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HomeHorse RacingLouie's Look Ahead - Travers 2023

Louie’s Look Ahead – Travers 2023

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Louie’s Look Ahead: Travers Day 2023

Happy Travers Day! Let’s try the all Grade 1 pick 4.

P4 Race 9 G1 The Allen Jerkens Memorial. 7F, dirt. 3YO. $500k. 4:19PM

A fun one here, and while I do like the move to one turn for 3 Verifying, I don’t think he’s on the level with the three favorites in this one. Could he pick up the pieces in a race that absolutely falls apart in a speed duel up front? He could, in fact. Will he? Let’s go ahead and include him in case it all falls apart. After Idiomatic showed up the way she did yesterday, who’s to say Cox doesn’t pick off another one today?

I agree with ML maker David Aragona that 6 Arabian Lion will catch the most money on Saturday, and I’ll be totally unshocked if he wins. His one miss at the distance was a second last fall at Keeneland in the early part of the BC card; he’s been just fine since. Include.

The other Baffert trainee is 4 Fort Bragg, nearly made it two graded stakes to enter the summer with a nosed-out second in the G2 Pat Day Mile on Derby Day and a follow up terrific performance in the 1 turn mile Dwyer at Belmont. He nosed out Saudi Crown on that day, and all he did was come back over two turns for the first time and push Forte. Include.

5 New York Thunder, a son of Nyquist, is 4-for-4, including turf, synthetic, and dirt. He’s probably the fastest out of the gate in this group, so he’ll likely inherit the lead. I think there’s a decent chance he’s gate-to-wire. Include.

Top selections: 6, 4, 5, 3.

Race 10 G1 Ballerina. 7F, dirt. F&M 3+up. $500k. 4:55 ET.

I think the key to this one is how fast 6 Echo Zulu can get away from the gate and get out – if the faster the fractions, the better in her case. If you examine the best finishes for 7 Goodnight Olive, they all involve more reasonable fractions.

My guess? Echo Zulu keeps it rolling, and wins here. I’ll single. Include 5 Wicked Halo in any exotics.

Top Selections: 6, 7, 5.

Race 11 G1 Sword Dancer. 1 ½ M, turf. 4+up. $750k. 5:31ET.

The ol’ Gufo Invitational, the Sword Dancer – and a field I can’t figure out. I don’t love either of the favorites here – between 7 Stone Age and 6 Channel Maker. Let’s try to find a winner outside of that duo.

Trainer Christophe Clement has won this race 4 times – and thought enough of 1 Soldier Rising to run in last year’s edition of the SD, in which he hit the board behind barnmate Gufo. He’s hit the board 5 times in 6 attempts at the distance. Should be part of the equation – can jockey Jose Ortiz get him over the hump?

2 Verstappen is a wild card, in that he’s only run once – and won – at the distance. That was at Keeneland, and he beat a fine horse in Red Knight – another distance specialist. Did well to get second last out behind Channel Marker in the Bowling Green at Saratoga. I like that he has the experience there and that he’s been stabled there. Include.

I think it’s a tell from trainer Aidan O’Brien that while he’s shipping 3 Bolshoi Ballet, he isn’t shipping a jockey. Nothing wrong – at all – with using jockey Johnny Velazquez, but he’s not the usual type of rider used by the O’Brien Operation. That being said, a major weekend is happening at York, so many of the best jocks on the British Isles are locked up over there.

I think the only horse not winning this one is 4 Daunt, so we’ll leave him out. Otherwise, this is an all.

Top selections: 1, 2, 6, 7, 3, 5

Race 12 G1 Travers. 1 ¼ M, dirt. 3YO. $1.25M. 6:11ET.

I think few would object to who showed up for this one: the Derby winner, the Preakness winner, the Belmont winner, and the Champion 2YO who also the Jim Dandy this year? Sign me up every year for that.

The Eclipse Award winner the last two years (Epicenter, Essential Quality) both won this race. Could the winner of that award be in this field? History says yes, and I’m not one to argue with the logic this year.

1 Forte is a beast, and should be the favorite. He won the prep for this race, the Jim Dandy, on an off track; whether you think he should’ve been DQ’d or not is a topic for another article, not for one on who will win the Travers. He can win it.

2 Arcangelo is coming out of a mega impressive win in the Belmont. He was always within 3 lengths of the lead, and overtook his competition on the final turn, including fellow entrant 5 National Treasure. He outlasted both Forte and 3 Tapit Trice. All of his numbers say he can win here.

3 Tapit Trice is an absolute enigma – all the physical tools, the breeding, the connections… but man if he isn’t quirky and immature. Saratoga is known as the “Graveyard of Champions,” and him winning here would certainly justify that moniker. I’m including because he’s the exact kind of horse that suddenly puts it all together in the Travers.

4 Mage is the second-most-likely winner in this field, in my estimation. Won the Derby, exhausted after the Preakness, used the Haskell to get right, is second off the layoff and ready to fire in the Travers. Include.

5 National Treasure winning today wouldn’t stun me, well, because it’s Baffert – but I do think the distance is too much, and I don’t think he’s going to get the easy fractions he got in Baltimore. Toss.

6 Disarm is really talented, and if you go back and watch the KY Derby, he’s also capable of huge runs. I don’t think he wins this one, but if he does, we’ll look back at some previous races and say “of course he won.” Toss.

7 Scotland is an interesting newcomer, gelded as a two year-old last July and ran for the first time ever in March. He’s 3-for-3 lifetime under jockey Junior Alvarado, and while I think he’s a bit outclassed here – it’s worth mentioning he beat Il Miracolo last out – and Il Miracolo turned around this week and won the G3 Smarty Jones at Parx. Could that be a sign of things to come? I do. Include.

Top Selections: 1, 4, 2, 7, 3

Pick 4 ticket:
Race 9: 6, 4, 5, 3
Race 10: 6
Race 11: 1, 2, 6, 7, 3, 5
Race 12: 1, 4, 2, 7
$.50 pick 4 = $48

Good luck today, and Happy Travers!

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