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Weekend King Racing

PREMIUM INTERNATIONAL HORSE RACING TIPS

Travers 150 Day Stakes Racing Tips and Best Bets

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Race 5 – Forego Stakes

(Grade 1)

Distance: 1408m

3.MITOLE* $1.70

 

 

Race 6 – Ballerina Stakes

(Fillies’ Grade 1)

Distance: 1408m

2.COME DANCING* $1.65

 

 

Race 7 – H. Allen Jerkens Stakes 

(Grade 1)

Distance: 1408m

1.SHANCELOT* $1.35

 

 

Race 8 – Ballston Spa Stakes

(Fillies’ Grade 2)

Distance: 1709m

2.FIFTY FIVE $6.50

 

 

Race 9 – Personal Ensign Stakes

(Grade 1)

Distance: 1810m

1.MIDNIGHT BISOU $2.00

 

 

Race 10 – Sword Dancer Stakes

(Fillies’ Grade 1)

Distance: 2414m

4.CHANNEL CAT $5.50

 

 

2019 TRAVERS STAKES

Race 11 – Travers Stakes

(Grade 1)

Distance: 2011m

2.CODE OF HONOR $3.60

 

 

 

How to Bet: Gr1 2019 Sword Dancer Stakes – Saratoga

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2019 GR1 Sword Dancer Stakes

Race 10 at Saratoga on Saturday, August 24 – Post 4:49 PM

Draw Horse ML Odds Jockey Trainer
1 Proven Reserves 30-1 Bet Now Manuel Franco
118 Lbs
Chad Brown
2 Tiz Morning 50-1 Bet Now Dylan Davis
118 Lbs
Edmund Davis
3 Noble Thought 30-1 Bet Now Irad Ortiz, Jr.
118 Lbs
Michael Maker
4 Channel Cat 5-1 Bet Now Luis Saez
120 Lbs
Todd Pletcher
5 Pillar Mountain (IRE) 10-1 Bet Now John Velazquez
118 Lbs
Todd Pletcher
6 Ya Primo (CHI) 7-2 Bet Now Jose Ortiz
124 Lbs
Chad Brown
7 Annals of Time 5-2 Bet Now Javier Castellano
118 Lbs
Chad Brown
8 Channel Maker 3-1 Bet Now Joel Rosario
124 Lbs
William Mott
9 Sadler’s Joy 9-2 Bet Now Jose Lezcano
120 Lbs
Thomas Albertrani

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The best racing of the Saratoga meet happens Saturday! Get up to $100 in bonus cash with a winners bonus in every race. Plus if you make a contest bet in every race, you’ll get 15% Winsurance on your losses!

 

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TOP CHOICE

#10 Sadler’s Joy – This 5-year-old son of Kitten’s Joy is the class of this field and won this race a year ago by a 1/2-length over Money Multiplier. That win led to a fourth-place finish in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf to round out his season. He has only one victory in 2018 but has hit the board in three straight tough races. The defending champion will have a big shot to repeat.

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HORSES TO USE IN MULTI RACE WAGERS

#3 Funtastic – Trainer Chad Brown has this horse running fantastic with back-to-back wire-to-wire wins coming into this race. Two back, he defeated allowance company at Belmont Park before shipping to Monmouth Park and winning the Grade 1 United Nations Stakes. He will be looking for his second straight Grade 1 win in this race.

#2 Spring Quality – Trainer Graham Motion always garners respect in these types of races, especially with a horse that has won 2 of his last 3 starts. His most recent was definitely the biggest of his career in the Manhattan, which he took by a neck at odds of 18-1. Several horses that ran in the Manhattan have already come back to win, including Robert Bruce in the Grade 1 Arlington Million and Fashion Business in the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap. Spring Quality scratched out of the Arlington Million in order to run in this spot.

#4 Hi Happy – This horse was having a tremendous year before a non-effort last time out in the Bowling Green over this track. Before that, he had won 2 of 4 this year while hitting the board in every start, and three starts back, he picked up his first Grade 1 victory in the Man O’ War Stakes while following that up with a solid third-place effort in the Manhattan. Perhaps the soft turf in the Bowling Green bothered him, so if he can get back to his best race, then he could certainly win here.

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EXOTIC PLAYS

#7 Channel Maker – Last time was certainly exciting as Channel Maker and Glorious Empire hit the wire together for a dead heat in the Bowling Green. Channel Maker closed furiously on the front-running Glorious Empire there and can do the same here if the early pace sets up well for him. His strategy is always the same: drop to the back of the pack and make one giant run at the end.

#6 Bigger Picture – He always puts up consistent efforts, especially at Saratoga, where he was third in this race a year ago. He opened 2018 with a win in a Grade 3 race at Sam Houston, and two races ago, he was third in the United Nations. He will drop to the back of the pack and make one big run at the end, so a hot pace would be to his favour.

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PARTY CRASHERS

#5 Highland Sky – The son of Sky Mesa has been a familiar face in this division for years and is set to give it another go in this tough spot. He nearly won the 2016 Grade 1 Belmont Derby and was defeated by just a neck, so he has some back class. Two races ago, he defeated allowance company at Belmont Park, and last time out, he was fifth in the Bowling Green. That race was contested over a soft turf course, so like Hi Happy, perhaps he did not care for the surface.

THROW OUTS

#1 Glorious Empire – This horse is red-hot with two straight victories, including the Grade 2 Bowling Green Stakes last time out over this track at odds of 22-1. The rain has played a major factor at Saratoga this year, including in that last race, where the turf was very soft. Right now, the forecast calls for sunny skies, but if it rains, we know that this horse won’t mind the give in the ground.

#9 Revved Up – He is no stranger to big races, and last time out, he was a solid second in the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap behind Divisidero. That horse came back to run a decent third here two weeks ago in the Grade 1 Fourstardave Stakes.

#8 Seahenge – He ships to the United States for the third straight time after failed attempts in his previous two efforts. It has been a long time since this horse has seen the winner’s circle, and this spot looks to be very difficult for him once again.

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2019 – 150th Travers Stakes – In-Depth Runner Analysis & Tip Cheat Sheet

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The $1.25-million, Grade 1 Runhappy Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course on Saturday is shaping up to be a very important race in determining how the 3-year-old division plays out for the rest of 2019, since, with the arguable exception of Maximum Security, no horse has separated from the rest of the upper echelon through the first eight months of racing. Furthermore, the 150th Travers should also be a horseplayers’ delight as it features a large, competitive field.

The 1 ¼-mile Travers will be the featured race in a one-hour national broadcast on FOX from 5 to 6 p.m. ET. The Travers is not an automatic qualifying race for the Breeders’ Cup Classic, but three other stakes races on Saratoga’s loaded Saturday card are Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” races, and will be televised by Fox Sports.

Whether you are interested in making a couple of bucks on the race or just want to know a little bit about this year’s runners, we’ve got you covered with our 2019 Travers Stakes In-Depth Runner by Runner Analysis & Tip Cheat Sheet.

