
Dam: Un Blessed
Color: Bay

This son of Into Mischief got up to be second in the West Virginia Derby (G3) to earn his first graded-stakes placing. The longshot has yet to prove capable of running with Grade 1 company and would be a big surprise on Saturday. The Dallas Stewart trainee will be coming from well off the early tempo.


Looking At Bikinis Career Racing Stats

3 Starts
2 Wins
0 Place
1 Show
Total Career Earnings: $98,350

Top BRIS Speed rating (96) in maiden victory

Owner: Long Lake Stable LLC and Madaket Stables LLC
Breeder: Neil Jones (KY)
Trainer: Chad Brown
Jockey: Javier Castellano

Sire: Lookin at Lucky
Dam: Bikini Beauty
Color: Bay

The second of two from the formidable Chad Brown barn set the pace before tiring in the Curlin Stakes in his black-type debut. This interesting prospect was two-for-two prior to that showing and has a high ceiling going forward. Javier Castellano will be in the stirrups once again.


Scars Are Cool Career Racing Stats

3 Starts
1 Wins
0 Place
1 Show
Total Career Earnings: $58,020

Top BRIS Speed rating (93) in recent maiden tally

Owner: Sagamore Farm LLC
Breeder: Hardacre Farm LLC (FL)
Trainer: Stanley Hough
Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione

Sire: Malibu Moon
Dam: Ready Signal
Color: Chestnut

Recent maiden winner looked the part in a tally on this course, but the Florida-bred takes a massive class hike against this cast. The son of Malibu Moon prospered going nine panels on this surface and might thrive with another furlong to work with in the Travers (G1). Rapidly improving colt will have Tyler Gaffalione on board.


Endorsed Career Racing Stats

4 Starts
2 Wins
1 Place
0 Show
Total Career Earnings: $114,850

Top BRIS Speed rating (97) in allowance victory

Owner: Godolphin LLC
Breeder: Godolphin (KY)
Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin
Jockey: Joel Rosario

Sire: Medaglia d’Oro
Dam: Dance Card
Color: Bay

This Godolphin homebred has flashed potential since his debut win on this course last summer. The bay son of Medaglia d’Oro passed his two-turn test when a fine runner-up in the recent Curlin Stakes in his second 2019 assignment. Kiaran McLaughlin pupil could be gearing up for a lifetime-best performance on Saturday with Joel Rosario riding.


Tax Career Racing Stats

8 Starts
3 Wins
2 Place
1 Show
Total Career Earnings: $756,300

Top BRIS Speed rating (103) in 2018 Remsen Stakes (G2) third-placing

Owner: R A Hill Stable and Reeves Thoroughbred Racing
Breeder: Claiborne Farm and Adele B. Dilschneider (KY)
Trainer: Danny Gargan
Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

Sire: Arch
Dam: Toll
Color: Dark Bay

Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) hero draws widest of all but continues to thrive at Saratoga. The gelded sophomore is back in his best form and fired a bullet drill last weekend in hopes of earning his first Grade 1 trophy. Danny Gargan charge will have no trouble at 10 furlongs under Irad Ortiz Jr.