COVID-19 has changed a lot of things, it has made us realize how important things were that we probably took for granted in the moment. One of those things for me is spending the weekend in gorgeous downtown Saratoga, New York during Travers weekend, the biggest race of summer at the historic Saratoga Race Course.
The iconic setting has been nicknamed “The Graveyard of Champions” for famously having top horses be upset during the Travers stakes. Some notable horses to be defeated during this historic weekend have been Man O’ War in 1919, Gallant Fox in 1930, Secretariat in 1973 and American Pharoah in 2015. These horses are considered the four best horses of all time, especially Man O’ War and Secretariat, Man O War’ won 20 of his 21 races, his only loss coming at Saratoga.
2020 Travers Stakes odds
Tiz the Law (1-1)
Uncle Chuck (5-2)
Country Grammer (6-1)
Max Player (6-1)
South Bend (15-1)
First Line (30-1)
The odds on favorite is Tiz the Law who won the Belmont Stakes earlier this summer with a time of 1:46.53 and outran everybody by four lengths in a very convincing victory, Manuel Franco was on the ride. You are obviously going to make no money with this horse, it is even money, so unless you have oodles of cash to lay down, this bet to win makes absolutely zero sense, you could put him in some exotic plays though. You definitely will want to have Tiz the Law in any pick-5, exacta, trifecta or superfecta that you might want to play. I think this horse is very, very, very good and might be the best horse we have seen in a few years. I don’t necessarily love Manny Franco but he has a tremendous amount of experience riding at Saratoga.
Uncle Chuck who is going off at 5-2 is going to see a lot of money tossed on him because Bob Baffert is the trainer, the most noticeable and famous person in the sport of horse racing is bringing Uncle Chuck from California for one reason. The reason, to upset Tiz the Law and prove that if you want to win an important race, nine times out of ten you will have to go through a Baffert product.
Country Grammer is going to get a lot of attention because the trainer Chad Brown grew up in Saratoga’s backyard and anytime he is at Saratoga the hometown crowd will come out and bet the horse heavily. I am not taking anything away from Chad Brown, he is a phenomenal trainer but because of Saratoga and the home town crowd betting the horse to better odds than it deserves, sometime his horses can be overhyped. I don’t think that is the case with Country Grammer, this horse has won twice already this year and Irad Ortiz Jr is my favorite jockey on the NYRA circuit.
If you are looking for a long shot to throw some shells on then look no further than South Bend. I love this horse the jockey trainer combo is top of the line in terms of New York Racing. Jose Ortiz and William “Bill” Mott are a phenomenal duo at this 15-1 price. The hesitation comes from the way this horse has run this year, it has been in the money four out of seven times but hasn’t had a win since last year. In his career he has won three of the eleven starts.
Here is my card for the big race:
$25 Exacta Box (Tiz the Law – Uncle Chuck)
$25 Win (Uncle Chuck)
$25 Across The Board (South Bend)