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2019 Travers Stakes Odds, Horses, Jockeys & Trainers

THE 150TH RUNNING OF THE GREAT ‘MID-SUMMERS’ DERBY

Race 11 at Saratoga on Saturday, August 24 – Post 5:44 PM

Stall Horse ML Odds Jockey Trainer
1 Owendale 6-1 BET NOW Florent Geroux
126 Lbs
Brad Cox
2 Code of Honor 4-1 BET NOW John Velazquez
126 Lbs
Claude McGaughey III
3 Highest Honors 10-1 BET NOW Luis Saez
126 Lbs
Chad Brown
4 Laughing Fox 30-1 BET NOW Ricardo Santana, Jr.
126 Lbs
Steven Asmussen
5 Everfast 30-1 BET NOW Martin Chuan
126 Lbs
Dale Romans
6 Tacitus 5-2 BET NOW Jose Ortiz
126 Lbs
William Mott
7 Mucho Gusto 6-1 BET NOW Joseph Talamo
126 Lbs
Bob Baffert
8 Chess Chief 30-1 BET NOW Mike Smith
126 Lbs
Dallas Stewart
9 Looking At Bikinis 10-1 BET NOW Javier Castellano
126 Lbs
Chad Brown
10 Scars Are Cool 30-1 BET NOW Tyler Gaffalione
126 Lbs
Stanley Hough
11 Endorsed 15-1 BET NOW Joel Rosario
126 Lbs
Kiaran McLaughlin
12 Tax 6-1 BET NOW Irad Ortiz, Jr.
126 Lbs
Danny Gargan

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Top 10 Travers Stakes Winners

Known as the Mid-Summer Derby, the Travers Stakes is a 1 ¼ mile race for 3-year-olds held at Saratoga Race Course. The race was first held in 1864, and there have been some remarkable races and winners in the Travers. Still, only one of the 12 Triple Crown champions has won the Travers Stakes (Whirlaway).

While there have been many wonderful winners, here is a selected list of the top 12 horses to win the Travers Stakes.

1920: Man o’ War – Won the Travers in 2:01.80; a stakes record that stood for more than four decades. The permanent trophy since 1936 is named the Man o’ War Cup.

1921: Sporting Blood – The great conspiracy race and betting scandal with the owner of Sporting Blood betting $150,000 on his horse to win with a bookie, and the favourite Grey Lag scratched just before post time.

1930: Jim Dandy – Shocked the crowd and bookmakers as a 100-1 shot, upsetting Triple Crown champion Gallant Fox over a muddy and deep track on a stormy afternoon at Saratoga.

1941: Whirlaway – The only horse to win the American Triple Crown and Travers Stakes.

1962: Jaipur – Won by a nose-bob in a then track record time. Considered one of the greatest races and duels in Travers history, running less than a half-length apart with Ridan the entire race.

1967: Demascus – Won by a record 22 lengths in a then track record time of 2:01.60.

1982: Runaway Groom – Champion Canadian 3-year-old beat the three American Triple Crown winners.

1997: Deputy Commander – Memorable stretch duel between Behrens and Deputy Commander with Hall of Fame jockeys Jerry Bailey and Chris McCarron aboard.
  
2001: Point Given – Won in front of a then Travers-record crowd of 60,486 who bet a record $34.5 million on the race; a record at the time.

2012: Alpha and Golden Ticket – Finished in a dead heat for first place.

2015: Keen Ice – Notable winner as he upset Triple Crown winner American Pharoah on a record-wagering Travers Day ($49.6 million) with an added purse of a record $1.6 million.

2016: Arrogate – Won by 13 ½ lengths while setting a new stakes record of 1:59.36.


Travers Stakes Winners History

The Travers Stakes has produced some notable champions during its storied history, and the 2016 winner Arrogate was a relative unknown until he delivered a breath-taking 13-length victory in a Travers-record time of 1:59.23. That victory was Arrogate’s stakes debut, and the late-bloomer went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic, the Pegasus World Cup, and the Dubai World Cup in his next three starts and become North America’s all-time money winner.

The ‘Midsummer Derby’ is contested at the classic 1 ¼ mile distance, and the race at historic Saratoga Race Course has been won by many of the legends of racing. The Travers trophy, known as the Man o’ War Cup, is named in honour of the 1920 winner Man ‘o War, whose victory was one of his 20 wins in 21 career starts.

The most recent decade has produced some of racings stars among its many memorable moments. Winners include Bernardini (2006), Street Sense (2007), Summer Bird (2009), Will Take Charge (2013), Arrogate (2016) and Keen Ice (2015), who upset Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. Many of these and other notable winners went on to win champion 3-year-old and/or Horse of the Year honours. In total, 36 Travers winners were later named Champion-3-Year-Old.

Alpha and Golden Ticket (2012) completed the first dead-heat winner in Travers history that never went to a race-off. No race favourite has won the Travers (alone) since 2011 with Stay Thirsty.

Past Travers noted champions that paved the way for the modern race winners include:  Triple Crown winner Whirlaway (1941), Sword Dancer (1953) and Ruthless (1867), who went on to become the first of seven fillies to win the Travers.

In the past 40 years, other notable and significant wins include: Alydar (1978) who won after rival Affirmed was disqualified, previous record holder General Assembly (1979), Java Gold (1987), Easy Goer (1989), Holy Bull (1994), Thunder Gulch (1995), Lemon Drop Kid (1999), Point Given (2001), Medaglia ‘d Oro (2002), Birdstone (2004), and those above in the last decade.

Some racing greats both running and riding have won and lost some of the tightest finishes, as 10 Travers Stakes have been decided by a nose, including two in the past decade, Wicked Strong (2014) and Afleet Express (2010).

Jockey Javier Castellano has recorded a record 5 Travers wins over the last decade, guiding Bernardini (2006), Afleet Express (2010), Stay Thirsty (2011), V. E. Day (2014), and Keen Ice (2015) to victory.

 

THE 2018 TRAVERS STAKES WAS TAKEN OUT BY CATHOLIC BOY, THE RACE REPLAY IS AVAILABLE BELOW.

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On Travers Day a win pays more, losses get “Winsurance”!

The best racing of the Saratoga meet happens Saturday! Get up to $100 in bonus cash with a winners bonus in every race. Plus if you make a contest bet in every race, you’ll get 15% “Winsurance” on your losses!

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Travers Stakes Information & History

The Travers at Saratoga Race Course is America’s Oldest Stakes Race for Thoroughbreds.

When the Saratoga Racing Association named the Travers Stakes for William R. Travers (one of the founders of America’s oldest racecourse), they sought only to honour a man who’d made his mark on the sport of horse racing. Mr Travers’ horse, Kentucky, won that first in 1864.

Almost immediately, the Travers became a prestigious event, as word spread that the race was designed for only extraordinary three-year-old horses. The race has been run at four different distances during the course of its history to-date:

  • 1 miles (2.81 km): 1864 to 1889
  • 1 miles (2.41 km): 1890 to 1892
  • 1 miles (2.01 km): 1893 to 1894, 1897
  • 1.12 miles (1.81 km): 1895, 1901 to 1903
  • 1¼ miles (2.01 km): 1904 to present

The present distance of 1 1/4 miles is a perfect distance for contemporary three-year-olds. The race is open to colts and geldings, carrying 126 lb (57.2 kg) and fillies, carrying 121 lbs. (54.9 kg).

traversThe Travers creates memories every year, for thousands of people. Too many wonderful experiences to recount here, but some of those memories that have been shared by large numbers of race fans:

  • In 1941, Whirlaway became the only horse ever to win the superfecta: he’d won the Triple Crown, then went on to take the Travers, as well.
  • In 1962, Jaipur won by a nose-bob in track record time over Ridan, who was considered to be more talented. The long battle (the entire 1 1/4 miles) saw the two horses duke it out the entire distance of the race.
  • In 1982, Runaway Groom (Champion Canadian three-year-old), who was trained by John DiMario, arrived at the Saratoga backstretch after a very long and exhausting season. He’d competed in the Canadian Triple Crown: he won the Prince of Wales Stakes, the Breeders’ Stakes, and finished second in the Queen’s Plate. Runaway Groom’s Travers victory made him the only horse in racing history to beat the winners of that year’s American Triple Crown in the same race. (Kentucky Derby winner Gato Del Sol; Preakness Stakes winner Aloma’s Ruler and Belmont Stakes winner, Conquistador Cielo.)
  • Point Given, a gorgeous, big, 17hh monster, won the Travers on August 25, 2001. That day, Point Given drew a record Travers Stakes Day crowd, 60,486 fans. The race brought in a total betting handle of $34,529,273. This was also a Saratoga record to that date.

