Travers Stakes 2019: Breeders' Cup Spot Up For Grabs

Travers Stakes 2019: Breeders' Cup Spot Up For Grabs

  • The Travers Stakes current odds show Tacitus, third in the Kentucky Derby and second in the Belmont Stakes, as the favorite to win at odds of +250
  • Kentucky Derby runner-up Code Of Honor is listed as the second betting choice at odds of +275
  • The last six winners of this race have gone off at odds of 6-1 or higher


Several of the competitors from thoroughbred racing’s 2019 Triple Crown events figure to be back on track at the August 24th Travers Stakes. That group will include Belmont Stakes runner-up Tacitus and Kentucky Derby second-place finisher Code Of Honor.

This Grade 1 thoroughbred race with a purse of $1.25 million is reserved for three-year-old horses. Billed as the Midsummer Derby, this will be the 150th running of the race. The Travers has been contested at its current 1 1/4 mile distance since 1904. 

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In recent years, the Travers Stakes has proven to be a graveyard for favorites. The last favorite to win was Stay Thirsty at 2-1 in 2011. In 2105, 16-1 longshot Keen Ice stunned Triple Crown champion American Pharoah.

In 1930, Triple Crown winner Gallant Fox lost to 100-1 longshot Jim Dand<y.

Held at Saratoga Race Course, the race often gives rise to some of the season’s late bloomers. Such was the case in 2016 when Arrogate won by 13 lengths at 11-1 in a race record time of 1:59.23. The victory came in Arrogate’s stakes debut.

Arrogate carried on to post victories in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Pegasus World Cup and Dubai World Cup over his next three starts and finished as the sport’s all-time money winner with $17,422,600 in career earnings.

Arrogate was among 36 Travers Stakes winners who also went on to finish the season being voted as that year’s top three year old.

Travers Stakes 2019 expert picks and analysis


The Travers Stakes 2019 expert picks lean toward a pair of Triple Crown veterans. But backing them would require bucking the recent history that shows the Travers Stakes to be a graveyard for favorites.

Let’s look at the leading contenders, with odds provided by Bovada:

Tacitus (+250)

The Bill Mott trainee is the favorite in the 2019 Travers Stakes odds. The colt shows eight wins in 12 career starts, incuding victories in the Wood Memorial Stakes and Tampa Bay Derby.

To Win the Travers’ Stakes


But he came up empty in terms of Triple Crown victories earlier this season. Tactius will run in the Travers with an equipment change, wearing blinkers for the first time.

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Code Of Honor (+275)

To put Code Of Honor atop the Travers Stakes 2019 picks would require that you ignore the fact that his best finish in a Grade 1 stakes race was second place in the Kentucky Derby. <

The horse won his most recent start in the Dwyer at Belmont but that was a Grade 3 stakes event. He also won the Grade 2 Fountain Of Youth Stakes.

Code of Honor
To Win the Travers’ Stakes


Mucho Gusto (+500)

Another horse that has been dominant in the lower grade stakes events and in his case, all at the same track.

Mucho Gusto shows three Grade 3 stakes victories in the Affirmed, Laz Barrera and the Robert B. Lewis, all won at Santa Anita. His most recent start was in a Grade 1 event. He finished second to Maximum Security at the Haskell Invitational.

Mucho Gusto
To Win the Travers’ Stakes


Tax (+800)

An intriguing entry in the 2019 ravers Stakes odds, Tax beat Tacitus in the Jim Dandy but was second to Tacitus in the Wood Memorial.

In his only previous Grade 1 races, Tax was fourth in the Belmont Stakes and 14th in the Kentucky Derby.

To Win the Travers’ Stakes


Travers Stakes 2019 underdogs picks and analysis

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Continuing with the Travers Stakes 2019 picks, let’s look at some of the longhshots on the board in this year’s race in our free horse racing picks who might have a chance at continuing the recent string of upsets in the race.

Chad Brown is the leading trainer at Saratoga this year and a couple of horses from his stable offer interesting perspectives. 

Highest Honors (+900)

A gray horse like Arrogate, could Highest Honors be another late bloomer who rises to be the cream of the crop in the 2019 Travers Stakes odds?

Highest Honors
To Win the Travers’ Stakes


He didn’t contest his first race until April and wasn’t a winner until June 1. He followed that up with a victory in the Curlin Stakes at Saratoga.

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Looking At Bikinis (+2000) 

Another from the stable of three-time Eclipse Award winner Brown, Looking At Bikinis is looking like an interesting longshot play in the Travers Stakes current odds. Lightly raced, he’ll go postward for just the fourth tim in the Travers. Looking At Bikinis won his first start at both two and three.

He was third in his first stakes big at the Curlin but that was on a wet track. Brown thinks the horse will be much more dangerous on a dry surface.

On top of that, Looking At Bikinis will have Jorge Castellano aboard. Castellano has rode a record six Travers winners, including last year’s victory with Catholic Boy. He also won in 2006 with Bernardini, sire of Bikini Beuaty, the dam of Looking at Bikinis.

BABB Pick: Looking At Bikinis (+2000)

Looing At Bikinis
To Win the Travers Stakes


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