The Duel
Horse Racing

The $1.25 Million Travers Field, Odds And Picks

The Duel Staff
The 153rd Travers is Saturday, Aug 27 at Saratoga. The $1.25 million race drew a competitive field of eight 3-year-olds.
The 153rd Travers is Saturday, Aug 27 at Saratoga. The $1.25 million race drew a competitive field of eight 3-year-olds. / Julio Cortez / Associated Press

The 153rd Travers Stakes is set at Saratoga for Saturday, Aug. 27. The biggest day of racing at "The Spa" includes six graded stakes and five Grade 1s headlined by the $1.25 million Travers. The 1 1/4 mile race for 3-year-olds came up very competitive this year, and 8 runners will settle the score in Race 11 with post time at 5:44 p.m. ET. You can watch and bet the races live on TVG.

The last front-runner to win after leading at the half-mile marker was West Coast in 2017, and the great Arrogate did the same in 2016. Code of Honor won in 2019 after sitting nearly 5-lengths back at the half-mile pole while favorite Tiz the Law won in 2020 pressing the pace within a length of the leaders at the half-mile mark.

Last year, Essential Quality won as the heavy 1/2 favorite in a 7-horse field, and he was 3 1/2 lengths behind the leader at the half-mile marker. Essential Quality had won 7-of-8 races heading into the Travers including the Belmont Stakes and Jim Dandy, the main prep race for the Travers.

2022 Travers Field and Odds

This year, Epicenter (7/5) is the morning line favorite in the Travers, and he too won the Jim Dandy Stakes by a head over Zandon (5/1), who challenges again in the Travers. Epicenter posted his fasted speed figure (Equibase) of 111 after finishing runner-up in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.

Early Voting (8/1) finished 4th (last) in the Jim Dandy after leading through 6 furlongs, and he also won the Preakness. Rich Strike (10/1) pulled off the shocking win in the Kentucky Derby, but hasn't raced since finishing 6th in the Belmont Stakes. Cyerknife (7/2) has won his last two starts including the Grade 1 Haskell last month. He also won the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby this spring.

Seven of the last 13 Travers winners started in a Triple Crown race, but the remaining six did not. That provides late-bloomer Artorius (9/2) a shot in just his fourth start this year and of his career. The son of Arrogate pulled away with ease to win the minor Curlin Stakes here a month ago over runner-up Gilded Age (30/1), and Artorius now makes his graded stakes debut.

Can Epicenter turn the tables and top the competitive Travers field to win his first Grade 1 race? Epicenter has won three graded stakes and finished runner-up in three others this year. Nine of the past 13 Travers winners, including the last six in a row, entered the Travers off a victory in their last race. The four other winners finished 2nd or 3rd in their prior race.

Epicenter is a clear challenger as the favorite, but Artorius with leading jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. looks like he can potentially win like his sire Arrogate did in his graded stakes debut. At least add Artorius to your exacta and trifecta bets.

Follow TVG and FanDuel Racing as the Travers nears Saturday.

1. Cyberknife (7/2)

Jockey: Florent Geroux
Trainer: Brad Cox

2. Rich Strike (10/1)

Jockey: Sonny Leon
Trainer: Eric Reed

3. Ain't Life Grand (20/1)

Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione
Trainer: Kelly R. Von Hemel

4. Gilded Age (30/1)

Jockey: Junior Alvarado
Trainer: Bill Mott

5. Artorius (9/2)

Jockey: Irad Ortiz, Jr.
Trainer: Chad Brown

6. Epicenter (7/5)

Jockey: Joel Rosario
Trainer: Steve Asmussen

7. Early Voting (8/1)

Jockey: Jose Ortiz
Trainer: Chad Brown

8. Zandon (5/1)

Jockey: Flavien Prat
Trainer: Chad Brown

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