 

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IN-DEPTH RUNNER ANALYSIS

1. Owendale

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This colt enters the Travers Stakes in career-best form and sporting the highest career Equibase Speed Figure in the 12-horse field. Owendale earned that in a hard-fought, half-length win over Math Wizard in the Grade 3 Ohio Derby at Thistledown June 22, his most recent start. Prior to that, he tallied two triple-digit figures when running a rallying third in the Preakness Stakes in May and then when winning his first graded stakes, the Grade 3 Stonestreet Lexington at Keeneland in April. Other than an inexplicably dull eighth-place effort in the Risen Star Stakes back in February, this son of top sire Into Mischief has never run a bad race since breaking his maiden in his third start last fall. Based on form, he should be a leading win candidate in the Travers, although it should be noted that Ohio Derby runner-up Math Wizard came back to run a well-beaten sixth in the West Virginia Derby, more than five lengths behind that race’s runner-up and Travers longshot Chess Chief. The big question with Owendale is distance: Into Mischief, while currently leading the North American sire list for 2019, has yet to sire a classic-distance horse of any distinction, and several other Travers starters, including probable favourites Tacitus and Tax, both have more suitable pedigrees for the Travers’ 1 ¼ miles as well as more experience competing in route races. But Owendale is a legitimate contender in the Travers and should be sitting in an advantageous stalking spot under Florent Geroux after saving ground early as the field makes its way through the backstretch. Geroux finished third on Gun Runner in the 2016 Travers. Owendale is the first Travers starter for up-and-coming trainer Brad Cox.


2. 
Code of Honor 

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code of honor

Code of Honor figures to be one of the post-time favourites in Saturday’s 150th Travers, and he will carry a lot of support on track as a local hero. He broke his maiden first out at Saratoga last summer and was in the top echelon of 2019 Kentucky Derby contenders through the winter and into early spring until he finished a dull third in the Florida Derby. The Kentucky Derby provided some measure of redemption for Code of Honor, as he reached contention at the top of the stretch with a very good trip under John Velazquez but could not seal the deal and finished third (elevated to second after Maximum Security was disqualified). Following the Derby, Code of Honor was patiently handled by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey and bypassed the remaining Triple Crown races, returning with a visually impressive win in the one-mile, Grade 3 Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park on July 6. He’s been training steadily at Saratoga ever since, and McGaughey is renowned for getting his horses to excel in races that he’s targeted on the calendar. Code of Honor has a good stalking running style for the Travers, although getting the 1 ¼-mile distance is still a concern given how he tired late in the Kentucky Derby. Still, this professional colt is a logical win candidate and a horse to build exacta and trifecta tickets around. Hall of Fame rider Velazquez won the 2005 Travers aboard Flower Alley and he also finished second twice. McGaughey has three Travers wins: back to back in 1989 and 1990 with champions Easy Goer and Rhythm and in 1998 with Coronado’s Quest. Will Farish of Lane’s End Farm also campaigns Travers starter Highest Honor; he co-owned both 2007 Travers runner-up Grasshopper and 2008 runner-up (by a nose) Mambo in Seattle.


3. 
Highest Honors 

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highest honors

Highest Honors won the local prep for the Travers, the July 26 Curlin Stakes, by 1 ½ lengths on a muddy track over fellow Travers starters Endorsed and Looking At Bikinis. After trailing the field early, he made a sustained rally heading into the far turn and was kept to task by jockey Jose Ortiz while three-wide in the stretch of the 1 1/8-mile Curlin. He continued on stoutly to the finish and appeared to be well-suited to handling added distance in his future races. Ortiz will ride Tacitus in the Travers as he has for all of that colt’s starts, but Highest Honors picks up Luis Saez, who currently ranks fourth by wins at Saratoga’s elite meet and third by purse earnings. This son of top sire Tapit is obviously very talented but has only been competing since late April, finishing second by a neck in his career debut at Keeneland and then winning a 1 1/16-mile, one-turn maiden race at Belmont Park before his two-turn score in the Curlin. Highest Honors has an outsider’s chance to grab what his name proclaims. Look for Saez to position his mount in midpack on Saturday, perhaps a bit closer to the lead than in this colt’s stakes debut. Saez won his Travers debut on Will Take Charge in 2013 and finished third last year aboard Bravazo. Chad Brown’s best Travers finish to date from eight starters is fourth with Gift Box in 2016. Will Farish also campaigns Travers starter Code of Honor; he co-owned both 2007 Travers runner-up Grasshopper and 2008 runner-up (by a nose) Mambo in Seattle.


4. Laughing Fox 

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laughing fox

This horse was an under-the-radar contender on the Road to the Kentucky Derby based on back-to-back wins at Oaklawn Park in late winter, but disappointed in his two Derby points races at his home track and thus was relegated to starting in the inaugural Oaklawn Invitational Stakes on Kentucky Derby day. Laughing Fox won that 1 1/8-mile race with a visually impressive closing rally, and since then has finished fifth in the Preakness Stakes and fourth in the Jim Dandy Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets. In all of his nine career starts, he’s come running from off the pace, either from a stalking position or from farther back. As such, he’ll be dependent on a swift early pace in Saturday’s Travers, which he may well not get. Still, this colt has untapped potential and is a more appealing candidate to fill out exacta’s and trifectas than the other deep closers lined up in the Travers. Ricardo Santana Jr. has ridden Laughing Fox in all but two of his starts (one of those he missed was the Oaklawn Invitational) and will need to keep his mount out of traffic trouble through the first mile or so in order to get Laughing Fox cranked up for a stretch run. Santana, the first-call jockey for Steve Asmussen, has been riding well during the current Saratoga meet and will be making his second consecutive start in the Travers. Asmussen has finished third twice from five Travers starters.


5. 
Everfast 

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Everfast

In 2015, Dale Romans trained one of the biggest upset winners in the storied history of the Mid-summer Derby, when Keen Ice rallied past Triple Crown winner and eventual Breeders’ Cup Classic winner and Horse of the Year American Pharoah in the final strides. A win by Everfast in Saturday’s Travers would go down in the books as arguably an even greater upset, although there is no horse in the 2019 Travers field that comes anywhere close to American Pharoah in terms of accomplishments. But then, Everfast is no Keen Ice, either. This horse has competed in many of the top-level races among his age group ever since last fall and has been a factor exactly twice, posting two runner-up efforts at gargantuan odds in the Fasig-Tipton Holy Bull Stakes back in February and then in the May 18 Preakness Stakes behind War of Will. One could argue that his Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets seventh-place effort wasn’t bad, either, as he was defeated by only three lengths. But in each of his seven other graded stakes appearances to date, he’s finished 6 ¼ lengths back or more – often much more. Everfast will probably vie with Chess Chief for the longest odds at post time, and he should be positioned near the back of the field with that fellow grinder until the early stretch when he’ll try to pick off some straggling horses and secure a spot in the superfecta. Young jockey Martin Chuan will make his Travers debut after recently moving from his native Peru, where he was a leading rider, to Ellis Park for its current summer meet. In addition to his win with Keen Ice, Louisville-based Romans finished third with First Dude in his 2010 Travers debut. Calumet Farm has three Travers wins, but all during its 20th-century era of dominance when owned by the Wright family. Calumet under Brad Kelley’s ownership finished third last year in the Travers with Bravazo.

 

6. Tacitus

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tacitus

Still regarded as one of the best horses in his age group, Tacitus enters Saturday’s 150th Travers Stakes in search of a career-defining, elite-level win after a good, but not good enough, efforts in his most recent trio of starts. He was rolling late in the Kentucky Derby but had too much ground to make up on Maximum Security and finished fourth (elevated to third after Maximum Security was disqualified). He paid the price late for a wide trip travelling a mile and a half in the Belmont Stakes gaining on winner Sir Winston in the final strides but still losing a length. In his most recent start in the Jim Dandy Stakes, Tacitus nearly fell at the start, but he amazingly recovered and then valiantly closed the gap on Tax through the stretch, only to come up three-quarters of a length short. He arguably should have won both the Belmont Stakes and Jim Dandy, and therefore will probably be the post-time favourite in the Travers, but a change in riding tactics may be in order on Saturday to give this physically imposing, superbly-bred son of Tapit the best chance of winning. Tacitus has a sustained, powerful running style similar to recent Travers winners Will Take Charge and Keen Ice, but like those horses, he also doesn’t possess an electric turn of foot. Thus, it will be incumbent upon jockey Jose Ortiz, who’s been aboard Tacitus for all of his starts, to judge the early pace by the time the Travers field settles in the backstretch and, if necessary, call for Tacitus to move into contention earlier than usual if the fractions are slow. The addition of blinkers could help in this regard. Ortiz, currently the leading rider at Saratoga’s meet by a wide margin in wins and earnings, will be making his sixth Travers start; he finished second in his 2012 debut aboard Moreno. Hall of Famer Bill Mott has trained two Travers runners-up among eight starters. Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farms owned 2016 Travers winner and track-record setter Arrogate.


7. 
Mucho Gusto 

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This West Coast shipper adds even more class to what was already a high-quality Travers field. Bob Baffert decided earlier this week to start Mucho Gusto in the Mid-summer Derby after the colt posted three impressive workouts at Del Mar following his good runner-up finish behind Maximum Security in the Haskell Invitational. He enters the Travers with one of the best race records in the field, having won four Grade 3 races to date and with two runner-up finishes at the elite Grade 1 level. He has never finished worse than third through eight career starts, although it’s notable that two of his defeats came in starts at 1 1/8 miles. Mucho Gusto does not need to control the pace to win, but he has had success doing so, and it would not be a surprise to see jockey Joe Talamo be aggressive in getting his mount secured in a prominent early position as the field moves into the first turn. This talented, consistent colt is stuck at the Grade 3 level and certainly has a chance to attain Grade 1 status in the prestigious Travers, but Mucho Gusto more realistically profiles as a horse to use in all exacta and trifecta bets rather than as a leading win candidate. Talamo has been aboard Mucho Gusto throughout the colt’s career and will be making his Travers debut. Hall of Famer Baffert, on the other hand, has won the Travers three times from eight starters: Point Given (2001), Arrogate (2016), and West Coast (2017). And he also finished second in the 2015 renewal with a colt that was arguably better than his Travers winners, each of the champions: Horse of the Year and Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.


8. 
Chess Chief 

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chess chief

Rarely can it be said that Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith goes to the post on the longest shot in a marquee stakes race, but that could be the case on Saturday in the 150th Travers? Chess Chief has only one win in 10 career starts, a maiden score back in March at Fair Grounds. He has put forth better efforts in his most recent two starts – both stakes tries, in which he was fourth in the Indiana Derby and second, defeated by six lengths, in the West Virginia Derby (both won easily by Mr Money). He’s also been training well at Churchill Downs for Dallas Stewart, who has a well-deserved reputation for getting huge runs out of longshots in prestigious races, and as mentioned above, he gets arguably the best big-race rider the sport to take the reins. But this horse is a one-dimensional closer who will need most, if not all, of the rest of the Travers field to fall apart in the stretch allowing him to meander to the lead. He may pass a few tired horses late, but hitting the board in any slot would be a major surprise. Smith has four Travers wins Holy Bull (1994), Coronado’s Quest (1998), Arrogate (2016) and West Coast (2017). Chess Chief is Dallas Stewart’s first Travers starter.


9. 
Looking At Bikinis

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This intriguing contender joins Highest Honors to represent leading Saratoga trainer Chad Brown in the Travers. After winning his first start impressively in a 6 ½-furlong race last fall at Belmont Park, Looking At Bikinis was sidelined for more than nine months before returning in a one-mile allowance at the same track. He out finished stakes winner Not That Brady in an impressive off-the-bench effort, and that set him up for his two-turn debut in the July 26 Curlin Stakes at Saratoga, where he was sent off as the post-time favourite. He set a contested pace in the Curlin and appeared to be out of energy at the top of the stretch, but showed determination in the final furlong to hold third behind stablemate Highest Honors and Endorsed another Travers starter. This son of champion Lookin At Lucky has a solid, though not spectacular, pedigree in terms of stamina, and he’ll need to move forward in a major way off of his Curlin performance to have a shot at winning on Saturday. In a Travers with no pure front-running horse entered, expect jockey Javier Castellano to put Looking At Bikinis into the race early from his outside post position, perhaps even at the head of the field by the time they hit the backstretch, and then try to set a modest pace through the middle stages of the race before asking his mount for full effort at the top of the homestretch. An off-track in the Travers may help this colt’s chances, as he romped in his career debut on a sloppy track and then ran decent in the Curlin Stakes on the main track rated as muddy. Hall of Famer Castellano is the all-time winningest jockey in Travers history; his six winners are Bernardini (2006), Afleet Express (2010), Stay Thirsty (2011), V.E. Day (2014), Keen Ice (2015), and Catholic Boy (2018). He also finished second in 2005 aboard Bellamy Road. Chad Brown’s best Travers finish to date from eight starters is fourth with Gift Box in 2016.


10. 
Scars Are Cool 

30-1 — Back Now with a Free $10 Bet 

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A major class test awaits this inexperienced but promising colt in the Travers, but he’s shown improvement in each of his three starts since debuting in May and is a worthy longshot contender to consider using in exotic tickets. The son of Malibu Moon finished fourth in his debut at Churchill Downs going 6 ½ furlongs and then third as the favourite in a one-turn mile at the same track in June. After a five-week break, he surfaced at Saratoga and was stretched out to two turns in a 1 1/8-mile maiden on July 21. Scars Are Cool stalked a moderate pace and swept seven wide in the stretch for an impressive closing rally made even more so by the fact that jockey Tyler Gaffalione lost his riding crop just as his horse straightened out. The colt earned a 99 Equibase Speed Figure in that victory and will need to boost that significantly on Saturday to have a shot at hitting the board. He has shown a patient, stalking style in his young career and has responded well to Gaffalione in the saddle for all of his starts. Gaffalione will be making his second Travers start on Saturday. Stanley Hough, who returned to the sport after an absence of several years in 2018 as Sagamore Farm’s personal trainer, will make his Travers debut.

11. Endorsed 

15-1 — Back Now with a Free $10 Bet 

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Endorsed exits the local Travers prep at Saratoga, the 1 1/8-mile Curlin Stakes July 26, when he ran a solid second to Highest Honors in his first try around two turns. Prior to that, he’d won his career debut during Saratoga’s 2018 meet, ran sixth in October’s Grade 1 Champagne Stakes, and then returned this June after a break of more than eight months to score in a six-furlong Belmont Park allowance race. This son of 2002 Travers winner Medaglia d’Oro has a nice pedigree but concedes a big experience edge to several foes in Saturday’s race. He’ll have to extend his stamina another eighth of a mile to get the Travers’ classic mile-and-a-quarter distance, but he has the right rider to help him kick home in Joel Rosario, one of the sport’s best closers. This will be Rosario’s fourth Travers start; he finished third in his 2014 debut aboard Tonalist. New York-based Kiaran McLaughlin won the 2012 Travers in a dead heat with Godolphin-owned Alpha, and he also finished second in 2011. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum’s Godolphin also owned 2001 Travers runner-up E Dubai.

12. Tax

6-1 — Back Now with a Free $10 Bet 

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This gelding could be in the early stages of putting together a lengthy and accomplished career in the mould of throwback types from the previous decade such as Perfect Drift and Lava Man. His backstory is already one of the most appealing among current horses in training, as he was astutely claimed by Danny Gargan for his current owners last fall at Keeneland, and then made his mark on the Kentucky Derby trail over the winter with a win in the Withers Stakes and a second to Tacitus in the Wood Memorial Stakes. After a disappointing 14th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby and a solid fourth in the Belmont Stakes, Tax put it all together with a breakthrough score over tough-luck Tacitus in the Jim Dandy Stakes at this track, back on July 27. He displayed his usual forwardly-placed, stalking running style in the Jim Dandy, took the lead under Irad Ortiz Jr. coming out of the far turn, and had enough stamina in reserve to hold off Tacitus’ late challenge although you must take into account just how much extra gas Tacitus was forced to spend in the run after bombing out of the gates. Aside from his Kentucky Derby aberration, Tax has given a good account of himself in all of his races, and there’s no reason to expect any different on Saturday, although Irad Ortiz will have to make the right decisions early on about when to angle Tax inward from his far outside post in order to save ground and secure a good stalking spot. His one-timed workout at Saratoga since the Jim Dandy was excellent, and he’s bred to handle the 1 ¼-mile distance. All in all, there’s little to question here – Tax is a serious threat to win the Travers and is the most logical horse to use as a key in exotic wagers, especially if his attractive 6-1 odds on the morning line hold steady. Ortiz’s best Travers finish among seven prior starters was fourth in 2014. This will be Danny Gargan’s first Travers appearance.

 

 

2019 TRAVERS STAKES SELECTIONS

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1ST PICK. (2) CODE OF HONOR

2ND PICK. (6) TACITUS

3RD PICK. (7) MUCHO GUSTO

4TH PICK. (3) HIGHEST HONORS

5TH PICK. (1) OWENDALE

 

 

2019 TRAVERS STAKES WAGERS / BETS

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$100 BETTING BUDGET

 

BET #1: $2 TRIFECTA PART WHEEL

24 Combinations
Cost = $48.00

1ST: 2, 6

2ND: 2, 3, 6, 7

3RD: 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 11

 

BET #2: $52 – 2 HORSE DUTCH WIN ONLY BETS

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WIN BET 1: 2.CODE OF HONOUR @ 4/1 ($5.00)

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WIN BET 2: 6.TACITUS @ 5/2 ($3.50)

 

Dutch Betting Strategy

Selections & Profits Values
CODE OF HONOUR wager $30.59
TACITUS wager $21.41
Profit if CODE OF HONOUR wins $55.06
Profit if TACITUS wins $55.05
Loss if neither selection wins $-52.00

Best Bet of The Month – August 2019

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BEST BET OF THE MONTH HISTORY: 2019

JANUARY: DAWN PASSAGE $8.50WON

FEBRUARY: SHAMWOW $12.00UNPLACED

MARCH: AVILIUS $4.40WON

APRIL: SANTA ANA LANE $8.00WON

MAY: GREY LION $3.70WON

JUNE: DEPRIVE $2.25WON

JULY: BATTLE GUARDIAN $8.50WON

 

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Best Bet of The Month – August 2019

 

Royal Randwick

Race 7

GR1 Winx Stakes

Winx Silks

#1

Avilius

$3.80

 

Avilius

Jockey: Kerrin McEvoy

Trainer: James Cummings

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The King Tip – Thursday 22 August 2019

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HAWKESBURY

2 LEG UP ALL

 

1ST LEG

Race 1

#4

Darling Point

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2ND LEG

Race 3

#2

Maggie Miss

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DIVIDEND: $5.27 (Ladbrokes Boosted)

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Gr1 Winx Stakes: Field, Odds, Race Preview, Tips

2019 Winx Stakes 

Winx Silks

Winx Stakes Race Details

Date: August 24, 2019
Time: 3:45PM
Racecourse: Randwick Racecourse
Race Distance: 1400m
Conditions: WFA
Prize Money: $500,000

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WINX STAKES BEST BET
1.Avilius $3.60

BET NOW

 

WINX STAKES BEST ROUGHIE
8.Unforgotten $13.00

BET NOW

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Resuming after a five months break. Finished off last campaign began awkwardly; 5 of 8 at Rosehill in the G3 Sky High Stks in Mar over 2000m, on rain affected going; 4.5 len behind Red Cardinal carrying 55kg at $5.00. Previous preparation first-up won by 1.3 len Canterbury 5yo+ (Bm76) in Nov last year over 1100m defeating Star Crossed with 58.5kg at $7.00. Simply not good enough for these.

 

Resuming after a five months break. Finished off last campaign winning won by 1.8 len this track G1 Australian Oaks in Apr over 2400m defeating Scarlet Dream with 56kg at $2.00. First up last campaign eased at start and overraced near 600m; 2 of 10 at Flemington in the G3 The Vanity in Feb over 1400m, 1 len behind Amphitrite carrying 57.5kg at $7.00. Biggest test to date. Can she match it with the big boys? I think so.
Winx Silks

Winx Stakes Selections

  1. (1) Avilius $3.60
  2. (8) Unforgotten $13
  3. (10) Verry Elleegant $4.20
  4. (9) Youngstar $34
  5. (2) Happy Clapper $4.50
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Avilius
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Winx Stakes Information

The Winx Stakes is a Group 1 race run under Weight For Age conditions for open class horses at Randwick conducted by the Australian Turf Club.
The Winx Stakes is run over 1400m. Its main home was always Warwick Farm but the last few runnings and occasionally in the past it has been at Randwick.
It was first run in 1923 and was won by Sunburst.
The Winx Stakes has been run basically at 1400m since its inception bar for a brief period in the 1930s.
It was previously known as the Warwick Stakes when it was a Group 2 race all the way until 2018 when it was upgraded to a Group 1 and renamed after the champion mare.
Winx winning in 2016 was her tenth win in a row as part of her amazing sequence and then her 18th in 2017. The 26th in a row was also her third consecutive win in the race.
Pablo’s Pulse won the race in 1987 at 500-1.

The 2007 race was not held due to the Equine Influenza break out.
Many a horse’s Cox Plate campaign has begun in this race and naturally, that is true of the last three.
The 2017 edition was remarkable after Winx was fractious, banged against the barriers just before the jump and missed the start by four lengths. She took a time to wind up but just got up.
The 2019 Winx Stakes will be run for prizemoney of $500,000.
Notable winners of the Winx Stakes include Winx (2016/2017/2018), Racing To Win (2008), Court’s In Session (2006), Private Steer (2004), Lonhro (2001/2003), Defier (2002), Sunline (1999), Filante (1996/1997), Shaftesbury Avenue (1992), Super Impose (1990/1991), Kingston Town (1980/1981/1982), Sky High (1961/1962), Tulloch (1957), San Domenico (1950/1951), Bernborough (1946), Flight (1944), Chatham (1933/1934), Amounis (1930) and Limerick (1927/1928/1929).
The 2018 Winx Stakes was won by Winx with Invictus Prince 2nd and D’Argento 3rd.

How to bet on the Winx Stakes?

Looking to bet on the Winx Stakes? Online bookmakers such as Ladbrokes offer a quick and easy online betting service. Once you have signed up simply navigate your way to the correct market and click on the odds of the horse you wish to bet on. You can then enter the amount you wish to bet and all you will need to do is confirm your bet. It’s that easy!

When is the Winx Stakes?

The Winx Stakes 2019 will be run on Saturday, August 24 at Randwick Racecourse. The scheduled start time for the race is 3:45PM.

What time is the Winx Stakes 2019?

The Winx Stakes 2019 will be run at 3:45PM on Saturday, August 24 at Randwick Racecourse.

Where is the Winx Stakes 2019?

The Winx Stakes 2019 will take place at Randwick Racecourse on Saturday, August 24.

How to live stream the 2019 Winx Stakes

Have you backed our Best Bet ‘Avilius’ and want to know how you can watch the 2019 Winx Stakes?

The Winx Stakes is scheduled to be run on August 24, 2019 so sign up to any of the compatible online bookmakers below and stream the race for free!

View the table below to work out which online bookmaker will live stream the Winx Stakes.

Bookmaker VIC NSW QLD SA WA TAS NT Sign Up
$500* Bonus Bet Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Live Steam!
$500* Bonus Bet Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Live Steam!
$200* Bonus Bet Yes No No Yes No No No Live Steam!

Previous Winners

Date Horse Jockey WT Trainer BP
WINX (AUS) 7M
STREET CRY (IRE) – VEGAS SHOWGIRL (NZ) AL AKBAR (AUS)
J BOWMAN 57.0 CHRIS WALLER 5
WINX (AUS) 6M
STREET CRY (IRE) – VEGAS SHOWGIRL (NZ) AL AKBAR (AUS)
J BOWMAN 57.0 CHRIS WALLER 2
WINX (AUS) 5M
STREET CRY (IRE) – VEGAS SHOWGIRL (NZ) AL AKBAR (AUS)
J BOWMAN 57.0 CHRIS WALLER 4
ROYAL DESCENT (AUS) 6M
REDOUTE’S CHOICE (AUS) – MULAN PRINCESS (NZ) KAAPSTAD (NZ)
J BOWMAN 57.0 CHRIS WALLER 3
TIGER TEES (NZ) 7G
DUBAWI (IRE) – PARFORE (NZ) GOLD BROSE (AUS)
G SCHOFIELD 59.0 JOSEPH PRIDE 7
VEYRON (NZ) 8G
THORN PARK (AUS) – OVER THE LIMIT (NZ) CENTRO (NZ)
C REITH 59.0 LINDA LAING 2
PINWHEEL (AUS) 7G
LONHRO (AUS) – QUILT (AUS) DANEHILL (USA)
K MCEVOY 59.0 PETER SNOWDEN 11
PINWHEEL (AUS) 6G
LONHRO (AUS) – QUILT (AUS) DANEHILL (USA)
K MCEVOY 59.0 PETER SNOWDEN 10
METAL BENDER (NZ) 5G
DANASINGA (AUS) – JACQWIN (AUS) BLUEBIRD (USA)
TIM CLARK 59.0 CHRIS WALLER 4
TRUSTING (AUS) 3C
TALE OF THE CAT (USA) – LEGIBLE (NZ) ZABEEL (NZ)
C MUNCE 50.5 JASON COYLE 9
RACING TO WIN (AUS) 6G
ENCOSTA DE LAGO (AUS) – SURREALIST (AUS) KENNY’S BEST PAL (AUS)
J BOWMAN 59.0 JOHN O’SHEA 4
COURT’S IN SESSION (AUS) 7G
BUREAUCRACY (NZ) – MARKATIE COURT (AUS) SEVENTH HUSSAR (AUS)
D BEASLEY 58.0 G H WALTER 5
SIR DEX (AUS) 5G
DEXTER (GB) – AMWAJ (AUS) MARSCAY (AUS)
Z PURTON 58.0 GREGORY HICKMAN 1
PRIVATE STEER (AUS) 5M
DANEHILL DANCER (IRE) – LISHEENOWEN (AUS) SEMIPALATINSK (USA)
G BOSS 55.5 JOHN O’SHEA 2
LONHRO (AUS) 5H
OCTAGONAL (NZ) – SHADEA (NZ) STRAIGHT STRIKE (USA)
D BEADMAN 58.0 JOHN HAWKES 3
DEFIER (AUS) 5G
DEHERE (USA) – LILANDE (AUS) MARSCAY (AUS)
C MUNCE 58.0 G H WALTER 2
LONHRO (AUS) 3C
OCTAGONAL (NZ) – SHADEA (NZ) STRAIGHT STRIKE (USA)
D MCLELLAN 49.5 JOHN HAWKES 11
AL MANSOUR (AUS) 6G
AT TALAQ (USA) – CLASSIC VICTORY (AUS) BLETCHINGLY (AUS)
D BEADMAN 58.0 JOHN SIZE 2

 

 

The King Tip – Wednesday 21 August

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Canterbury

Race 2

#8

Lakia

$13.00 / $3.30

Jockey: Tim Clark

Trainers: Gai Waterhouse / Adrian Bott

2019 GR1 TVG PACIFIC CLASSIC BETTING CHEAT SHEET


The Road to the 2019 Breeders’ Cup World Championships makes a stop at one of racing’s premier venues this Saturday for Del Mar’s signature race, the $1 million, Grade 1 TVG Pacific Classic Stakes. With the winner getting an all-expenses-paid “Win and you’re in” ticket into November’s Breeder’s Cup Classic at Santa Anita.

This year’s 29th running of the Pacific Classic drew a competitive 10-horse field highlighted by the 1-2 finishers of the Grade 2 Stephen Foster Stakes in June, Seeking the Soul and Quip.

Whether you want to gamble a few bucks on the race or you just want the scoop on this year’s runners, we’ve got you covered with our 2019 TVG.COM Pacific Classic Betting Cheat Sheet.

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1. War Story (8-1)

Jockey: Tiago Pereira

Trainer: Jorge Navarro

Owners: Imaginary Stables and Glenn Ellis

Career record: 35 starts – 7 wins – 6 seconds – 5 thirds

Career earnings: $2,885,305

Earnings per start: $82,437

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 124

Pedigree: Northern Afleet – Belle Watling, by Pulpit

Colour: Chestnut

Age: 7

Notable achievements and interesting facts: War Story was a rising star on the Kentucky Derby trail back in 2015, but ever since running 16th in the 141st run for the roses he’s built a career as a lunch-pail racehorse capable of grabbing purse shares in lucrative races (such as earning a total of $900,000 for finishing fifth and 10th in the first two runnings of the Pegasus World Cup Invitational). He returns to Del Mar for the third time on Saturday, and will look to repeat his good fourth-place showing in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic, won by Gun Runner, rather than his seventh-place finish in the 2016 Pacific Classic, won by California Chrome. War Story comes in off of a win July 20 in the Grade 3, 1 1/8-mile Monmouth Cup Stakes, where he out finished Bal Harbour to win by a head. That effort indicates that even as he prepares to make his 36th career start, War Story still has the will to compete, and although his win chances are slim in the Pacific Classic, he’s shown more than enough ability throughout his career to merit strong consideration as a trifecta and superfecta filler. California-based jockey Tiago Pereira will ride War Story for the first time Saturday.


2. Quip (9-2)

Jockey: Florent Geroux

Trainer: Rodolphe Brisset

Owners: WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, and SF Racing

Career record: 9 starts – 4 wins – 2 seconds – 1 third

Career earnings: $1,054,100

Earnings per start: $117,122

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 108

Pedigree: Distorted Humor – Princess Ash, by Indian Charlie

Colour: Bay

Age: 4

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This talented racehorse ships in from points East to try for an elusive Grade 1 win, and he’ll face off again with Seeking the Soul. Both exit the Grade 2 Stephen Foster Stakes at Churchill Downs on June 15, when Quip duelled with classy Tom’s d’Etat for most of the 1 1/8-mile race and put that foe away in the final furlong but then could not withstand Seeking the Soul’s late charge and lost by a neck. Quip won the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap in his start prior to the Stephen Foster in a game effort, and prior to that, he ran third in his 2019 debut in the Grade 3 Hal’s Hope Stakes at Gulfstream Park after a nine-month layoff. At age 3, Quip won the Grade 2 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby and finished a good second in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby before disappointing in the Preakness Stakes. Based on that impressive two-year record, there’s an aura of untapped potential surrounding this colt that suggests a Grade 1 victory is well within his ability. The main concern with Quip is distance, as he’s been unable to finish the deal in two of his three starts at 1 1/8 miles despite good tries in both the Arkansas Derby and Stephen Foster, and he only won the Oaklawn Handicap by a neck. Still, Quip has shown plenty of fight throughout his career and figures to be near the early lead and battling all the way into midstretch under Florent Geroux, who won the Breeders’ Cup Classic aboard Gun Runner at Del Mar in 2017. This is the first Pacific Classic start for both Geroux and trainer Rodolphe Brisset. Co-owner WinStar Farm campaigned 2008 Pacific Classic runner-up Well Armed.


3. Pavel (7-2)

Jockey: Mario Gutierrez

Trainer: Doug O’Neill

Owner: Reddam Racing

Career record: 17 starts – 3 wins – 1 second – 2 thirds

Career earnings: $2,090,000

Earnings per start: $122,941

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 117

Pedigree: Creative Cause – Mons Venus, by Maria’s Mon

Colour: Gray or roan

Age: 5

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Last year’s Pacific Classic runner-up returns for another try on the heels of a decent third-place finish behind Preservationist and Catholic Boy in the Grade 2 Suburban Stakes July 6 at Belmont Park. He’s been training steadily at Del Mar since then for Doug O’Neill and, on the positive side, won’t face a monster like 2018 winner Accelerate in this year’s edition of the Pacific Classic. On the other hand, he has not visited the winner’s circle since taking the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap in June 2018 — easily his career-best race — and has generally continued his usual pattern of picking up hefty checks in prestige races by obtaining minor placings (he’s finished fourth seven times in his career, all in graded stakes, and earned $1.1 million with two such efforts in the 2018 and 2019 Dubai World Cups). Pavel can be counted on to usually make up some ground in the late going, but he doesn’t exactly have a swift turn of foot, and one wonders if regular rider Mario Gutierrez won’t put him in the race a little earlier on Saturday than usual. In his Stephen Foster win, Pavel stalked the pace and took over coming out of the far turn at Churchill Downs to get the jump on his opponents, and such a strategy might give him a better chance at winning (or at least hitting the board) on Saturday. As it stands, Pavel is an underlay on the morning line at 7-2 odds. Gutierrez was aboard Pavel in last year’s Pacific Classic, which boosted trainer Doug O’Neill’s overall record to one win, one second, and two thirds from 12 Pacific Classic starts. O’Neill won the 2006 renewal with fan favourite Lava Man. J. Paul Reddam has finished second one other time as sole owner besides last year, with Momentum in 2002; he also co-owned 2010 runner-up Crowded House.


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4. For the Top (12-1)

Jockey: Martin Garcia

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Owner: RRR Racing

Career record: 7 starts – 2 wins – 1 second – 2 thirds

Career earnings: $160,428

Earnings per start: $22,918

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 101

Pedigree: Equal Stripes – Stormy Martyr, by Bernstein

Colour: Bay

Age: 4

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert has won the Pacific Classic five times, second behind the late Bobby Frankel’s six victories, but he’ll be represented by a longshot in Saturday’s renewal with For the Top after stable star McKinzie instead was pointed to — and impressively won — the Grade 1 Whitney Stakes at Saratoga Aug. 3. This Argentine-bred won two of five starts in his home country, including a Group 1 stakes on dirt at about 1 ½ mile, before coming to the U.S. earlier this year. He made his debut in a one-mile allowance-optional claiming race at Santa Anita in June and finished last of four after pressing the early pace (fellow Pacific Classic starter Draft Pick rallied from last to win). He then started in the Grade 3 Cougar II Handicap at 1 ½ mile at Del Mar and again tired late after pressing the early pace to finish third behind another Pacific Classic foe, Campaign. It will be interesting to see if Baffert tries a different running style with For the Top in the Pacific Classic since the horse has been out finished in both of his U.S. starts, but the presence of Martin Garcia, one of the best pace jockeys in California, in the irons suggests that For the Top will be in the front ranks once again on Saturday. Garcia has won the Pacific Classic twice, both times for Baffert, aboard Game On Dude in 2013 and Collected in 2017. Baffert’s three other Pacific Classic wins came with General Challenge in 1999 and with Richard’s Kid in 2009 and 2010. Baffert has also finished second three times and third once.


5. Seeking the Soul (3-1)

Jockey: John Velazquez

Trainer: Dallas Stewart

Owner: Charles Fipke

Career record: 27 starts – 7 wins – 6 seconds – 7 thirds

Career earnings: $3,335,802

Earnings per start: $123,548

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 122

Pedigree: Perfect Soul – Seeking the Title, by Seeking the Gold

Colour: Bay

Age: 6

Notable achievements and interesting facts: In this current era of horse racing, Seeking the Soul qualifies as a throwback. Unlike fellow Pacific Classic starter War Story, who has eight more career starts but is a gelding, this 6-year-old still has a prospective career at stud on the horizon. Still, he has been sent all around the U.S. for four years running by owner-breeder Charles Fipke and trainer Dallas Stewart — and even to Dubai earlier this year. More often than not, he’s answered the bell against some of the best racehorses in training. That includes his most recent start, a sharp win at Churchill Downs in the June 15 Grade 2 Stephen Foster Stakes, in which he out finished Pacific Classic fo Quip to score by a neck. That victory pushed Seeking the Soul’s career earnings over the $3 million mark, and he enters the Pacific Classic as the 3-1 morning-line favourite. He deserves that distinction, but it must be noted that Seeking the Soul is 0-for-2 in races longer than 1 1/8 miles and, as a closer, will be dependent on a good pace scenario and a clean trip to set up his late kick. Still, he’s arguably in the best form of his career, the recent Dubai trip aside, and has excelled when teamed up with Hall of Famer John Velazquez in the saddle. One of the best jockeys at judging pace and timing a horse’s rally, Velazquez should have Seeking the Soul in a good position to make his customary stretch rally in Saturday’s race. This will be the first Pacific Classic start for Velazquez, Stewart, and Fipke.


6. Higher Power (8-1)

Jockey: Flavien Prat

Trainer: John Sadler

Owner: Hronis Racing

Career record: 12 starts – 4 wins – 1 second – 4 thirds

Career earnings: $200,648

Earnings per start: $16,721

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 112

Pedigree: Medaglia d’Oro – Alternate, by Seattle Slew

Colour: Bay

Age: 4

Notable achievements and interesting facts: After winning three of his first nine starts racing on the Midwest circuit, Higher Power was bought by Hronis Racing and sent to California and John Sadler. He joins Sadler-trained Campaign as a worthy contender in the Pacific Classic at what should be attractive odds, although he’ll need to muster a career-best performance to have a shot at winning, and even that might not be enough. His two best starts for Sadler have been his most recent ones, both coming on turf: a win in a one-mile allowance-optional claiming race at Santa Anita in June and a runner-up effort in the July 21 Wickerr Stakes at Del Mar. Higher Power picks up current Del Mar leading jockey Flavien Prat for the Pacific Classic, a big plus. Look for Prat to place his mount behind the early leaders through the first six furlongs and make a bid for the lead entering the far turn. A consistent type, his form has improved since moving to California and he should be considered for exactas and trifectas. Sadler picked up his first win in the Pacific Classic last year with Hronis Racing’s eventual Breeders’ Cup Classic winner and champion Accelerate, and he’s also finished second twice and third twice from 12 starts.


7. Tenfold (8-1)

Jockey: Mike Smith

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Owner: Winchell Thoroughbreds

Career record: 11 starts – 4 wins – 0 seconds – 1 third

Career earnings: $901,890

Earnings per start: $81,990

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 110

Pedigree: Curlin – Temptress, by Tapit

Colour: Dark bay or brown

Age: 4

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Beginning with this well-bred colt’s second start, which was his second consecutive win to start off his career, he’s alternated good and bad performances over the past year and a half. If he keeps up the pattern, Tenfold should show up in Saturday’s Pacific Classic after making absolutely no impression in the June 15 Grade 2 Stephen Foster Stakes. He finished ninth of 12 in the Foster, 17 lengths behind Seeking the Soul, and he mustered only an 83 Equibase Speed Figure without any apparent excuse. Prior to the Foster, Tenfold tallied his second career graded stakes win in the Grade 3 Pimlico Special Stakes, defeating You’re to Blame by a neck … but that followed a seventh-place finish to Quip in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap. You get the picture. This Steve Asmussen trainee has flashed enough talent to defeat the likes of Vino Rosso and Flameaway in the 2018 Jim Dandy Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets and to come three-quarters of a length shy of Justify in last year’s Preakness Stakes, but he’s also appeared overmatched at the top level several times, as noted above. Tenfold has a good, stalking running style and is bred for the Pacific Classic’s mile-and-a-quarter distance, and Hall of Famer Mike Smith gets on him for the first time Saturday, a big plus. Smith is tied with the late Garrett Gomez as the winningest rider in the Pacific Classic with four victories: Came Home (2002), Richard’s Kid (2009, 2010), and Shared Belief (2013). He’s also finished second once and third twice.


8. Campaign (6-1)

Jockey: Rafael Bejarano                                                                  

Trainer: John Sadler

Owner: Woodford Racing

Career record: 10 starts – 5 wins – 1 second – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $394,753

Earnings per start: $39,475

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 112

Pedigree: Curlin – Arania, by Dynaformer

Colour: Bay

Age: 4

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Even with the announcement that Catalina Cruiser would skip the Pacific Classic and compete in one-turn races going forward, trainer John Sadler still has a pair of legitimate contenders entered in Saturday’s mile-and-a-quarter contest. Campaign is more accomplished than stablemate Higher Power in dirt races and figures to get some betting support in the Pacific Classic based on his current form and, even more so, on his proven ability in long-distance routes. The Curlin colt first drew attention last fall on turf, winning races at 1 ½ mile and then 1 5/16 miles during Kentucky Downs’s short meet for trainer Steve Asmussen. In February, he resurfaced in California under Sadler’s care and has since competed exclusively on dirt, winning three of five starts including the Grade 3 Tokyo City Cup Stakes in April at Santa Anita and the Cougar II Handicap most recently on July 24 at Del Mar, both at 1 ½ mile. This horse is a grinding type who rates well back off of the pace and methodically makes his way through the homestretch picking off foes, and he’s a logical choice to hit the board if a fast pace develops in the Pacific Classic. Sadler picked up his first win in the Pacific Classic last year with eventual Breeders’ Cup Classic winner and champion Accelerate, and he’s also finished second twice and third twice from 12 starts. Jockey Rafael Bejarano has piloted Campaign in both of his stakes wins; he’s finished third twice in the Pacific Classic.


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9. Mongolian Groom (20-1)

Jockey: Abel Cedillo

Trainer: Enebish Ganbat

Owner: Mongolian Stable

Career record: 13 starts – 2 wins – 2 seconds – 2 thirds

Career earnings: $249,141

Earnings per start: $19,165

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 114

Pedigree: Hightail – Bourbonesque, by Dynaformer

Colour: Dark bay or brown

Age: 4

Notable achievements and interesting facts: If this workmanlike gelding runs back to his most recent start, he’ll have a chance to spice up the exotic ticket payoffs in the Pacific Classic. Mongolian Groom came up a length short to odds-on favourite Catalina Cruiser in the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap July 20, Del Mar’s prep race for the Pacific Classic, but kept churning through the stretch in a game effort. Four starts prior to the San Diego, he finished third behind Gift Box and McKinzie at odds of 53.50-1 in the Santa Anita Handicap Presented by San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino. He usually can be counted on to make up ground in the stretch with a sustained rally, and his only throw-out race through his prior nine starts came this past June when he unsuccessfully tried turf. As such, Mongolian Groom is a must-use in trifecta and superfecta tickets on Saturday, but his win chances are very slim against accomplished graded stakes opponents such as Seeking the Soul, Quip, Pavel, and others. Abel Cedillo retains the mount after his good ride on Mongolian Groom in the San Diego. He is seeking his first win in the Pacific Classic, as is trainer Enebish Ganbat and owner Mongolian Stable, who memorably won the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint in 2015 with Mongolian Saturday.


10. Draft Pick (20-1)

Jockey: Joe Talamo

Trainer: Peter Eurton

Owner: C R K Stable

Career record: 11 starts – 3 wins – 2 seconds – 3 thirds

Career earnings: $307,480

Earnings per start: $27,953

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 112

Pedigree: Candy Ride – Firehouse Red, by Arch

Colour: Bay

Age: 4

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This son of 2003 Pacific Classic winner and track-record setter Candy Ride has returned in good form for his two starts this year. After a 10-month break, he won fresh off the bench by a neck in a one-mile allowance-optional claiming race at Santa Anita in June and then ran a solid third behind top-class Catalina Cruiser in the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap, pressing that foe through the backstretch and far turn before tiring a bit late to lose by 2 ¼ lengths. Draft Pick has not competed at 1 ¼ mile before but prefers route races and has a good press-pacing running style that will allow jockey Joe Talamo to put him in a good spot early. This colt has never finished worse than fourth in his 11 starts and earned a career-high Equibase Speed Figure in the San Diego Handicap. Two notes of concern: he’s only faced three other opponents in each of his two starts this year, and in Quip and Tenfold, he’ll be squaring off against two stakes-winning East Coast shippers who also share the same running style. Talamo is winless in seven prior Pacific Classic starts, and this will be trainer Peter Eurton’s first starter in Del Mar’s signature race. Lee and Susan Searing’s C R K Stable finished second in the 2013 Pacific Classic with Kettle Corn.

 

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Ladbrokes backs those who back themselves
The 2019 Spring Racing Carnival unofficially begins in Melbourne this Saturday, with the first feature weight-for-age race of the new season, the 1400m Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes, set to run at Caulfield. The day will see the start of the 2019 Spring Campaign for a number of racing stars, including the first-up assignment for early Cox Plate favourite Mystic Journey, as well as evergreen nine-year-old Hartnell, and two-time Group 1 winner Kenedna.
With the Group 3 Vain Stakes and Quezette Stakes, along with the Listed Regal Roller Stakes also featuring on the card, it’s no wonder punters can’t wait for what will be a cracking Saturday at Caulfield.
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This week’s races:
Saturday Thoroughbreds Randwick-Kensington R1-4
Saturday Thoroughbreds Caulfield R1-4
Saturday Thoroughbreds Devonport R1-2
Saturday Thoroughbreds Newbury (UK) R1-3
Saturday Greyhounds Wentworth Park R1-4
Saturday Harness Menangle R1-4
Sunday Thoroughbreds Taree R1-4
Sunday Harness Hobart R1-2 
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J: Damian Lane

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